Saad's statement did not require such response from ISPR: Shah
Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Khursheed Shah, said on Friday that he did not find anything objectionable in the recent statement of Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, which was criticised by the army spokesperson on Thursday.
Addressing the media in Lahore, the senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader said he has examined Rafique's remarks, delivered on December 24, and did not find anything controversial in them.
"There was nothing [in Rafique's statement] to warrant an immediate and such a big reaction from ISPR. This shouldn't have been done. The institution's [army's] each and every word is important," said Shah.
In a press conference on Thursday, Maj Gen Ghafoor had said "[Rafique's] statement is very irresponsible and unwarranted as you are targeting the chain of command and the subordination system of Pakistan Army". On December 24, Rafique had praised the army chief's "confidenceboosting move" of briefing the Senate.
However, the minister had said 'others' should also support the army chief's stance on whom "his command is applied to".
"They should also follow that order," said Rafique and added that those who do mischiefs should also support the army chief.
Later on Thursday, Rafique said on Geo News' Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada ke Sath that his statement was presented out of context by certain media channels and regretted the DG ISPR's remarks. The oppositon leader was asked about Shebaz Sharif's visit to Saudi Arabia and said people were wondering why the visit was taking place. "The nation is watching and want to know why Shehbaz has gone to Saudi Arabia."
Shah stressed that it would be worrisome if this visit was aimed at resolving internal matters of the country. "Pakistan is a nuclear country and should have its own policies and rule of rule. We do not need to knock on anyone else's door."
The PPP leader added that the reason for the visit might be to get a new National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). When asked was the difference between this NRO and the one issued during the Musharraf government, Shah responded "there is a huge difference. Democracy came in the country, an army general removed his uniform, Nawaz Sharif returned from exile. Parliament completed its tenure and there was a historic transfer of power. In this NRO it seems there are ongoing corruption cases. It is a problem of ladlas (dear ones)."
Shah was referring to the departure of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Saad Rafique to Saudi Arabia. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is also expected to leave for the Kingdom over the weekend.
Continuing with his press conference, Khursheed Shah said the PPP wants democracy to continue in the country and for the general polls to be held on time. With regards to the FATA reforms, Shah said the party has been supporting the reforms and merger of the tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since day one.