Saad's state­ment did not re­quire such re­sponse from ISPR: Shah

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL - LA­HORE APP

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.

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