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COAS not seeking extension, will not accept an extension: ISPR

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has stated that Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa was neither seeking an extension nor would he accept an extension.

ISPR Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar said this during a press conference in Rawalpindi. He said that the army chief would retire on November 29.

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General Iftikhar went on to ask all political parties and public not to drag the military into politics. He said that any attempt to create a fracture between the people and the armed forces went against national interest. The military’s spokesperson said that he welcomed constructive criticism but highlighted that a “malicious campaign” was being run to malign the military and its leadership.

Responding to a question, the DG ISPR said that the military had nothing to do with politics. He said that there was no interference in any election by the military.

Speaking regarding the recently held 79th Formation Commanders’ Conference at the General Headquarters, he said the formation commanders had proclaimed confidence towards national security. General Iftikhar added that the nation’s support was the true source of the military’s power, without which the concept of national security did not hold meaning.

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Touching upon the matter of the ‘threatening letter’ received by the previous government, the DG ISPR said that the word “conspiracy” was not used in the statement issued following the meeting of the National Security Committee last month.

Responding to a question regarding the topic, he said, “As far as military response about the NSC meeting is considered, that stance, in that meeting was fully given, and then a statement was issued…which clearly says what was concluded in that meeting.”

Replying to another question, General Iftikhar said that judiciary was free to do whatever it needed in order to uphold the law. “If something has happened it was their decision…Pakistan’s sustenance relies on democracy and to strengthen it is everyone’s duty.”

The DG ISPR then said “absolutely not” to the possibility of a martial law being imposed. “Our external challenges are so many that if our army could tackle those alone, it would be a success. It is not fair to blame an institution which is always working for Pakistan’s security,” he said.

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