Says army has own "established protocol" of giving meeting appointments
Federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz said Thursday he had no knowledge of meetings between Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair before the ISPR officially confirmed it on Wednesday.
“No, it was not in my knowledge,” Faraz told SAMAA TV anchorperson Nadeem Malik. He said that army has its own “established protocol” of giving appointments.
Major General Babar Iftikhar told ARY News Wednesday that PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair held two meetings with the army chief in August September. The army chief, according to the ISPR DG, told Zubair that legal matters will be decided in the courts and the political matters should be discussed in the parliament.
Zubair also confrimed that the meetings took place, but he denied seeking any relief from the military. The PML-N leader told news channels that he met General Bajwa in his personal capacity because they are “old friends”.
Zubair also confirmed that ISI DG Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed was also present in the second meeting and the cases against Maryam Nawaz and Sharif came under discussion during the sittings.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government and the opposition have been at loggerhead with each other since the PTI came to power after 2018 elections.
A week ago, all the parliamentary leaders were invited to the army headquarters by the military leaders for a discussion on Gilgit-Baltistan. The government and other political parties have agreed to make Gilgit-Baltistan a province.
The meeting was chaired by General Bajwa and PM Khan wasn’t there. Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that PM Khan doesn’t want to sit with the opposition because he believes, “rightly so”, the opposition parties are responsible for Pakistan’s problems and its international perception.
Thursday evening, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed told reporters in Faisalabad that Muhammad Zubair didn’t have an old relationship with General Bajwa and they didn’t even meet even once in the last 36 years before the August and September meetings.
PML-N’s Senator Musadik Malik, however, told Nadeem Malik that the families of Zubair and General Bajwa had a relationship even before the latter became the army’s chief.
“Before general sahab became the chief, I knew they had a relationsip,” said Senator Malik. “They used to meet before he became the army chief.”
The PML-N senator said that Zubair had gone to meet General Bajwa in his “personal capacity” and he didn’t seek the party’s permission before going to the meetings.