ISLAMABAD - The ruling coalition and the military spokesperson on Wednesday traded barbs with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf after the opposition party continued with its accusations of a foreign conspiracy and questioned the recent TV interview of the military spokesperson after the senior official once again rejected the claim of former prime minister Imran Khan that a US-backed regime-change conspiracy was behind his ouster from office.

Earlier on Tuesday, Major General Babar Iftikhar in an interview had said that the top military leadership and the participants were clearly briefed by the agencies in the National Security Committee meeting that there was no kind of evidence of regime change conspiracy.

Addressing a press conference Wednesday, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said that it was better for the army and the country if DG ISPR did not interpret political affairs. “The political issues should be dealt with by the politicians,” Asad Umar said.

The PTI leader said that it was beyond comprehension as to why DG ISPR felt the need to talk about ‘intervention’ and ‘conspiracy’ when the military spokesperson had himself stated that the army should be kept away from political affairs.

The PTI press conference was strongly denounced by both the military spokesperson and the federal information minister.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, while addressing a presser, strongly criticized the PTI leaders for their remarks and said that these were made under the directions of Imran Khan. She said that PTI wanted to take attention away from the corruption scandals swirling around its top leadership.

‘FOREIGN CONSPIRACY’ CLAIM

| The military spokesperson says no objection to a judicial probe into PTI claim of foreign conspiracy | PTI leaders accuse military spokesperson of interfering in political matters | Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar strongly denies PTI’s assertions

Asad Umar, during the presser, advised the DG ISPR to avoid explaining and talking about political issues. He reiterated PTI’s demand for the formation of a judicial commission to probe the US conspiracy and to “expose the real characters behind the plot to oust the well-performing PTI government in order to destabilize Pakistan economically and politically.”

The secretary-general PTI claimed that the word of intervention was written in the threatening letter, and the NSC twice acknowledged explicit external interference.  He raised a question as to why the US Consulate met with PTI disgruntled members of the National Assembly, who later joined hands with anti-PTI forces.

Asad said that Imran Khan as PTI chairman would write to the apex court again to ascertain whether there was any conspiracy and if there was a conspiracy, the people have all the right to know the conspirators.

Speaking at the same presser, Dr. Shireen Mazari continued with her usual set of allegations and once again alleged that the US replicated in Pakistan the same old conspiracy model used against Mosaddegh in Iran.  She also demanded the formation of a judicial commission.

DG ISPR Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar on Wednesday evening, during a TV interview, said that the military will extend full cooperation to whatever commission the government will form over the lingering controversy.

“The incumbent government has this option. The previous government also had this option,” Maj Gen Iftikhar said.