RAWALPINDI    -   Pakistan Army has taken strong exception to the defamatory and uncalled for remarks by PTI chief Imran Khan about the senior leadership of the Pakistan Armed Forces’ institution.

“Pakistan Army is aghast at the defamato­ry and uncalled for state­ment about the senior leadership of Pakistan Army by PTI Chairman during a political rally at Faisalabad,” the Inter Services Public Relations Directorate of Pakistan army said in a statement issued here yesterday.

The ISPR made it clear that politicizing the se­nior leadership of Pa­kistan Army and scan­dalizing the process of selection of COAS is neither in the interest of the state of Pakistan nor of the institution of Armed Forces.

It is to be mentioned here that while address­ing a rally in Faisalabad, the other day, Chairman PTI Imran Khan had ac­cused that both PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif wanted to bring their own army chief as “they are afraid that if a strong and pa­triotic army chief is ap­pointed then he would ask them about their looted wealth.”

The ISPR regretted that an attempt has been made to discredit and undermine senior leadership of Pakistan Army at a time when the institution is layinglives for the security and safe­ty of the people of Pakistan ev­ery day. “Senior politicians try­ing to stir controversies on the appointment of COAS of Paki­stan Army, the procedure which is well defined in the Constitu­tion, is most unfortunate and disappointing,” the ISPR state­ment said.

The statement made it clear that senior leadership of the Army has decades-long impec­cable meritorious service to prove its patriotic and profes­sional credentials beyond any doubt. The Pakistan Army re­iterates its commitment to up­hold the Constitution of the Is­lamic Republic of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the political lead­ership of the country also tar­geted the PTI chief’s derogato­ry remarks about the Pakistan Armed Forces institution term­ing it an attempt to defame the Armed Forces.

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a multi-party ruling alliance, in a joint state­ment, has warned that respect of leadership of all state insti­tutions will be ensured and el­ements which are conspiring to weaken the country will be dealt with as per law.

The PDM leadership in their statement said that Imran Khan has tried to make sensitive pro­fessional matters of the Armed Forces controversial.

It said the entire Pakistani na­tion is battling to cope with the devastating floods but Imran Khan is trying to drive a wedge between the Armed Forces and the nation. The alliance further said that the country cannot be left at the mercy of an arro­gant and fascist man like Imran Khan. Separately, Prime Min­ister Shehbaz Sharif has also strongly denounced the state­ments of Imran Khan against state institutions.

The PM said Imran Khan’s highly condemnable campaign of defaming institutions and spreading hatred against them is reaching a new extreme ev­ery day. The Prime Minister re­gretted that the PTI Chairman is now directly resorting to mud­slinging and toxic allegations against the Armed Forces and its senior leadership on sensi­tive professional matters.

Imran Khan’s agenda is to stoke anarchy and weaken the country, the premier said.

While on the other hand, the PTI tried to give some new twists to the controversial re­marks of its chief Imran Khan.

PTI senior leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry giving the explana­tion in a presser said that Imran Khan had expressed his wor­risome that such an important appointment was being made allegedly by corrupt leaders as well as those who have become a security risk for the country.

PTI leader Asad Umar in a statement said that there was never an intent to cause harm to the reputation of Pakistan Army or its senior leadership.

Meanwhile, another party leader Dr Shireen Mazari said that the PDM was deliberately distorting Imran Khan’s state­ment to target him as “at no point in Faisalabad speech did Khan criticize the military or its leadership.” Addressing a press conference here, Senior Vice President PTI Fawad Chaudhry said that Khan asked whether it is in the interest of Pakistan that corrupt and security risk per­sons for Pakistan should make important appointments. “No one has any doubt over the patri­otism of our military leadership.”

He said that making important appointments by corrupt leader­ship was really a matter of great concern because they had noth­ing to do with the interest of the country — a reference to PPP and PML-N leadership. He un­derlined that the Army was a sa­cred institution and the PDM had criticized it in the past. Chaudhry said that the news has published that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would go to London and seek approval from ex-premier Nawaz Sharif for the name of the next army chief. “What would be a greater insult to the Pakistan Army than that a fugitive, who ran from Pakistan’s system and courts, would now give a nod to the name of the next chief of army staff (COAS).” Fawad went on to say that the PDM wanted Khan to be disqualified by any means as they cannot contest him in the political arena.

The PTI leader said that in­stead of defusing the political temperature, the government was further fanning the fire, adding that federal minister Javed Latif also exposed the plot of the PDM.