ISLAMABAD - The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Monday categorically rejected allegations and assertions that the army or its intelligence wing (ISI) was backing Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tahreek (PAT) in the current political standoff.

In a clarification issued on Monday evening, the army categorically rejected the allegations leveled by PTI’s disgruntled president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi.

“Army is apolitical institution and has expressed its unequivocal support for democracy on numerous occasions. It is unfortunate that army is being dragged into such controversies. Integrity and unity of the army is its strength which it upholds with pride,” the ISPR added.

ISPR has been caught now a days in a difficult situation where they have to issue the denials of not only the media reports based on guesses and assumptions but also have to reject the allegations of different statements by political leaders.

On Monday, ISPR twice issued clarifications. Initially, ISPR issued a statement after news by different news channels that COAS had suggested the PM to resign or go on leave during their meeting. “News being run on private TV channels after COAS and PM meeting regarding PM resignation or his going on leave are totally baseless,” it said. 

Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif discussed various ways and means to defuse the volatile situation in the federal capital on Monday. It was the third meeting between the two in a week’s time, which lasted for well over two hours. The COAS briefed the premier about the Sunday night meeting of the Corps Commander and their concern over the situation in the federal capital which in many ways is casting a negative impact on the state of Pakistan.

Sources also said both were on the same page to resolve the issue in a peaceful manner for which a range of options were discussed including restart of negotiations with the protesters as top priority. Sources said that army chief informed the negative impact of the standoff on the handling of the internally displaced persons from Waziristan Agency, as these IDPs were completely ignored in the wake of the crisis in Federal Capital.

He stressed the need of resolving the issue at earliest in a peaceful fashion for which the political forces should adopt some quick-fix strategy.

After the meeting, a spokesman of prime minister’s office made it loud and clear that the resignation option had never figured in the meeting between the two.

The spokesman further said that prime minister would not step down come what may adding that government would utilise all options remaining within the ambit of constitution to resolve the prevailing crisis.

The meeting held a day after the Corps Commander meeting wherein armed forces had, “reaffirmed support to democracy” and reiterated that the ongoing standoff between the Nawaz government and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI), Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) needed to be resolved politically.