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Business News/ News / World/  'Support democracy. No question of martial law' says Pakistan army amid unrest
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'Support democracy. No question of martial law' says Pakistan army amid unrest

Pakistan unrest: Reports of disunity have emerged among the ranks of the Pakistan Army and Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj-Gen Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry

Imran Khan arrest: A convey of army troops patrol at a road to ensure security after clashes between police and supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Islamabad. (AP)Premium
Imran Khan arrest: A convey of army troops patrol at a road to ensure security after clashes between police and supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Islamabad. (AP)

Amid the unrest among the top officials, the Pakistan army has refuted allegations of imposition of martial law in the country. Reports of disunity have emerged among the ranks of the Pakistan Army and Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj-Gen Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry. Rejecting the rumours, Chaudhry said, "I want to say very clearly that General Asim Munir and the army's leadership wholeheartedly support democracy and will continue to do so. The imposition of martial law is out of the question".

This comes after an almost four-day political turmoil erupted due to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's arrest, in which army's installations were also targeted.

According to Geo News, several Brigadier, Colonel, and Major level officers of the Pakistan Army have been sacked because they refused to open fire at PTI protestors and Imran Khan supporters.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan launched a direct attack on Pakistan Army Chief General Asim Munir and blamed them for creating chaos in the country.

"I am not against the institution but today the Pakistan Army is getting maligned because of one man - The Pakistan Army Chief," said Imran.

Khan was arrested in a land fraud case four days ago that ignited deadly protests and a tussle with the military.

However, yesterday, a Pakistani court ordered former Prime Minister Imran Khan's release on bail for two weeks.

The arrest, which the Supreme Court ruled "invalid and unlawful" a day earlier, has fuelled instability in the nation of 220 million at a time of economic crisis, with record inflation and delayed IMF funding".

Khan welcomed the court's order and said the judiciary was Pakistan's only protection against the "law of the jungle".

"I must say I expected this from our judiciary because the only hope now left – the only thin line between a banana republic and a democracy is the judiciary," he told journalists inside the court premises.

Khan added, in answer to questions, that he did not believe the country's security agencies were against him, but he suggested that the position of army chief was all-powerful.

"One man in this country decides whatever and it happens, it's one man. It's not the security agencies, it's one man – the army chief," he said, without naming him.

Khan's critics once accused him of being manoeuvred into power in 2018 by the powerful military - a charge both sides denied. But he later fell out with the generals, accusing them of plotting his removal last year. He has since been a vocal critic of current army chief General Asim Munir.

Khan, 70, is a cricket hero-turned-politician who was ousted as prime minister in April 2022 in a parliamentary no-confidence vote and who is Pakistan's most popular leader according to opinion polls.

Whereas the Pakistani army has remained the most powerful institution in the country, having ruled it directly for close to half its 75-year history through three coups.

The military has historically intervened citing economic or political instability in the country. However, despite widespread fears about another intervention amidst months of tumult, the military said it stood by the democratic process.

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Published: 13 May 2023, 07:24 AM IST
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