Fake News Alert: Imran Khan Isn’t Conspiring To Divide Pak Army Like Ahsan Iqbal Claimed
The idea that this same man under whose leadership the military defended his country’s objective national interests in February 2019 would then turn around and divide the armed forces, not to mention after supposedly selling himself out to India and even Israel according to Minister Iqbal, is patently absurd and indisputably provocative to publicly claim.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal claimed on Sunday that former Prime Minister Imran Khan is conspiring to divide the Pakistani Army at the behest of his alleged Indian and Israeli sponsors, according to his remarks that were reported upon by Dawn. This is nothing but fake news intended to discredit the country’s most popular and first-ever truly national party after its landslide victory over the ruling PMLN on its home turf in Punjab during last month’s by-elections. This artificially manufactured information warfare narrative is being propagated in the aftermath of the unpopular post-modern coup authorities censoring ARY News and arresting the former premier’s advisor Shahbaz Gill on national security pretexts, including attempts to supposedly provoke a mutiny.
The reality is that the Pakistani Army is a world-class institution with the highest level of discipline and professionalism imaginable. Absolutely nothing can divide its members nor mislead them into working against their country’s objective national interests, especially those related to safeguarding its existence from the plethora of conventional and unconventional threats that surround it. Nevertheless, there’s also no denying that early April’s scandalous regime change is widely considered among many to have carried with it immense consequences of Pakistan’s national security, especially after the ousted leader compellingly claimed that it was part of a US-orchestrated conspiracy. These concerns were reinforced after the military didn’t comprehensively investigate his allegations like many expected they would.
Nobody can speak on behalf of servicemembers except for themselves if they felt comfortable doing so and it didn’t go against their strict code of conduct, but it wouldn’t be surprising if some of the military’s rank and file shared the concerns of the civilian population. That, however, doesn’t imply that they’d ever even countenance going against the chain of command in any way whatsoever in a misguided and doomed-to-fail attempt to unilaterally make one or another political point. Rather, the point being made is simply that servicemembers are people too with their own private opinions about political issues, which means that nobody should condescendingly assume that they automatically share the same views as their leadership on each and every single topic simply by virtue of their profession.
The fact of the matter is that April’s contentious events were a game changer with respect to reshaping perceptions among the population about pretty much everything in Pakistan. Folks either enthusiastically supported the superficially “democratic” removal of their Prime Minister or vehemently opposed it, with practically nobody sitting on the fence. It was this polarizing development that prompted irresponsible speculation about where servicemembers’ loyalties lie, not PTI Chairman Khan’s interpretation of those events. After all, he’s a passionate Pakistani patriot who sincerely appreciates the armed forces, especially after their role in the February 2019 air battles with neighbouring India that occurred during his tenure.
The idea that this same man under whose leadership the military defended his country’s objective national interests would then turn around and divide the armed forces, not to mention after supposedly selling himself out to India and even Israel according to Minister Iqbal, is patently absurd and indisputably provocative to publicly claim. His comments were intended as a subtle signal for members of the armed forces to report those of their peers who privately don’t share the “official narrative” about Prime Minister Khan’s removal from office on the supposed basis that they might have fallen under his influence and are thus possibly on the brink of betraying their precious country.
With the knowledge of his intentions in mind, it becomes clear that Minister Iqbal is the one that’s dividing the Pakistani Army along partisan lines on a completely unsubstantiated national security pretext for purely political purposes connected to expanding the nationwide witch hunt against PTI members and their supporters in the armed forces. No servicemember should fear potential retaliation for the private political opinions that they might have shared with their brothers in arms, yet that’s precisely what Minister Iqbal wants to instil within the hearts of those who disagree with the “official narrative” about April’s scandalous events for whatever their reasons may be.
Holding private views that align with those of the most popular political party in one’s country doesn’t in any way hint at treason like that ruling party official irresponsibly implied, which is why he was arguably wrong to spread the conspiracy theory that he just did. Hopefully Minister Iqbal realizes that his remarks work against Pakistan’s objective national interests, including by the innuendo that patriotic servicemembers might be the “useful idiots” of the same former leader who he absurdly claimed is backed by their country’s Indian and Israeli nemeses. By distracting servicemembers with fears of an impending witch hunt, he’s taking away what should be their exclusive focus on defending Pakistan.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.