Leaders of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) are going to be offered tea and snacks and taken care of if they plan to stage an extended march towards Rawalpindi, the chief of the military's media wing said on Monday. Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, director general of the Inter-Services PR (ISPR), was answering an issue at a news conference about PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman's indication that the opposition could turn the direction of its anti-government movement towards the military leadership. "I don't see a reason for [them] coming to Pindi. And if in the least they need to return , we'll offer them refreshments (chai pani) and appearance after them. What more am i able to say?" the DG ISPR said.
Maj Gen Iftikhar was also asked by a reporter whether any "stern action" would be taken against those propagating an "anti-army narrative" â€” a clear regard to some PDM leaders. The ISPR chief responded: "When it involves criticism or allegations levelled, the military is doing its job. on why are we not responding thereto , only such allegations are skilled which have some weight or are supported facts. "We have our hands full and that we neither want to urge involved in such things nor will we. we've stayed the course [and] we'll stay the course. there's nothing to stress about; we aren't worried." While answering another question about the PDM's allegations against the military , Maj Gen Iftikhar denied the impression that there was "no concern" within the military over the statements, but emphasised that the armed forces' morale remained high. "The army is doing its job despite whatever is being said. [But] the priority remains in its place," he said. In a regard to PDM's statements, the DG ISPR said "the sort of allegations that are being levelled haven't any weight", and cited the allegation about the 2018 elections not being fair. "The incumbent government asked the Pak Army to conduct elections and therefore the Army conducted them with full responsibility and integrity. "After that, if anyone has any problem regarding that, then all Pakistani institutions are working and that they are those who need to choose that and that they should be approached," he added.
Referring to rising political tensions within the country, Maj Gen Iftikhar said: "This is actually not an honest thing [...] but all said and done, the military may be a subordinate institution of the govt ." He added that "whatever has been said, i feel the govt has given a really good response and is tackling it. Army neither has the necessity to interfere in political matters nor should attempts be made to tug it in." Asked about Prime Minister Imran's statement that the opposition was asking the military to overthrow his government, the DG ISPR declined to comment. But he said there was "absolutely no" backdoor contact between the military and therefore the opposition. "There is not any such thing. we would like to remain out of it and that we are out of it," he added.