Rawalpindi: Rejecting Imran Khan's claim of a foreign conspiracy, Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director-General, Major General Babar Iftikhar, said intelligence officials had categorically informed the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting that there was no evidence found as such, reported local media.

Major General Babar Iftikhar said, "I say this with clarity that the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CCJCSC), the three services chiefs, ISI Director-General and other participants, who were present in the NSC meeting, were informed categorically in detail by the agencies that there was no evidence of any conspiracy and no such thing happened,"

Major General Babar Iftikhar said, adding that it was unfortunate to see baseless propaganda against the armed forces and making its leadership a target of criticism.

The military spokesperson said the Pakistan Army had played a key role in keeping Pakistan on the grey list of FATF and prevented it from going to the blacklist as a special cell on the request of the government, headed by the Director-General Military Operations (DGMO), was set up at the GHQ with the coordination of 30 different agencies and government departments and a mechanism was devised, The News International reported.

"The cell suggested measures against money-laundering and terrorism financing and in the light of its suggestions, legislation on the issues was made in the parliament. Because of efforts of the cell, Rs 58 billion laundered money was also recovered," he added.

Further, on Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa's visit to China, the officer highlighted the military and strategic ties between Pakistan and China, saying that it was for the first time the COAS had been invited by the Chinese president to visit the country. A number of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) had been signed during his visit, which would have far-reaching effects. "We have signed MoUs on the training aspect, tri-services cooperation and counterterrorism and their far-reaching effects will be visible soon," he said, adding that the COAS had attended a meeting of the Apex Committee, headed by the Chinese President, and also attended by the Vice-Chairman of Central Military Commission (CMC).

Talking about the defence budget for the fiscal year 2022-23, he said that since 2020, the armed forces had not demanded an increase in the budget. "Rather, defence allocations have come down. In terms of the inflation index, we received Rs100 billion less," The News International quoted him as saying.

He said that despite economic constraints being faced by the country, the armed forces did not allow any shortcomings in defence and war abilities but rather had a massive contribution to stabilize the economy. On the directives of COAS, he maintained, these measures included a considerable reduction in telephone, electricity, gas and water bills besides less consumption of fuel.

The Pakistani Army is trying to maintain a good rapport with the judiciary to maintain its supremacy at any cost while keeping the possibility of early elections in mind amid the political turmoil in the country.

Moreover, it is also becoming a lone opponent to the political class, irrespective of identities, with their respective public support, as all political parties came against them, a situation almost unprecedented. —ANI

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