ISLAMABAD:(APS) October 08,2015; Commenting on the major developments in civil-military relations in Pakistan during September 2015, PILDAT in its monthly monitor, has noted that considering alleged illegal occupation of land, aversion to an audit by the AGP Office, and unfettered powers bestowed upon the Authority, it would in the interest of civil-military relations in Pakistan that the DHA, Lahore, makes its workings more transparent. To begin with, the audit of its accounts will enhance its reputation of conformance to rule of law.
With regards to the ‘civil-military disconnect/disequilibrium’ alleged by PPP stalwarts in the Pakistan Senate, PILDAT noted that difference of opinion between the elected Government and Military leadership, especially during war, is not a novel phenomenon. However, it is important that any differences are resolved through existing institutions and forums for civil-military leadership’s coordination, including the increasingly dormant National Security Committee.
PILDAT also agreed with the observations made by the Honourable Chairman of the Pakistan Senate with regards to alleged ineffectiveness of Article 6 of the Constitution. Until there is public support and ownership of the Constitution, especially of the Article 6, the civilian elected Governments will remain largely ineffective, and the specter of a military intervention would always loom large.
While commenting on COAS, Gen. Raheel Sharif’s visit to the Khyber Agency to celebrate Eid with the troops on September 25, 2015, PILDAT noted that even earlier, the Prime Minister had spent his Eid ul Fitr as well in Saudi Arabia in stark contrast to the military chief who spent it with the soldiers in the North and South Waziristan Agency. Comparison between the itineraries of the two is not necessarily relevant or fair but this comparison is unavoidable in view of the fact that people want their political leadership to lead by example.
With regards to Gen. (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf’s call for grating extension to the COAS, Gen. Raheel Sharif, the Monitor stated that serious and sensitive issues such as the service of the Military commanders should be discussed and debated within the provided official channels and forums rather than in the media. The Monitor also noted that extensions are never popular, as was observed in the case of the former COAS, Gen. (Retd.) Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani, and always lead to criticism not only within the Armed Forces, but also amongst the public as well.
With regards to institutionalization in matters of national security, PILDAT noted with regret that no meeting of the National Security Committee was held for the 11th consecutive month. Whereas, for the five times that the Honourable Prime Minister and COAS met during September 2015, the Federal Minister for Defence, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, MNA was present in only two of them.