PTI Clarifies Stance on MI, ISI Role in ‘Rigging’ Inquiry

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s spin doctors spent Tuesday trying to explain their party chairman’s statement regarding the role of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) in the proposed judicial commission the PTI wants to investigate election results.

After taking flak from his detractors for suggesting the inclusion of ISI and MI officials in the investigation of alleged rigging in the 2013 elections, which the PTI had been demanding for the past year, the party’s spokesperson also lashed out at critics. PTI information secretary Dr Shireen Mazari issued a detailed press statement explaining what Imran Khan meant when he recommended that the ISI and MI should be part of the inquiry if the government agreed to constitute a judicial commission under the Supreme Court. Dr Mazari regretted that regardless of the detailed explanation that Mr Khan gave after his speech at Sunday’s rally in Rahimyar Khan, “the government is indulging in a dangerous game of misrepresentation and black propaganda”.

She said Mr Khan had elaborated on more than one occasion that the PTI wanted to set up an independent judicial commission under the apex court, which should make its findings public within four to six weeks. The commission should be assisted in its inquiry by a joint investigation team (JIT) having representation of all the relevant agencies – including the MI and ISI – and that the PTI sit-in would continue. Dr Mazari was at pains to explain the role of military agencies in the proposed investigation,

which she claimed the government was misquoting. She came down particularly hard on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who she said “has led the negotiations from the government side with PTI but now has suddenly suffered a severe memory lapse and forgotten that the first three points have already been agreed [to] by the government and that PTI has accepted their proposal for naming the investigation team as a special investigation team (SIT) instead of a JIT”.

It was also the government that proposed all relevant agencies, including the MI and ISI, be made a part of the SIT, she claimed. The government had accepted a 45-day time limit for the probe. “Ironically, it was the government that also introduced [the idea of] four military personnel to sit in on the negotiations,” and recalled how the government had allowed men from the agencies to observe talks between the two sides. “Now the government and especially Mr Dar seem to have forgotten their own suggestions and commitments.” This shows that the government was never serious about any negotiated agreement just as it showed its frivolity when it opted out of negotiations just when an agreement was in sight, she said.

PM’S SPOKESMAN: The newly-appointed spokesperson for the prime minister, Dr Musaddik Malik, cautiously welcomed the PTI chairman’s decision to come back to the negotiating table. However, he was quick to clarify that whatever the nature or scope of the inquiry Mr Khan had demanded, it could only be carried out within existing constitutional limits. -dawn