ISLAMABAD- The military on Friday clarified its position and issued a short statement saying that it was playing the role of facilitator in the ongoing political crisis at the behest of the government.
In a message posted on Twitter, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said Army Chief was asked by the government to "play facilitative role for resolution of current impasse, in yesterday's (Thursday) meeting, at PM House."
On Thursday night, ISPR DG tweeted that Chief of Army of Staff Gen Raheel Sharif will meet PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.
Following this tweet, Dr Qadri informed his supporters that army chief would play the role of arbitrator and guarantor. Both Imran Khan and Dr Qadri also held meeting with COAS Gen Sharif on Thursday night.
The military spokesman did not make any clarification till 6pm on Friday, the day the capital was caught in storm over the nature of army’s role in the talks and the issue as to who had sought army chief’s involvement.
Sources said the ISPR response over the situation was delayed as the army chief was not in Rawalpindi and was busy in professional assignments at some other stations. After the return of the COAS, ISPR DG Gen Bajwa uploaded the said tweet with the approval of the competent authority, sources added.
According to the sources, top military leadership took a serious note on the speculations and the statements issued by different leaders related to the role of COAS as mediator.
Explaining what transpired in the lead up to the army chief's meeting with Imran and Qadri, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in Parliament: "It so happened that I was in a meeting when Nisar got a call requesting if General Raheel could meet with Imran and Qadri to which I said they have requested the meeting and if General Raheel wants to meet them, he should go ahead."
Later, Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan in his press conference Friday evening claimed that the ISPR issued the press release regarding the "facilitative role" of Gen Sharif with the consent of the federal government.
He also clarified that since both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri had expressed 'no confidence' on the superior judiciary, political parties, lawyers and the civil society, the army has been asked to play their role to settle the dispute. He also claimed that both the military and civil leadership were on the same page in dealing with the ongoing crisis.