KARACHI: Without confirming or denying reports of his meetings with military brass and key political figures that drew sharp criticism from leaders of the ruling coalition, President Arif Alvi on Monday conceded his recent “efforts in personal capacity” to bring the “stakeholders closer” to one another.
President Alvi talked about his role to “consult, negotiate and deliberate” in personal capacity during his interaction with Karachi-based journalists and TV show hosts at Governor House, where he was asked a range of questions including one in the context of media reports that he had facilitated a meeting between ex-premier Imran Khan and army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the presidency this month, some participants in the meeting shared with Dawn.
They said the president didn’t respond to the question directly but in the overall context of different queries and his role as president, he came up with an explanation which covered the issue indirectly.
A statement later issued by the press information department about the president’s meeting with journalists also made his observation clear.
Describes audio leaks of PM, Maryam and others as ‘worrisome’
“He said he was trying to bring the stakeholders closer together in his personal capacity through democratic means of consultations, negotiation and deliberations at the appropriate level,” the official statement quoted President Alvi as saying.
Reports of Mr Khan’s meeting with the army chief went viral on the social media earlier this month, with no confirmation from any side.
Speculations deepened when senior PTI leader Ishaq Khakwani in a TV interview claimed the party held a meeting with Gen Bajwa at the presidency, facilitated by President Alvi.
During his media interaction, he sounded worried about audio leaks revealing conversations of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and some federal cabinet members.
The president said that the privacy of every person was a trust that should be upheld, and leaking private conversations or comments and spreading fake news was ‘unethical’. He advised self-discipline to not entertain private conversations, which sometimes became a reason for deteriorating relationships between people and countries.
He described the leaks as ‘worrisome’ and called for ‘decisive and committed’ initiatives to adopt cyber security technology.