‘I never met army chiefs for personal reasons,’ PM Shehbaz says

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addressing a ceremony in Islamabad, on August 3, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday lamented being touted as the “establishment’s man”, saying that he only met the army’s top leaders for the country’s betterment, not personal gains.

“I was called the establishment’s man, but I did not care about those taunts […] I never met army chiefs for personal reasons; the only motive behind those meetings was to ensure that the establishment and governments take the country forward together.”

The prime minister made the remarks after inaugurating the newly-constructed Bhara Kahu bypass project in Islamabad.

PM Shehbaz said during his 38 years in politics, he has met several army chiefs to ensure that “Islamabad’s government and Rawalpindi’s establishment remain on the same page”.

“I have met many prominent army chiefs in my time in politics […] but the only idea behind it has been to take Pakistan to such a level for which scores of Muslims sacrificed their lives.”

PM Shehbaz mentioned that there were reports that he was “very close” to former president General (retd) Parvez Musharraf.

“…but what did I get? Nawaz Sharif was thrown into jail and so was I. He went to Attock, so did I. He went to Landhi jail, so did I. Nawaz Sharif was exiled, so was I. Even my family was exiled.”

“But what did I get? Nothing. There was only one thought in my mind […] to work for the underprivileged,” the prime minister mentioned, lamenting the state in which people are living.

He also appreciated Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir for his dedicated support for the Bhara Kahu Bypass project.