Army not backing PTI, PAT, says ISPR

* Army has always expressed unequivocal support for democracy

ISLAMABAD: The ISPR on Monday categorically rejected assertions that the army and ISI were backing PTI and PAT in any way in the current political standoff. 
“Army is an apolitical institution and has expressed its unequivocal support for democracy at numerous occasions. It is unfortunate that army is dragged into such controversies,” the statement asserted. “Integrity and unity of the army is its strength which it upholds with pride,” the statement emphasised. The ISPR statement came after PTI dissident President Javed Hashmi hinted at the protesting parties being backed by some elements of the military establishment to overthrow the PML-N government.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Monday to discuss the ongoing political crises in the country. The meeting’s timing on Sunday afternoon created ripples across the country as some news channels splashed headlines claiming that the army chief asked the prime minister to step down or proceed on leave, a claim declared as baseless by ISPR through a statement.  
“The news being run on private channels after meeting of chief of army staff (COAS) and prime minister regarding PM’s resignation, or is going on leave, is totally baseless,” the ISPR statement said amidst rumour mongering. A government spokesperson was also quick to deny the claim as baseless, and denounced rumours broadcast on some TV channels stating that COAS General Raheel Sharif has advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down. The government spokesperson termed the rumours baseless and fake. 

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