PM, ex-army chief misquoted by Imran, Zafarul Haq tells Senate

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ISLAMABAD: Leader of the House in Senate, Raja Zafarul Haq Friday said that the prime minister and former army chief were misquoted in a statement by PTI chief Imran Khan, regarding success chances of a possible military operation against Taliban. The upper house of Parliament witnessed a heated debate on a recent TV interview of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan in which he had allegedly questioned the capability of the armed forces to take on militants. Khan in a TV interview on Tuesday night had stated that during a meeting the prime minister had quoted former army chief Gen (retd) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as saying that there was a 40 per cent chance of success of a military operation against militants in the country’s tribal areas.

“(Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf) PTI chairman Imran Khan misquoted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the former army chief while stating that there were 40 per cent chances of success if an operation is started against militants,” Raja Zafarul Haq informed the Senate in response to a point of order, raised by Senator Raza Rabbani.

He said: “I have obtained required information which suggests that the statement of Imran Khan has no reality and is totally baseless. The PTI chief could not understand what the former army chief had said.”

Raja Zafarul Haq said that on the demand of Imran Khan before the All Parties Conference (APC), his meeting was arranged with PM Sharif, Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and the then COAS.

In the meeting, he said, the former army chief had told the PTI chief that if an operation was launched by the government against militants, then 40 per cent terrorism related activities could be controlled without delay.

Haq recalled, at that time Kayani had also stated that the government should fully utilize the option of dialogue with militant groups.

“We have full confidence in Pakistan Army which is capable to fight extremism and aggression against the country. Their determination cannot be questioned,” he added.

The leader of the house acknowledged that besides soldiers, the officers of armed forces have also rendered valuable sacrifices in the war against terrorism.

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan welcomed the statement of the leader of the house, saying the whole nation stands alongside Pakistan Army in the fight against terrorism.

Earlier speaking on a point of order, Senators Raza Rabbani, Afrasiab Khattak, Farhatullah Babar and Rehman Malik had demanded of the government to come out with a clear stance on the statement of Imran Khan.

They mentioned the recent terrorist activities in Karachi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and questioned, were the citizens left on Taliban’s mercy.

The senators of Pakistan People’s Party and Awami National Party also criticized the PTI government in KP for its failure to ensure security of lives and properties of common people.