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Express Tribune

Published Date: May 17, 2011

POST-OSAMA SCENARIO: TIME TO UNITE, MAKE PARLIAMENT SOVEREIGN

Experts discuss “wrong precedence” set by the US, call for reorganising political set up.

The US operation in Abbottabad on May 2 to capture Osama Bin Laden was a defining moment for the country. This was the view of experts at a seminar here on Monday analysing the repercussions of the incident.

They said Pak-US relations are at a crossroad and Pakistan’s policy-makers should adopt honest and truthful approach while accepting their mistakes to gain the trust and confidence of people of Pakistan.

The seminar titled, “War on Terror: Post-Osama regime” was organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). Dr Rifaat Hussain, Chairman Defence and Strategic Studies Quaid-e-Azam University, said that it was a tight spot for which Pakistani and US policy-makers were divided over while Pakistan’s circle of friends was clearly shrinking.

He predicted that the US will pressurise the country to accept greater Indian role in Afghanistan. He said there were less chances of US aid cutting off but there was high probability that the “conditionalities will be hardened”.

“We should to not get declared a state which harbours terrorists under international law,”he said.

Lt General (retd) Talat Masood urged to redefine the national security in terms of people’s security. He said, “People of Pakistan
and human resources are the real nuclear weapon that Pakistan has.”

Moreover, Dr Abid Sulehri, executive director SDPI, urged that the parliament should be independent and sovereign to make national policies whereas army and intelligence agencies should abide by those policies. He said that concept of the ‘troika’ must be redefined in the context of people’s point of view, political leadership should not look towards military for policy guidelines. “Defense budget should be presented and debated in the parliament and intelligence agencies should raise their level of tolerance towards genuine criticism,” he added.

Lt General (retd) Talat Masood was of the view that the best way to defend Pakistan is to be honest and transparent and accountable to the people of Pakistan. He urged that the policy-makers should accept their humiliating mistakes, tell the people the real truth.

He said that it was not the mistake of the current government but persistent mistakes have been made by General Musharraf, General Zia and General Ayub. He urged that the structured institutions should formulate the policies and define the future narrative for Pakistan while the principle of civilian supremacy must be accepted.

Tariq Fatemi, former ambassador, said that the unilateral action taken by the US was a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. “This action may be used as an act of precedence like our neighbouring capital is vowing to take,” said Fatemi. He said that the Pakistan should immediately consult the relevant forums on this issue.

There was a near unanimous agreement amongst the speakers and participants that Pakistan’s military establishment and intelligence services should be brought under the civilian control. Parliament should make foreign and defence policies of the country. Parliament’s resolution should be implemented and there should be an independent commission to fix responsibility for the May 2 event.