Army spokesman terms Mashhood’s statement detrimental to Pakistan’s stability

  • The former Punjab minister says his statement was quoted ‘out of context’
  • Top PML-N leadership distances itself from the Mashhood’s claims

RAWALPINDI – Pakistan Army has rejected the statement of former Punjab minister Rana Mashhood about a ‘settlement’ between the PML-N and the country’s establishment, according to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

“Attribution of an obvious vested statement by Rana Mashhood is baseless and regrettable. Such irresponsible expressions are detrimental to stability in the country,” military spokesman Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

The ISPR chief’s tweet follows Mashhood’s clarification over his controversial statement over the ‘improving ties’ between the military establishment and the former ruling party owing to the efforts of party president, Shehbaz Sharif, saying his statement was quoted ‘out of context’.

The clarification of former provincial Education minister comes after his party distanced itself from his statement.

Earlier today, in an interview to a private television channel, the PML-N leader expressed that the establishment was saddened as Shehbaz Sharif was not able to become the chief executive of the country.

“The TV channel twisted my statement,” Mashhood said and added he was trying to contact with the management of the channel.

Mashhood, believed to be a close confidant of the ex-Punjab CM, credited the former Punjab chief minister for ‘settling matters with establishment’ while claiming that his party was in a position to form a government in Punjab within a span of two months.

Hamza Shehbaz would be PML-N’s candidate for the post of Punjab chief minister, he added.

Shehbaz Sharif mended PML-N ties with establishment, claims Rana Mashhood

On a query regarding the conduct of Maryam Nawaz and former premier Nawaz Sharif, the former minister expressed that the tone of the duo would remain a bit harsh until ‘things are fully settled’.

Rana Mashhood had been the member of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab from 2002 to May 2018. He served as the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly from 2008 to 2013.

The PML-N spokesperson, Marriyum Aurangzeb, said the party leadership distanced themselves from Mashhood’s claims terming them as his ‘personal opinion’.

“Rana Mashhood’s statement has nothing to do with the PML-N or its leadership,” she said.

She further added that the party has sought explanation from the former minister over his statement.

Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has rejected Mashhood’s claims terming it ‘non-serious’.

The controversial statement follows the release of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryum Nawaz, who were sent to Adiala jail for corruption, after the Islamabad High Court granted them bail.

‘Dawn Leaks’

In 2016, the so-called “Dawn leaks” affair brought a storm in the South Asian country when the Dawn newspaper reported on ‘tensions’ between government and military officials.

In the news story, Dawn journalist Cyril Almeida “broke confidential minutes” of a meeting in October 2016 among the government and military officials on ‘national action plan’ in which the civilians reportedly apprised the military of mounting international pressure of more action against armed groups.

The civilian government’s representatives at the meeting gave warning that Pakistan could face international isolation if the security establishment did not take the recommended course of action and what followed suit was the hornet’s nest in the military ranks.

Treason case: LHC summons Nawaz Sharif, warrants issued for Cyrial Almeida

Almeida’s exclusive story came against a backdrop of mounting border tensions between India and Pakistan following a claim by the Indian government of a cross-border “surgical strike” by their on September 18.

On Oct 29, the then minister for information and broadcasting, Pervaiz Rasheed was removed from his position as the federal minister. Musadiq Malik, the spokesman for the Prime Minister had said that Pervaiz Rasheed was responsible for the Newsgate.

The Prime Minister Office had also dismissed Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi from his position over the Dawn leaks scandal.