The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seems to be distancing itself from Shahbaz Gill – the party leader arrested on August 9 on charges of sedition and incitement against institutions.

Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry told a news channel on Wednesday that Gill’s narrative was “not the party’s stance” and added that “every person has their own opinion”.

He, however, still insisted that “Shahbaz Gill should be forgiven after withdrawing his statement”.

“Those that know him [Gill] personally, know him to be a patriot,” said Chaudhry as he also insisted that the PTI was a party with a “pro-Pakistan policy”.

Fawad’s statements have come following the controversy sparked allegedly by Gill’s comments and opinions expressed on a private TV channel after a helicopter crash in which six army officers, including Quetta Corps Commander Lt General Sarfraz Ali embraced martyrdom.

Earlier, the army had strongly condemned what it called “hurtful and derogatory” comments made by a certain group of people following the incident.

A joint inquiry team formed by the government on Wednesday had detected a total of 774 social media accounts responsible for a bulk of the misleading claims and smear campaign against the military, with many of them found to be operating from India as well as from within the country.

Meanwhile, PTI chief Imran Khan had claimed that a “conspiracy” was being hatched to pit his party against the military.

However, the government had accused him of diverting the public attention away from its prohibited funding case by running a malicious campaign against the army on social media.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday following Gill’s arrest Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had said that the “conspiratorial role” of a private TV channel has also come to the fore, adding that Shahbaz Gill, former information minister Fawad and the channel’s administration played the role on the instruction of Imran.


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