By Irum Saleem
Dawn has dared to take on the establishment pinpointing where it is going wrong.
“The gloves are well and truly off in the showdown between the state and the PTI, and the security establishment will find that it only has itself to blame for exposing the spy chief to the trenchant criticism now being levelled against him by former prime minister Imran Khan,” Dawn writes in it’s editorial.
It further says the military leadership ought to have foreseen the reaction to the decision to formally pit the ISI against a politician who is riding a growing wave of public support. Instead of being intimidated, Mr Khan seems to have found a reason to strike back with added vindictiveness.
“He is now channelling his rage at the spy chief and other intelligence officials by name and without inhibition, because Thursday’s press talk by the military has apparently provided him with an opening to do so.
While addressing the participants of his ongoing long march on Friday, Mr Khan went on the offensive against Lt-Gen Nadeem Anjum for the latter’s assertion that the spy agency is “apolitical and neutral”, arguing that the ISI chief had, in fact, delivered a “political presser” — “more political than anything Sheikh Rashid has ever managed” — while ignoring the “group of thieves” currently sitting in government.”
Dawn says “Mr Khan also positioned himself on the moral high ground when he suggested that he, too, could embarrass the security establishment if he chose to speak but would remain quiet in the interest of the country and the institutions of the state.
He was also able to publicly cast doubt on the claims of the army leadership that it was staying away from politics, by referring to the alleged involvement of senior officers in the arrest and torture of two PTI leaders.”
It writes the PTI’s long march was being perceived, at least till Thursday morning, as just another battle of wits between the PTI and the PDM. The security establishment walked itself into that equation, displacing the ruling coalition that now found itself on the sidelines of the battle for political supremacy. It may have felt there were good reasons for doing so, but what those reasons were is still not clear, even if one can understand the concern to counter Mr Khan’s narrative.
“What was it that needed to be said by the intelligence chief himself on a public rostrum that the military’s spokesman could not have conveyed? What was the objective of the exercise and what has been gained from it?”
“These are the questions that are being asked about the security establishment’s decision to enter into confrontation with a political party, which appears to have worsened the distrust prevailing among the citizenry rather than healing the existing divide.
Instead of taking the sting out of the PTI chairman’s campaign, the decision to involve the ISI chief only appears to have stirred the hornet’s nest. Mr Khan seems to have the advantage in this round at least.”
Its time for soul searching for the military establishment…Isn’t it? PAK DESTINY