Khursheed Shah criticises ISPR reaction to Saad Rafique’s remarks

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LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party stalwart and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah on Friday said he hasn’t found anything controversial in Khawaja Saad Rafique’s statement that could have drawn a strong reaction from the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR).

Speaking to media he said he has examined the Railway’s Minister’s statement thoroughly and found nothing objectionable, adding that DGISR should not have given “big reaction” in haste.

Responding to a question regarding a meeting between Dr Tahiurl Qadri and PPP leaders, he said there was nothing significant in the meeting with the cleric. He said the PPP leaders has already held a meeting with Qadri.

When asked to comment PPP’s position on Fata’s, he said the party has from the day one took a position on the issue of FATA’s merger with KPK as it was part PPP’s menfisto.

He said the PPP would have done this job earlir, if it had enjoyed   two third majority.

The PPP leader said the opposition was supporting the government on the issue of FATA which was delaying the merger due to some unknown reasons.

On December 24, Khawaja Saad Rafique  said the army chief had given a message for democracy but he should also see what his subordinates were doing.

Reacting the minister’s remarks, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Thursday the statement of Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique was ‘irresponsible and unwarranted’, which targeted the chain of command and the Pakistan Army’s system.

Responding to a question during a media briefing here, General Ghafoor said they had taken the statement ‘with concern’ and it should not have happened.

“The statement doesn’t appear to be unintended — it’s very ‘irresponsible and unwarranted’ because you are targeting the chain of command and the subordination system of the Pakistan Army,” he said.

“The Pakistan Army is an organized and disciplined institution and the whole of Pakistan starts looking towards the direction where the Chief of the Army Staff hints at,” he added.

He said the Pakistan Army may not be the best army of the world if there was no such discipline in it.

“We have been giving sacrifices and our soldiers are embracing martyrdom. It is an institution which takes pride in its working mechanism,” he said.

General Ghafoor pointed out that there were institutions in the country which also enjoyed protection under the Constitution and such statements also tantamount to a violation of the Constitution.

“You are giving such a statement which violates the Constitution,” he said.

General Ghafoor pointed out that if the Pakistan Army was determined and confident to stay within the Constitution, then it was also the responsibility of every person and citizen to obey the Constitution. “If you touch this line, it will create some ripples,” he said.