Lahore: In an unusual development, Pakistan’s Opposition parties have demanded resignation of spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed at a public rally in Punjab province.
“Faiz Hameed – istifa do (tender resignation)” was the demand made in the Opposition alliance — Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — rally in Faisalabad, some 180 kms from Lahore, Saturday.
Even slogans were raised against the incumbent spymaster who has been accused by the Opposition especially Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML- N) of ‘political engineering’ to install the puppet regime of Imran Khan.
The local media censored the anti-Hameed slogans and content in the rally.
Sunday, the video clip demanding resignation from Lt Gen Hameed went viral, prompting federal interior minister Sheikh Rashid to warn PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz against “playing with fire.”
‘Faiz Hameed -Tender resignation’ was one of the top trends on Twitter in Pakistan on Sunday. “I ask Maryam to refrain from bashing the armed forces in the public meetings. Her style of politics had already caused enough damage to her party,” he said.
Since there has been a standoff between civil and military leadership on the appointment of the ISI chief as the prime minister is reportedly reluctant to replace Hameed, Maryam said Imran Khan is undermining state institutions to satisfy “his selfish zeal”.
“Khan used to blame Nawaz Sharif of locking horns with the state institutions but when his turn came, attacking the institution of the armed forces is one thing, he in fact carries out a suicide attack on them just to save one person (Hameed),” she had told the rally.
Terming Lt Gen Hameed the “godfather” of Khan, the daughter of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf leader is in fact trying to saving his godfather (Hameed) who stole elections and ballot boxes for him (Imran).
“Hameed is oppressing his opponents, blackmailing judges to get favourable decisions, abducting journalists and pulling the plug on TV channels,” she said and further alleged that Khan is not taking a stand on principle on the appointment of the ISI chief but wants to retain Hameed to save his own government.
“Imran Khan claimed he wanted to retain the incumbent ISI chief because of his knowledge and dealing of Afghanistan. But in fact, Imran only wants to prolong his rule because he knows that if the ISI chief is replaced, his government falls like a house of cards,” Maryam said.
The government has insisted that the matter of ISI chief appointment will be resolved by Friday this week as both civil and military leadership have reached consensus on the issue.
According to military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa earlier this month reshuffled the top military hierarchy, transferring ISI Director General Lt Gen Hameed to the position of Peshawar corps commander while appointing Karachi corps commander Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum as new ISI director general.
Ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party’s chief whip in the National Assembly Amir Dogar had told the media that Prime Minister Khan wanted Lt Gen Hameed to stay in his office for some more time due to ‘critical situation in Afghanistan’.