ISLAMABAD: Former ISI DG Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hameed has said that he will never join politics.
Talking to The News on Thursday, the retired general said that all speculations about his joining politics or leading the PTI were totally false. “I will not join politics after two-year bar nor afterwards,” he categorically said.
The retired general, who in the recent past had been widely discussed in the politics and media as the most favourite choice of Imran Khan for the slot of Army Chief, was contacted by this correspondent to get his view on his intention to join politics or lead the PTI.
On Thursday, a video footage got viral on the social media showing Faiz Hameed attending a gathering in his native village in Chakwal where an unknown person, addressing the gathering, praised the retired general for his services in the military and for all he did for the development of the area. The speaker requested the retired general to join politics and play his role in the development of the country.
Many journalists and others shared the video footage with their comments on Twitter. A Pakistani actress-cum-blogger Shama Junejo, while sharing the video, tweeted, “The real threat to Imran Khan is not PDM, but his own dearest friend General Faiz who is planning to take over PTI when he will be disqualified and arrested. The retired general arranged a meet up in Chakwal where the locals requested him to formally join politics.”
This scribe forwarded, using Whatsapp, the above tweet to Lt Gen (retd) Faiz, who after the elevation of Gen Asim Munir as Army Chief got early retirement a few days back. Faiz replied, “All false”. Later, when approached, he said that he will neither join politics nor the PTI after two years or even afterwards.
He explained that he was in his native town where his relatives and locals often visit him. One of the locals, while speaking on the occasion, requested him to join politics and lead Pakistan towards a prosperous future.
Geo’s London correspondent Murtaza Ali Shah commented, in his tweet, “Army says officers cannot join politics for 2 years after retirement but General Faiz attends a public meeting with PTI leaders within hours of his retirement. Locals thank him for releasing development funds for his area. Pakistan Zindabad.”
One Wahid Zia tweeted, “Original Chairman & actual owner of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, ex-DG ISI Faiz Hameed has officially joined politics (PTI). It’s important to mention here that army officers are not allowed to engage in politics within 2 years from the date of their retirement.”
Many in the media and politics see the retired general as a great sympathiser and promoter of Imran Khan and the PTI. Gen Faiz is generally blamed for using ISI’s muscles to benefit the politics of Khan and suppress his opponents.
Relations between former Army Chief General (R) Qamar Javed Bajwa and the then prime minister Imran Khan got dented when Khan declined to relieve the-then DG ISI General Faiz Hameed, who was transferred to Peshawar as Corps Commander. It turned into a serious issue and invited a public controversy. Later, Imran Khan agreed to the transfer of Faiz Hameed and his replacement by the incumbent DG ISI Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum.
Khan’s political opponents, particularly the PMLN, have been targeting General Faiz for his interference in political matters. One of the reasons for no-confidence motion against Imran Khan for the PMLN was their fear that if Imran Khan continued as the prime minister, he would appoint Gen Faiz as the Army Chief and would then fix the opposition to prolong his rule by manipulating the next general elections.