RAWALPINDI (a1tv News) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Lieutenant General Babar Iftikhar addresses a press conference in Rawalpindi.
DG ISPR, while addressing a press conference, said the purpose of the media talk was to shed light on the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif and the circumstances surrounding it.
This press conference is being held in the context of presenting facts so that “facts, fiction and opinion can be differentiated”, he said, adding that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had been “specially informed” about the sensitivity of the press conference.
It is necessary to determine the factors due to which a particular narrative is being built and people are being misled, he said.
Lt Gen Iftikhar said that Sharif s death was a “very tragic incident”. He called the senior journalist an icon of Pakistani journalism, a martyr’s son and a martyr’s brother and a serving officer’s brother-in-law. His programmes will be seen as a role model for journalists, he added.
General Iftikhar went on to say that Sharif s popularity was based on being an investigative journalist and when the cypher surfaced, he conducted several programs on the issue.
He held several meetings with the former premier and interviewed him, the DG ISPR said. “As a result, it was stated that he was shown meeting minutes and the cypher.”
The facts behind the cypher and Sharif s death have to be determined, he said.
Talking about the cypher, Gen Iftikhar said that the army chief had discussed it with Imran on March 11 when the latter had termed it to be “not a big thing”.
“It was surprising for us when on March 27 a piece of paper was waved and an attempt was made to build a narrative that was far from reality.”
He said that several facts had come to light regarding the cypher revealing the “baseless and unfounded” narrative surrounding it. The ISPR informed the National Security Committee that no proof was found regarding the conspiracy against the PTI government, he said, adding that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) also did not find any evidence regarding the conspiracy.
“This is all part of the record. We wanted to bring this to the public. And we left the decision to the-then government.”
However, this did not happen and more rumours were spread to gain political mileage, he said, adding that the Pakistan Army was also targeted.
Gen Iftikhar stated that the army was expected to intervene in domestic politics. “The word neutral and apolitical was turned into an abuse. To all this baseless narrative, the army chief and the institution showed restraint and we tried our level best that politicians sit together to resolve their issues.”
He noted that Arshad Sharif made strong comments regarding the army during this time but added that “we did not have any negative sentiments about him and we don t have such feelings now”.