Sharif’s aides, including brother Shahbaz, meet Raheel
Amid reports of a rift between Pakistan’s civilian and military leaderships, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s three top aides have met powerful Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif and discussed the overall situation.
Mr. Sharif’s younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met Gen. Raheel on Thursday evening.
According to the Inter Services Public Relations, the military’s public affairs wing, the meeting was held at Army House in Rawalpindi and lasted for 90 minutes. Inter-Services Inelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar was also present during the meeting.
Army unhappy with leak of rift
The army had expressed displeasure at a story published by Dawn newspaper earlier this month. The paper had reported on a rift between civilian and military leaderships on the powerful ISI’s covert support to terrorist groups in the country.
“The delegation briefed COAS on the progress of investigation and recommendations related to planted story of national security breach of October 6,” said a press release issued by army after the meeting.
The army has an abiding interest in political stability in the country when it faces double challenge at both western and eastern borders.
Was Imran discussed?
It was not clear whether Mr. Sharif’s aides sought any help from the army in calming down Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, who is believed to have good ties with the establishment.
Mr. Khan has threatened to lockdown the national capital on November 2 to put pressure on Mr. Sharif to quit over allegations of corruption. He is also protesting on Friday against arrests of his party workers on Thursday night.
The powerful army, which had at least four times removed elected governments in the past to directly rule, always comes in picture whenever political instability erupts in Pakistan.