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Pakistan’s massive military purge may still be a job half done

Pakistan Army Chief General Asim Munir

The Pakistan army has begun an all-out purge of the institution in its bid to weed out those who were apparently complicit, or did not confront mobs that targeted key military facilities on May 9.

It is apparent that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Asim Munir is marshalling the cleanup.

During a press conference on Monday, the Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry announced that many heads have rolled including that of a Lieutenant General, who has been dismissed from service. Others facing disciplinary action comprise 15 officers including three major generals and seven brigadiers.

The announcement confirms that Army Chief is pulling no punches to unify the military, and eliminate chances of a civil war. It also signals that the operation to dismantle ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan’s extensive network within the military, the civil society and overseas Pakistanis is advancing remorselessly. Besides, it reveals the army is walking the talk, and is no mood to cut any deal with the planners and masterminds of the May 9 events.

Unsurprisingly, the DG ISPR’s statement shows that the families of those who allegedly played a role in the riots are also not being spared. Consequently, the granddaughter of a retired four-star general and a son-in-law of a retired four-star general have been arrested in connection with the May 9 probe.

Besides, a wife of a retired three-star general and wife and son-in-law of a retired two-star general are also under investigation.

As reported by India Narrative earlier, over 124 serving military officers including   one Corps Commander, two Major Generals and others are facing enquiries and trials.

Some of the other bigwigs who were actively involved in the revolt include former Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. (Retd.)  Azhar Abbas. Besides two former heads of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. (Retd.)  Shuja Pasha, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zaheerul Islam, are being listed among the leading lights who drove the rebellion.  Also, other prominent figures behind the conspiracy include Lt Gen. (Retd.)  Khalid Maqbool, Lt Gen. (Rtd.) Amjad Shoaib, Lt. Gen. ( Retd.) Ali Quli Khan and Maj Gen (Rtd.) Ijaz Awan.

In his statement, the DG ISPR refuted the claims of Khan and his key supporters that May 9 incident  was a false flag operation masterminded by the military to target the PTI and its leader, and remove him from political contention.

Maj. Gen. Chaudhry stressed that “nothing could be more shameful than blaming the May 9 tragedy on the army and agencies”.

Pointing to the 200 installations that were attacked, he asked: “Did the army conspire against itself or the army had already deployed their agents? Or did we burn the memorials of our martyrs?”

“A [fake] narrative of human rights violations is created against Pakistan and the terrorist organisations mostly hide behind this narrative,” he added.

The DG ISPR pointed out that social media was used against the army, deploying fake videos and audios were circulated as a part of the propaganda.

In tune with the DG ISPR’s rebuttal, a fresh salvo has been fired by Adil Raja, a pro-Imran media warrior who claimed in a tweet that “Imran Khan has also claimed…in his public statement that 9th May was a false flag, and he possesses evidence / videos to prove this. In the end, the public believes what Imran Khan is saying, not what DGISPR says.”

Analysts point out that spring cleaning within the military notwithstanding, the kingpin behind the entire conspiracy was none other than former ISI chief Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Faiz Hameed. Sources say that dissent in the army is expected to persist, unless Gen. Hameed is court marshalled and punished.

Apparently had the May rebellion succeeded, when Gen. Munir was away in Qatar, Gen. Hameed would have been offered the post of DG ISI for a second time, or the presidency itself, the sources told India Narrative.

Ultimately Khan’s overconfidence and the army’s loyalty to the command, irrespective of differences, eventually saved the day for Pakistan.

Rattled by the military’s no-compromise message, Khan took to bravado to chide the DG ISPR.

Separately, as the ex-Prime Minister’s troubles mounted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was confabulating with big wigs from the Pakistan People’s Party in Dubai, in anticipation of his return to Pakistan to once again become a pivot in his country’s politics.

Also Read: Is Faiz Hameed Pak Army Chief’s main obstacle in his battle with Imran Khan?