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Dateline

Published Date: May 17, 2011

TRUTH WILL SET US FREE, SAY EXPERTS

Various key institutions seem to have adopted contradictory approach

AIL EARS: Executive Director SDPI Dr Abid Q Suleri (left) speaks at a seminar on ”War on Terror Post-Qsama Regime:’ Dr Riffat Hussain (centre) and Tariq Fatemi look on. – Online

ISLAMABAD – Demanding consti­tution of an independent commission, defence experts Monday called for an honest and truthful approach by the government to regain the trust and confidence of masses and the interna­tional community in the post Abbotta­bad operation scenario.

“Pak-US relations are at crossroads and Pakistan’s policy-makers should adopt honest and truthful approach and accept their mistakes,” the experts cited unanimously at an SDPI organ­ized seminar on ‘War on Terror: Post Osama Regime:

“Pakistan’s military establishment and intelligence services should be brought under the civilian control, Parliament should make foreign and defence policies of the country and get implemented its resolution,” the experts said also demanding an inde­pendent commission to fix the respon­sibility for May 2 incident.

Defense and security analyst Lt­ Gen (retired) Talat Masood, Dr Rifaat Hussain Syed, Professor and Chair­man, Defence and Strategic Studies at the Quaid-I-Azam University, former ambassador and analyst, Tariq Fatemi were the key speakers at the seminar.

Moderating the proceedings Execu­tive Director SDPI, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri underlined the need for an independent parliament to make national policies. Concept of ‘Troika’ must be redefined in the context of people’s point of view and defence budget should be presented and debated in the parliament.

Gen. Talat stressed that the best way to defend Pakistan is to be honest and transparent and accountable to the people. “Policy-makers should accept their humiliating mistakes and tell people the real truth.

We should end this self-denial and weaving of conspiracy theories rather we should take this incident as an op­portunity to have a paradigm shift in our policies and approaches:’

Tariq Fatemi noted that the two countries were at crossroads and need to refrain from jingoistic statements and emotional outbursts. The Osama incident was unprecedented in Pa­kistan’ history and now the country stands as isolated, humiliated and embarrassed. He forecast deep and multi­ple repercussions of this tragic incident as the country is facing a complex ques­tion of being incompetent or complicit.

Country’s different key institutions seems to have adopted contradic­tory approaches soon after the tragic incident besides a lack of trust has emerged in the armed forces despite their high professionalism, compe­tence and sacrifices.

“Unless Pakistan calls it violation of its sovereignty, this action may be used as act of precedence like of neighboring capital is vowing to take, the former ambassador said.

Fatemi added the elected representatives in Pakistan cannot respect unwritten agreements and under­standings with the US amid awake d people, media and judiciary any more.

Dr Rifaat stated it was a tight spot for Pakistan and US policy-makers were divided over future relations with the country while Pakistan’s friends’ circle has been significantly shrunk.

“The US will develop its narrative as it has lot of documentary evidenc­es and proofs including information about local support network of OBL which has weakened Pakistan’s dip­lomatic hand and will provide the US an opportunity to put further pressure on Pakistan;’ he assessed. Riffat pre­dicted that the US pressure can also lead to negotiations on fissile material technology, accept greater Indian role in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s dimin­ished role in end goals in Afghanistan.

“Chances of cutting off aid to Paki­stan are dim but there is high prob­ability that conditionality will be hardened.” Dr Rifaat said military is currently unhappy over the civilian government’s handling of the situation.

“The military and intelligence agen­cies have first time submitted to the will of people but there was need to go beyond that gesture.”

Gen. Talat Masood urged to rede­fine the national security in terms of people’s security and said people of Pakistan and human resources are the real nuclear weapons of the country