Reports surface of ex-ISI chief ‘joining’ Imran’s PTI

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Islamabad, June 27 (IANS) Retired Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam, the former chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), remained in the media spotlight after reports surfaced that he had apparently waded into the political sphere and “joined” a political party.

However, Gen Islam has not commented on these reports so far, reports Dawn news.

On Sunday, journalist Saleem Safi posted a picture of the former DG ISI on his Twitter account, where the latter could be seen standing at a podium, ostensibly while delivering a speech at a political event, that was emblazoned with the flag of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Several commenters assumed that the former general had waded into politics and announced his support for PTI, however, the party’s information secretary has dispelled this impression.

Former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Gen Islam had participated in a political event in support of a PTI candidate in the upcoming Punjab Assembly by-polls, Dawn reported.

The candidate he is said to have been supporting is Shabbir Awan, who is running for MPA from a Rawalpindi constituency.

Chaudhry told Dawn news there was no truth to rumours that Gen Islam had joined the party, adding that he was merely expressing support for a PTI candidate who happened to be a relative of the retired general.

Gen Islam served as the ISI chief from March 2012 to November 2014.

During this time, it was speculated that he had provided tacit support to the PTI during their sit-in outside parliament and remained a part of negotiations held to try and seek a peaceful resolution of the sit-in.