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Rediff.com  » News » How Will Pakistan Army Deal With Imran Khan?

How Will Pakistan Army Deal With Imran Khan?

By RANA BANERJI
Last updated on: May 22, 2023 08:49 IST
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The last word may not have been said on the churnings within the Pakistan army or the extent to which army chief General Asim Munir is in control, notes Rana Banerji, who headed the Pakistan desk at RA&W, India's external intelligence agency.

IMAGE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan virtually addresses the nation, May 15, 2023. Photograph: PTI Photo
 

Mystery continues about who is in command at IV Corps, Lahore, even after Pakistan army chief General Asim Munir visited the ravaged site of the corps commander's residence and addressed officers and other ranks of the garrison on May 20.

Contrary to usual practice, the Inter Services Public Relations press release covering the visit tersely mentioned that General Munir was received by the corps commander. No name was given.

There are a lot of rumours swirling in Pakistan over what has been happening after the unprecedented storming of Jinnah House and the virtual laying down of arms by the incumbent corps commander, Lieutenant General Salman Fayyaz Ghani, Frontier Force Regiment, on May 9.

Apparently, Lieutenant General Muhammad Asim Malik, 12 Baloch and sword of honour, 80th Pakistan military academy (PMA) long course, currently adjutant general, was sounded to go as the new IV Corps Commander. He reportedly declined.

The next offer was made to Lieutenant General Fayyaz Hussain Shah, Sindh regiment, also of 80PMA, who was serving as inspector general, arms, at the Pakistan army's General Headquarters. He was reported to have taken over.

However, the list of Pakistan three star generals available on open media platforms now shows Lieutenant General Syed Aamer Raza, Armoured Corps (6 Lancers), 80th PMA, erstwhile chairman, Heavy Industries, Taxila as the new IV Corps Commander, Lahore.

His place has been taken by Major General Shakirullah Khattak, Armoured Corps, till lately the deputy director general (analysis) at Inter Services Intelligence. Lieutenant General Fayyaz Hussain Shah is now shown back at his old post as IG, Arms, GHQ.

Wheels within wheels about connections of serving generals with senior retired officers seem to be plaguing these transfers. Asim Malik was promoted as lieutenant general under former chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa six months before peers from his batch. He is the son of the well regarded Lieutenant General Ghulam Ahmed Malik (retd).

Former Lahore GOC Lieutenant General Salman Fayyaz Ghani, now reportedly facing a court martial, is the son of Brigadier Fayyaz (retd), still alive and well. One of his sisters is a brigadier in the army medical corps. Other brothers, cousins are also reported to be serving in fairly senior positions in the army.

Some reports also suggest the new Lahore Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Aamer Raza is from the 22nd officers training school entry stream, army chief General Asim Munir's favoured parent recruitment point, not from the 80th PMA long course.

Meanwhile, the crackdown continues against those who actively participated in the May 9 arson and indulged in social media vilification of the army.

Among those arrested on May 20 were Salman Shah, former caretaker finance minister of Pakistan, son-in-law of former army chief, the late General Asif Nawaz. His son too was arrested as the authorities were looking for Shah's daughter Khadija, an active pro-Imran social media blogger and fashion designer by profession, who was identified despite wearing a covid type mask.

Both were later released ,but significantly, these arrests took place from the late General Asif Nawaz's home inside Lahore cantonment.

These are unusual developments in unusual times. The last word may not have been said on the churnings within the Pakistan army or the extent to which army chief General Asim Munir is in control, as he seeks to retain confidence and consensus of his top generals on how to deal with Imran Khan.

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RANA BANERJI / Rediff.com
 
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