NEW DELHI: Retired Generals close to Imran Khan have met Pak Army Chief Asim Munir, pleading for leniency towards the ex-Prime Minister, following the May 9 revolt that targeted icons of the “establishment”.
India Narrative has learnt that 13 retired generals including Lt. Gen. (Retd) Khalid Maqbool met Asim Munir last week at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
Authoritative sources pointed out that the visitors tried to influence Gen. Munir to drop his hardline stance and pursue a softer approach towards the ex-Prime Minister, who is suspected of masterminding the May 9 attacks, which included the targeting of Jinnah House, the Lahore Corps Commander’s residence. Besides, the vandals attacked the GHQ, as well as a martyrs’ cemetery, enraging the military leadership, which is now gunning for Khan.
After June 4 when the military issued a statement following the formation commanders’ conference that planners and masterminds of the attacks would be tried in military courts, Pakistan’s National Assembly also passed a resolution relaying the essence of the military statement.
The National Assembly session took place soon after Gen. Munir called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The resolution echoing the military’s stance unambiguously asserted that those who steered the attacks on military and state installations must be tried “without any delay” under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952.
Targeting Khan, the resolution said that “a political party and its chairman” broke the law and Constitution on May 9 and “orchestrated” attacks on military installations.
Unsurprisingly, during the meeting with the retired Generals, Gen. Munir apparently refused to relent. In fact, sources say that he cautioned the veterans to stop playing politics. In case the retired generals wished to pursue the political path, they should stop behaving as veterans and give up the privileges that have been bestowed to them by the Army on account of their status as retired officers.
Gen. Munir signalled that the May 9 incidents were unpardonable. Therefore, Imran Khan and all other masterminds will have to face military courts.
It appears that the visit by the veterans was part of the ex-Prime Minister’s effort to use all channels to extricate himself from his current predicament.
In a video address on Sunday, Khan made three key points. First, he incited his supporters to undertake “peaceful” protests, anticipating possible arrest. He said that he has got bail in 19 cases but a compromised judge may cancel his bail, when he goes out on Monday to seek relief from the courts in other cases.
Second, Khan reiterated that he has been a victim of a false-flag operation as his party cadres were not involved in the May 9 attacks. In doing so the ex-Prime Minister implied that the real culprit of the attacks was the establishment, which conspired to use the incident to sideline him from political contention.
Third, Khan is seeking a direct dialogue with Gen. Munir, who appears in no mood to comply.
In fact, the military appears relentless in dismantling Khan’s support ecosystem both on the domestic front as well as overseas.
In its bid to pull apart the ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan’s overseas network, Pakistan’s military has gone after influential YouTuber Adil Raja—a bullhorn for sowing divisions and unrest within the armed forces.
The targeting of Raja, a retired Major of the Pak army, is significant as he has been spearheading a vicious but impactful campaign to create unrest in the rank and file of the Pak army, particularly after the announcement of Gen. Asim Munir as new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) last year.
Raja is not alone but runs a network of 10-12 YouTubers. His Infowars network includes Haider Raza Mehdi, Wajahat Saeed Khan, veteran journalist Shaheen Sehbai, Sabir Shakir and Moeed Pirzada.
Incidentally, Washington-based scribe Shaheen Sehbai as well as Mehdi, Khan and Raja have been booked inside Pakistan for inciting violence during the May 9 protests.
(This article appeared first on indianarrative.com)