Pakistan social media abuzz with talk of ‘army conspiracy’ in Nawaz Sharif probe


NEW DELHI: Speculation is rife on social media in Pakistan that the country’s army is using the Panama Papers investigation to destabilise the Nawaz Sharif government. The army is, of course, going blue in the face denying it, Pakistani media reported.

Since 1947, the Pakistan military has staged three coups against civilian governments and the relationship between martial forces, the country’s intelligence agencies and its civilian institutions is close but uneasily so.

To say that the military has a big say in policy even during civilian rule in Pakistan is an understatement. Consider this: the joint investigation team (JIT) in the Panama Papers probe has a representative each from Pakistan’s intelligence outfit, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and its Military Intelligence (MI).

It’s no wonder then that people in Pakistan are speculating about the ISI’s and MI’s role in the investigation into PM Sharif’s offshore properties flagged in the Panama Papers.

When asked to comment on the allegations on social media, that the army was behind “conspiracies against the government”, an uncomfortable Pakistan army public relations official (PRO) said: “This question does not merit an answer.”

Those who are raising such speculation “are not Pakistani”, said the Pakistan army’s PRO Major General Asif Ghafoor, according to The News International.

“Every person has freedom of opinion,” Ghafoor said. Those who believe the army is not doing its best for the country “are under the foreign influence”, he said, according to Dawn.

Ghafoor further said the two members of the security establishment who were part of the six-member investigation team were working directly under the supervision of the Pakistan supreme court.

“They [ISI and MI officials] performed their duties professionally and honestly…Now, it is up to the supreme court…it is a sub judice matter and I don’t want to comment beyond that,” he added, according to The Express Tribune.Last week, the JIT in its final report almost sounded the death knell for the Sharif government when it said the PM and his children had accumulated wealth beyond their known sources of income.

On Monday, the Supreme Court resumed hearing the Panama Papers case after Sharif family’s lawyers submitted objections to the “damning” final report of the JIT.

Source: Times Of India


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