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The Nation

Published Date: Sep 20, 2016

Politicians, judiciary support military intervention in civil matters

‘Politicians, judiciary support military intervention in civil matters’ Claims that the military does not want to interfere in the government’s matters are false and in fact, politicians and the judiciary have always supported the military in intervening in matters of governance, said PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar.

Speaking at a seminar titled ‘Civil Military Relations: Challenges and Way Forward’ on Monday, which was hosted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), the senator said claims of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) and the PM Office being on the same page are also untrue. He said there is a deficit of trust between the two and that the military is making constant invasions in civilian matters.
“When the government decided to lodge a case of treason against retired General Pervez Musharraf and the judiciary was hearing the case, who moved the general to a government hospital and gave him shelter,” he asked,
To support his argument, Senator Babar said that just in June this year when the prime minister was in the UK, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was acting as prime minister and that Mr Dar had gone to the General Headquarters (GHQ) along with a delegation of civil leadership.
Senator Farhatullah Babar calls for parliamentary committee to oversee security matters
Pakistan is a security state and the security is also defined by the security establishment, he said.
Talking about the way forward, Mr Babar said that public discourse should be broadened and their opinions heard.
“A parliamentary committee on national security, in both the National Assembly and the Senate, should be established. Politicians should ensure their performance is good so that allegations of corruption do not surface. The security establishment should also look into these affairs,” he said.

Also speaking at the event was PML-N Senator retired Lieutenant general Abdul Qayyum, who said Pakistan has suffered from the ups and downs in the civil-military relationship and that military interventions cannot be justified.
“Some believe that the military is responsible for all the bad things and others think the military should run the country and I don’t agree with either of these opinions,” he said.
“When a general decides to take over, various politicians begin paying his visits and offer him their services. The courts also grant the general powers, even the ones he does not ask for,” he added.
He was referring to when the Supreme Court gave former President Musharraf the power to amend the constitution, though he had not asked for that power.
Senator Qayyum said that those who want the military to take over should understand that there is no guarantee that the country will end up with generals like Churchill, McCarthy and Jamal Abdul Nasir.
Defence analyst Imtiaz Gul said that when they come to power, politicians run the government via a kitchen cabinet. They should understand that democracy requires responsibility, he said.
Senior journalist Zahid Hussein said there was no clear policy regarding some of the major decisions in the country because no one knew which Sharif was in power. He added that the PTI/PAT rally of 2014 had provided the military the opportunity to gain space.
He asked how politicians can expect anyone to take parliament seriously when they themselves hardly attend sessions.
Analyst Dr Ayesha Siddiqa said the problem is in the structure of Pakistan, which she said is a colonial state where everything is dealt with the way it was before 1947.
SDPI Head Abid Qayyum Suleri said that the dictators of Pakistan act like they are democratic leaders while democratic leaders behave like dictators, which he said was the reason why there has never been neither the perfect democracy nor the perfect dictatorship in the country.