'Baseless and irresponsible': Pakistan Army on Imran Khan's allegations
In response, the army issued a statement that read: "The PTI chairman's baseless and irresponsible accusations against the organisation and, in particular, a senior army officer is unacceptable and unwarranted. Today's unfounded accusations against the institution and its representatives are unfortunate and categorically rejected."
The Pakistan Army has rejected former Prime Minister Imran Khan's allegations that one of its senior officers was involved in a plot to kill him as "baseless and irresponsible." The army further demanded that the government investigate and take legal action against those maligning the state institution.
The army's overnight statement came in response to Khan's hospital address, in which he claimed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, and Major General Faisal Naseer were all involved in a sinister plot to assassinate him in the same way that a religious extremist killed former Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2011.
Imran Khan (70) was shot in the right leg by two gunmen as he and others mounted on a container-mounted truck in the Wazirabad area of Punjab province, where he was leading a protest march against the Shehbaz Sharif government.
"Four people conspired to kill me. I made a video and named those people, which I have stashed abroad," Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said it would be released if anything bad happened to him.
The army, in its response, released a statement saying, "The PTI chairman's baseless and irresponsible accusations against the organisation and, in particular, a senior army officer is unacceptable and unwarranted."
The statement further read, "The baseless allegations levelled today against the institution/officials are deeply regrettable and strongly condemned."
No one will be allowed to defame the institution or its soldiers without consequence. The Pakistani government has been asked to investigate the matter and take legal action against those responsible for defamation and false accusations against the institution and its officials without any evidence, according to the statement.
Furthermore, the Pakistan Army takes pride in being an extremely professional and well-disciplined organisation with a robust and highly effective internal accountability system that applies to all unlawful acts committed by uniformed personnel.
If the honour, safety, and prestige of its rank and file are tainted by vested interests through frivolous allegations, the institution will jealously protect its officers and soldiers, it said.
The powerful army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for over half its 75-year history, has traditionally wielded considerable power in security and foreign policy matters.
Previously, Khan repeated the names of three individuals for their alleged involvement in the attack. He urged his supporters to keep protesting across the country until the three resigned.
Also, Khan announced that once he was back on his feet, he would again relaunch the protest march against the government.
Meanwhile, he claimed that the FIR was not filed as some people were afraid of (some names).
The Dawn newspaper reported that the deadlock over the registration of the FIR remained after the PTI chief reportedly refused to remove the name of a senior Army officer from the complaint, which also included the names of the prime minister and the interior minister.
(With inputs from PTI)