Appeared as my weekly column BAAGHI in Daily Times on Monday January 23, 2012
Umpteen talk shows on 24/7 ‘breaking news’ media in Pakistan tell us almost daily how bad is democracy, how this democracy is worse than the dictatorships we have had, etc. TV presenters and reporters show little care for facts-based evidence to substantiate their claims. The act not only goes largely unchecked but brings more ‘ratings’ as a bonus. Who would like facts to come in the way of a good story?
The recently blown up issue of the president’s immunity clearly granted by the constitution is being debated in a furious media. Last week, Prime Minister Gilani was called to the Supreme Court by a bench hearing the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) case, to explain his inability to send a letter to the Swiss courts for opening the cases against President Zardari, failing which he might…
….. The prime minister is within his constitutional authority to remove the two chiefs, and therefore under what law would the Chief Justice of Pakistan interfere in the prime minister’s authority and ask for a no-removal guarantee by the latter? Giving such a guarantee would clearly restrict the constitutional powers given to the elected prime minister. Was the CJP overstepping his constitutional mandate? The CJP can re-interpret or use his own discretion, but not without undermining the Constitution.
Such an action by the CJP could set a dangerous precedent and could undermine the recent thawing of government-army tensions. The Chief Justice of Pakistan is humbly advised to re-trace his missteps on this matter. Meanwhile, the government would be ill-advised to give in writing that it will not remove the army and the ISI chiefs.
It was General Kayani’s strong warnings that prevented Nato strikes into Pakistani territory, claims the military. This is a cause for celebration. For it seems that the western forces in Afghanistan take heed to the Pakistani military chief’s warnings. This would, in turn, present a solution to the drone strikes, the latest of which we saw in the Datakhel area in North Waziristan on Monday. All the army chief has to do to stop them is to protest. Taking credit for one development means taking responsibility and blame for another.
There is, clearly, a lack of objective standards with which the military’s performance is to be evaluated. A pick-and-choose approach doesn’t hold water in any other government department, why should it here?
Much confusion persists, as always, on the role of the military. The military’s top spymaster, for instance, reportedly, met with former president Pervez Musharraf in Dubai the other day. Under what mandate did this meeting take place? The chief of an organisation that is tasked with counter-intelligence should not be going about liaising with political figures. If he can meet with the latter, then nothing much could be found wrong with the spy chief’s meeting with US national Mansoor Ijaz in London. It seems that the agency’s penchant for “political management” (as a former spy chief called it) has not ended.
In a special meeting Chaired by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Pak Army is given orders to respond in a befitting manner to NATO force on any violation of territorial integrity. This decision of was taken in an extraordinary meeting of corpse commander two days ago after the NATO attack. 1. Army Chain of Command System has been dismissed for the time being to respond NATO. The officers on the front can take their decision as per demand of the situation. 2. The officers on front don’t need any orders to respond any attack on territorial integrity. 3. We should not forget the blood of Shaheeds.