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Category — Army

NAP ‘lacks’ civil-military ownership: by Faizan Ali Warraich in The Nation, Sept 21, 2017

by Faizan Ali Warraich in The Nation, Sept 21, 2017
LAHORE – The 20-point National Action Plan, which is aimed at curbing militancy in the province, lacks civilian and military ownership.

NAP implementation is going at snail’s pace due to a lack of inter-provincial coordination and this has made the National Counterterrorism Authority virtually ineffective.

This was stated by speakers at a workshop organised by the PILDAT on the 20-point National Action Plan for the Punjab Assembly Standing Committee on Home Affairs at a hotel on Wednesday.

Speaking to the session, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs Makhdum Syed Masood Alam stated that a number of laws relating to counterterrorism had been passed with the efforts of the committee, but the committee did not have the authority to call its own meetings and hold the government departments accountable. This severely limited its ability to undertake oversight of NAP. He said there was no extremist content in syllabus being taught in Punjab schools.

Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami pointed out that across the world it was parliamentary committees who are responsible for oversight and review of executive action. He stated that media coverage of their meetings could have a positive impact and enhance confidence in elected representatives. He said it was a matter of concern that now ruling PML-N workers were being picked up. “It is a worrisome situation in Punjab and it needs to be addressed,” Shami said.

PILDAT President Ahmed Bilal Mehboob stated that periodic progress reports based on factual data should be issued by provincial and federal governments and parliamentary committees should take responsibility for oversight in this matter.

The National Action Plan serves as the landmark consensus blueprint for combating terrorism and violent extremism in Pakistan.

“The purpose of this initiative is to highlight the need for the Parliament and provincial assemblies, especially Punjab Assembly, to take an active role in periodic review of the progress on NAP, and hold the government and all relevant institutions accountable,” he said.

Columnist Rauf Tahir said that NAP had become a “joke”. In the recently held NA-120 by-election two jihadi parties ran their election campaigns without changing their narrative. He said that NAP should be taken serious but authorities were not showing the concern on it.

Former interior secretary Tasneem Noorani said that military and civilian ownership of NAP was being seen nowhere. “If authorities concerned will ask and peruse the progress work on NAP, the implementing officers will not pay attention to it,” Noorani said.

Punjab Assembly Parliamentary Secretary for Home Rana Muhammad Afzal said that Pakistan had paid a heavy price in the War on Terror, but its achievements had not been recognised.

PML-N MPA Chaudhry Laal Hussain said that parliamentarians were unable to perform their legislative and oversight duties because they have to deal with day-to-day issues in their constituencies. He stated that empowering local bodies will be very beneficial.

Senior Secretary of Punjab Assembly Rai Mumtaz Hussain Babar said that a lack of authority for the standing committees to hold meetings on their own was a major hurdle.
http://nation.com.pk/newspaper-picks/21-Sep-2017/nap-lacks-civil-military-ownership

September 21, 2017   No Comments

Govt seeks dismissal of petition against militant ‘clemency plan’

Report in Dawn, September 21st, 2017
PESHAWAR: The defence ministry on Wednesday requested the Peshawar High Court to dismiss a petition against the federal government’s alleged plan to give clemency to the former spokesman for the banned militant outfit Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, saying crackdown and investigation against terrorists on the revelations of Ehsanullah Ehsan was underway.

In a written response to the petition of an Army Public School Peshawar student’s father, the defence ministry told the bench consisting of Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Nasir Mehfooz that it would handle the issue of Ehsanullah Ehsan in line with the law.

It said the petition should be dismissed for being ‘without merit and in a premature stage’.

The reply was submitted by the attorney general’s office on behalf of the defence ministry.

The bench was hearing the petition of Fazal Khan, father of one of many APC students, who were killed by the TTP militants during the 2014 attack on campus.

The bench directed Barrister Amirullah Chamkani, lawyer for the petitioner, to prepare his arguments on the point whether the high court had the powers to stop the federal government from awarding clemency to any person.

The lawyer said he had received the reply of the defence ministry on Wednesday and would address the court on next date on that reply as well as the query put before him by the court.

The petitioner has requested the court to order the trial of Ehsanullah Ehsan, who is in the custody of security agencies, by a military court for different acts of militancy, including the APS carnage.

The petitioner, whose son Sahibzada Umar Khan was killed in the APS incident, requested the court to direct the respondents, including the federal government, to refrain from giving clemency to Ehsanullah Ehsan.

He prayed the court to declare that Ehsanullah be tried by a military court expeditiously and that he being a person affected by the 2014 carnage be formally informed about the findings of the trial thereafter.

The respondents in the petition are federal government through interior secretary, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through chief secretary, defence ministry through defence secretary, Inter-Services Intelligence director general, chief of the army staff, and law and human rights ministry through its secretary.

Barrister Amirullah Chamkani, lawyer for the petitioner, said 148 students and staff members, including eighth grader son of the petitioner, had lost lives in the Dec 16, 2014, APS attack.

He added that the TTP had victoriously claimed responsibility for the attack next day through Ehsanullah Ehsan and announced plans to carry out more such attacks.

The petitioner claimed that after a long period of almost three years, one of the masterminds of the APS incident, Ehsanullah Ehsan alias Tariq, had surrendered or was captured by the law-enforcement agencies, which had given some hope to him (petitioner) that the perpetrators of the APS incident would be brought to justice.

He however said unfortunately to his utmost surprise and disappointment, Ehsanullah Ehsan far from being brought to justice was being portrayed as an ‘unaware, innocent and brainwashed’ man, who had inadvertently masterminded the APS carnage and many other terrorist activities in the country, especially in KP.

The petitioner claimed that he had learned through reliable sources that clemency was on the cards for Ehsanullah Ehsan for his ‘full and frank disclosure’ and that the government’s possible move was not only highly deplorable but also illegal and unconstitutional.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1359055/govt-seeks-dismissal-of-petition-against-militant-clemency-plan

September 21, 2017   No Comments

Gen Bajwa confirms death sentence of four terrorists tried by military courts

report in The News, Sept 21, 2017
RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed death sentences awarded to another four hardcore terrorists, who were involved in heinous offences related to terrorism, including abducting/slaughtering of soldiers, attacking law enforcement agencies and Armed Forces of Pakistan.

According to an ISPR statement issued on Wednesday, on the whole, they were involved in killing of 21 persons and injuring another person.

Arms and explosives were also recovered from their possession. These convicts were tried by military courts. They were awarded death sentence.

Detail of each case is attached.

1. Shabbir Ahmed S/O Muhammad Shafique. The convict was a member of proscribed organization. He was involved in attacking Armed Forces of Pakistan, which resulted in death of Major Adnan and 10 soldiers. He was also involved in kidnapping and slaughtering of 4 soldiers. The convict admitted his offences before the Magistrate and the trial court. He was awarded death sentence.

2. Umara Khan S/O Ahmed Khan. The convict was a member of proscribed organization. He was involved in attacking Armed Forces of Pakistan which resulted in death of 3 soldiers. He was also involved in destruction of Government Girls Primary School, Hazara. He was found in possession of fire-arm and explosives. The convict admitted his offences before the Magistrate and the trial court. He was awarded death sentence.

3. Tahir Ali S/O Syed Nabi. The convict was a member of proscribed organization. He was involved in attacking Armed Forces of Pakistan, which resulted in death of 2 soldiers. The convict admitted his offences before the Magistrate and the trial court. He was awarded death sentence.

4. Aftab ud Din S/O Farrukh Zada. The convict was a member of proscribed organization. He was involved in attacking Law Enforcement Agency, which resulted in death of a police official and injuries to another police official. He was found in possession of fire-arm and explosives. The convict admitted his offences before the Magistrate and the trial court. He was awarded death sentence.https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/231328-Gen-Bajwa-confirms-death-sentence-of-four-terrorists-tried-by-military-courts

September 21, 2017   No Comments

Civil Military Cooperation: edit in The Nation, September 20, 2017

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Bajwa, on Monday had a meeting with the Defense Committee of the Senate. Addressing the rumours regarding army’s involvement in the panama case and the general concerns over the security situation, and the civil military tensions; the COAS reinforced the fact that army as an institution completely and wholly supports democratic principles.They want to establish good ties with the civilian set up to improve the security lapses in the country.He also emphasized the fact that the army and he personally, are answerable to the parliament, and would always be willing to come to the Senate to answer questions and queries.There are very positive and welcome overtures from the military, which need to be followed up by actions that reinforce this stance.Politicians and interest groups have been trying to pit the government and the military against each other for a while now and efforts have redoubled following the US announcement of an increase Afghanistan deployment and its response.In the face of such efforts both the military and the government need to work together to dispel this notion – not only to preserve internal stability but also to present a united front to the international community.

While such statements go a long way to publically silence speculation, they must be matched by polices and visible cooperation from the civilian side too.The new cabinet has been making all the right noises on the issue of terrorism.The Foreign Minister is speaking candidly of putting our ‘house in order”, the Interior Minister is detailing new polices and now the Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, has supported the statements made by Khawaja Asif.However, action – direct measurable action – is still missing.If the military is truly willing to work with the government and listen to its concerns, and the government has sorted out its stance on the terrorism issue, then actionable policies shouldn’t be far behind.
We have recently witnessed how success is inevitable when the two institutions combine. The army and the government were very vigilant when it came to ensuring not only the success of the PSL final but also the World XI series.This is the precedent that should be set.Especially that in order to rid Pakistan of extremism we need to put our own house in order.http://nation.com.pk/editorials/20-Sep-2017/civil-military-cooperation

September 20, 2017   No Comments

No contract to FWO, NLC sans tenders, Senate told

by Imran Mukhtar in The Nation, Sept 20, 2017
ISLAMABAD – Minister of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt Gen. (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch Tuesday informed the Senate Committee of the Whole that no contracts would be awarded to the military-run organisations, including Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and National Logistics Cell (NLC) as well as civilian contractors in the FATA area without an open tender while violating the rules and the laws. All would be awarded contracts as permissible under the law, he said.

He said the government was facing resistance to give share to FATA in the National Finance Commission Award (NFC). He stressed the need for solution to the basic problems of tribal areas before its merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. http://nation.com.pk/national/20-Sep-2017/no-contract-to-fwo-nlc-sans-tenders-senate-told

September 20, 2017   No Comments

ISI to have more civilians at the top: by Malik Asad in Dawn, September 17th, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Pakis­tan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has increased the civilian share in the senior hierarchy of the country’s premier intelligence agency — Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Sep­t 15, 2017 approved a proposal to increase the number of directors general (DGs) — the highest civilian post in the agency — from one to four.

The post of civilian DG in the ISI is a grade 21 position, equivalent to a serving major general of the armed forces.

Previously, there was only one civilian DG post in the intelligence agency.

PM Abbasi approved the summary sent to the PM Office by the Defence Ministry, proposing four civilian DGs in the ISI.

In addition, the prime minister has also enhanced the number of deputy directors general (DDGs) from eight to 15. The same summary recommended the creation of seven additional DDG posts for civilian officers in grade 20.

According to the office order issued by the PM Office on Sept 15, “The prime minister has seen and is pleased to approve the proposal at para 5 read with the views of Establishment Division… and of Finance Division.”

The office order titled: “Revised establishment — Defence Intelligence Service (DIS) Cadre Of Directorate General ISI” was signed by the Prime Minister’s Secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad and was circulated to Establishment Division Secretary Mian Asad Hayauddin, the finance ministry and the defence secretary.

When contacted, Parliamentary Sec­retary for the Cabinet and Establi­sh­ment Division Raja Javed Ikhlas termed the order “a routine matter”.

An official of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) did not comment on the development, but said that since the prime minister was the competent authority, as the ISI worked under the PM Secretariat, it was his prerogative to increase the sanctioned posts in the agency.

Formed in 1948 as an independent unit to strengthen the country’s intelligence network, ISI was formerly part of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), which handled intelligence-sharing between different branches of the military, as well as external intelligence gathering.

Its headquarters was initially located in Rawalpindi, but was later moved to Islamabad.

In 1950, ISI was officially given the task of safeguarding Pakistani interests and national security, inside and outside the country.

During the Soviet-Afghan war, ISI was strengthened and re-organised, with a handful of posts being created for civilians from the Defence Intelligence Services (DIS) cadre.

According to a former ISI official, it was in 2005 when retired Gen Pervez Musharraf approved the posting of a civilian as DG ISI in grade 21 for the first time. The process for the promotion of civilian ISI officers was slow, since there was only one DG slot, he said.

However, with the addition of seven grade 20 and three grade 21 posts, the official hoped that promotion of civilians, especially young DIS officers working in “hard areas”, would be accelerated.

In June 2013, some ISI officials had petitioned the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the slow pace of their promotions. The petition stated that there were over 300 officers in grade 17 to 21 in the five cadres of the ISI, including the Surveillance (field intelligence) cadre, Vetting cadre, Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous cadre, Ministerial cadre and DIS.

The petition was dismissed by IHC Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi in September the same year, saying that the aggrieved officials should approach the Federal Services Tribunal, which was the relevant forum for such petitions. https://www.dawn.com/news/1358185/isi-to-have-more-civilians-at-the-top

September 18, 2017   No Comments

Pak Army proposed plan to mainstream militant groups: Lt Gen Amjad Shuaib (retd)

Reuters report in The Nation online, Sept 16, 2017 at 8:47 am
A new Pakistani political party controlled by an Islamist with a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head is backing a candidate in a by-election on Sunday, in what a former senior army officer says is a key step in a military-proposed plan to mainstream militant groups.

The Milli Muslim League party loyal to Hafiz Saeed – who the United States and India accuse of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people – has little chance of seeing its favored candidate win the seat vacated when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was removed from office by the Supreme Court in July.

But the foray into politics by Saeed’s Islamist charity is following a blueprint that Sharif himself rejected when the military proposed it last year, retired Lieutenant General Amjad Shuaib told Reuters.

Three close Sharif confidants with knowledge of the discussions confirmed that Sharif had opposed the “mainstreaming” plan, which senior military figures and some analysts see as a way of steering ultra-religious groups away from violent jihad.

“We have to separate those elements who are peaceful from the elements who are picking up weapons,” Shuaib said.

Pakistan’s powerful military has long been accused of fostering militant groups as proxy fighters opposing neighboring arch-enemy India, a charge the army denies.

“PATRIOTIC PEOPLE”

Saeed’s religious charity launched the Milli Muslim League party within two weeks after the court ousted Sharif over corruption allegations.

Yaqoob Sheikh, the Lahore candidate for Milli Muslim League, is standing as an independent after the Electoral Commission said the party was not yet legally registered.

But Saeed’s lieutenants, JUD workers and Milli Muslim League officials are running his campaign and portraits of Saeed adorn every poster promoting Sheikh.

Another Islamist designated a terrorist by the United States, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, has told Reuters he too plans to soon form his own party to advocate strict Islamic law.

“God willing, we will come into the mainstream – our country right now needs patriotic people,” Khalil said, vowing to turn Pakistan into a state government by strict Islamic law.

Saeed’s charity and Khalil’s Ansar ul-Umma organization are both seen by the United States as fronts for militant groups the army has been accused of sponsoring. The military denies any policy of encouraging radical groups.

Both Islamist groups deny their political ambitions were engineered by the military. The official army spokesman was not available for comment after queries were sent to the press wing.

Still, hundreds of MML supporters, waving posters of Saeed and demanding his release from house arrest, chanted “Long live Hafiz Saeed! Long live the Pakistan army!” at political rallies during the past week.

“Anyone who is India’s friend is a traitor, a traitor,” went another campaign slogan, a reference to Sharif’s attempts to improve relations with long-time foe India that was a source of tension with the military.

‘DERADICALISATION’ PLAN

Both Saeed and Khalil are proponents of a strict interpretation of Islam and have a history of supporting violence – each man was reportedly a signatory to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa declaring war on the United States.

They have since established religious groups that they say are unconnected to violence, though the United States maintains those groups are fronts for funnelling money and fighters to militants targeting India.

Analyst Khaled Ahmed, who has researched Saeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity and its connections to the military, says the new political party is clearly an attempt by the generals to pursue an alternative to dismantling its militant proxies.

“One thing is the army wants these guys to survive,” Ahmed said. “The other thing is that they want to also balance the politicians who are more and more inclined to normalize relations with India.”

The military’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency first began pushing the political mainstreaming plan in April 2016, according to retired general Shuaib, a former director of the army’s military intelligence wing that is separate from the ISI.

He said the proposal was shared with him in writing by the then-ISI chief, adding that he himself had spoken with Khalil as well as Saeed in an unofficial capacity about the plan.

“Fazlur Rehman Khalil was very positive. Hafiz Saeed was very positive,” Shuaib said. “My conversation with them was just to confirm those things which I had been told by the ISI and other people.”

Saeed has been under house arrest since January at his house in the eastern city of Lahore. The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his conviction over the Mumbai attacks.

Then-Prime Minister Sharif, however, was strongly against the military’s mainstreaming plan, according to Shuaib and three members of Sharif’s inner circle, including one who was in some of the tense meetings over the issue.

Sharif wanted to completely dismantle groups like JuD. Disagreement on what to do about anti-India proxy fighters was a major source of rancour with the military, according to one of the close Sharif confidants.

In recent weeks several senior figures from the ruling PML-N party have publicly implied that elements of the military – which has run Pakistan for almost half its modern history and previously ousted Sharif in a 1999 coup – had a hand in the court ouster of Sharif, a charge both the army and the court reject.

A representative of the PML-N, which last month replaced him as prime minister with close ally Shahid Khaqi Abbasi, said the party was “not aware” of any mainstreaming plan being brought to the table.

RELIGION AND POLITICS
Some analysts worry that mainstreaming such controversial groups would be a risky strategy for Pakistan.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has threatened sanctions against members of Pakistan’s military and even raised the specter of declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism.

“It will send a wrong message,” said analyst Zahid Hussain, who nevertheless thought that Saeed’s new party would have a “negligible” effect on Pakistani elections because religious parties have never won more than a few seats in parliament.

Others are not so sure.

Sheikh, the MML candidate in Sunday’s by-election who says he was handpicked by Hafiz Saeed, vowed to establish strict Islamic rule and “break” liberalism and secularism.

Analyst Ahmed warned that few existing religious parties have a charismatic leader like Saeed, and Pakistan may find itself unable to control a rising tide of Islamist sentiment.

“If Hafiz Saeed comes into the mainstream, it’s not that he is going to be politicized,” he added. “It’s that he is going to make politics more religious.”
http://nation.com.pk/national/16-Sep-2017/pakistan-military-proposed-plan-to-mainstream-militant-groups-lt-gen-amjad-shuaib-retd

September 16, 2017   No Comments

Ex-army officer goes missing: Report in Dawn, September 15th, 2017

ISLAMABAD: A retired army officer, who served with the country’s premier intelligence agency, has gone missing from the federal capital.

On the complaint of Mohammad Shamal Khan, the elder brother of the retired lieutenant colonel, the police registered a kidnapping case against unidentified people.

Mr Khan told the police that his brother, who retired from the army a year ago, came to courts in G-11 from Peshawar on September 11. Later, he was going to the house of a friend when he disappeared, the police quoted the complainant as saying.

His mobile phone was also found switched off. The missing man’s car was found from a parking lot in F-10.

Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Unit arrested a man for allegedly supplying narcotics to students and recovered 7.20 kilogrammes hashish from him, said the police.

During the preliminary interrogation, the suspect confessed to supplying drugs to students of different institutions, the police claimed.https://www.dawn.com/news/1357807/ex-army-officer-goes-missing

September 15, 2017   No Comments

Fighting terror: NAP implementation slips off govt radar

By Qadeer Tanoli in The Express Tribune, September 11, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Once touted as the cure-all for eliminating terrorism, the National Action Plan (NAP) has been assigned a much lower priority by the government because of diverse factors.

Since the beginning of this year, progress on the NAP was too slow because of the Panama Papers issue. After the change of leadership in the country after the Supreme Court’s verdict, implementation on the action plan further slowed down, defence analysts agreed.

A number of defence analysts told The Express Tribune on Sunday that they did not expect implementation on NAP anytime soon under the present circumstances. They also expressed pessimism regarding progress in this regard in the near future.

NAP was devised in January of 2015 for mounting an intensive crackdown on terrorism in addition to supplementing the ongoing anti-terrorist offensive in tribal areas in northwestern parts of the country.

It was planned as a major coordinated state-owned retaliation after the Peshawar school attack on December 16, 2014.

It contained 20 points some of which were to be initiated by the federal and others by provincial governments while the remaining were to be taken by the security establishment.

Brig (retd) Saeed Nazeer Mohmand said that progress on NAP implementation had slowed down because of a change in government priorities.

He said that the government now had the status of an interim set-up. “It cannot make major policy changes because it will not have enough time for implementation,” he said.

He said that various institutions appeared not to be focussing on implementing NAP, adding that the opposition’s priorities had also changed.

Brig (retd) Mohmand said that in the wake of the new regional policy announced by US President Donald Trump had also played a key role in changing national priorities, adding that other issues also needed to be tackled.

According to him, external threats were more menacing now for the security institutions after the emergence of new regional alliances, BRICS declaration and the new US policy.

Stressing the need for urgent action on NAP, he said that FATA reforms needed to be implemented quickly and NACTA should be made effective.

“There is also an urgent need to reform the judicial system and matters relating to Afghan refugees need to be tackled quickly.”

“A Joint Intelligence Directorate (JID) was supposed to be made operational under NACTA but this still remains to be done. JID was supposed to act as the nerve centre for collating information of various government agencies. NACTA still remains ineffective,” he said.

He said that laws were enacted for effectively controlling hate speech and cyber-crimes.

After the emergence of the Panama Papers issue, implementation of NAP was relegated to cold storage, he said.

Highlighting the importance of balancing external and internal factors, he said it matters a lot now.

“Pakistan needs to address its issues with neighbouring countries, otherwise Pakistan alone cannot cope with new threats.”

Brig (retd) Farooq Hameed said that implementation on NAP was now “a dead horse”.

NAP, he said, was only pursued and monitored effectively until the tenure of General (retd) Raheel Sharif.

But, he said, the issue of Panama Papers gradually took precedence on the government’s priority list.

He said the current PM was basically elected for the 45-day interim period. “The situation may change in parliament if Kulsoom Nawaz is elected as an MNA on the 17th of this month. So, there will be little progress in connection with NAP implementation in the coming days.”

“There will also be no discussion on NAP in the near future as the country will be in election mode next year. It will again be prioritised if, God forbid, a major incident of terrorism occurs in the country,” he said.

According to Brig (retd) Hameed there was an urgent need to implement NAP. “Groups like Ansarul Sharia may not have emerged if NAP was effectively implemented.”

He said that former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had done a “good job in some areas”, but in his absence, NAP had lost steam even on the media.

He said that the situation was far better in the country because of the on-going Operation Radul Fasad.https://tribune.com.pk/story/1502823/fighting-terror-nap-implementation-slips-off-govt-radar/

September 11, 2017   No Comments

Nothing to be gained from standoff with institutions: Nisar

Report in Dawn, September 10th, 2017
KARACHI: The most mercurial member of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet on Saturday stated categorically that no political objectives could be attained through confrontations with the judiciary or the military.

“Better coordination with both the judiciary and military is the only option in the current situation, where conspiracies are being hatched against the country,” Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a private TV channel.

In an interview with Saleem Safi of Geo News — the first part of which was aired on Saturday — the former interior minister said “paani sar ke bohat qareeb hai” (the tide has risen to dangerous levels) when asked if matters had come to a head.

Regarding the Panama Papers controversy, he said he was against the advice of a few people in the party who wanted to adopt a confrontational path.

Conceding that he had differences with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif because of the latter’s policies, he said there were some people in the PML-N who wished for a confrontation with state institutions.

He said his relationship with Mr Sharif dated back to 1985, and that until 2013, nobody knew about any differences between the two. “The majority of my differences [with former PM] were over policies. I felt that I was intentionally kept away from consultations.” He claimed that he had never disclosed his issues with the party or Mr Sharif publicly. “Those who leaked it did so dishonestly.”

“Politics, especially governance, is both an art and a science,” he said, adding that in his time with Nawaz Sharif, he had “always tried to manage things”.

He said he believed that the military had no role in the disqualification of Mr Sharif, and when asked if he could play a role to pacify the situation between state institutions and his party, he stated: “This would not only be better for the party, but for Nawaz Sharif and everyone else.”

Talking about the foreign pressure mounting against Pakistan, he said it was the collective responsibility of every stakeholder to put aside their differences and create a “broad consensus” for a joint and united front against all threats.

Talking about criticism of his remarks about Hakimullah Mehsud’s death in a drone strike, Chaudhry Nisar contradicted his critics, saying that he had merely criticised the US for derailing the dialogue process with the Taliban.

He said Pakistan had taken the US and other “friendly countries” into confidence before initiating talks with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. “It was an incorrect perception that the army was not on board. The army was on board.”

Referring to his house arrest during Nawaz Sharif’s time in exile, he said 24 soldiers surrounded his residence, and dispelled the impression that he received preferential treatment due to his family’s military background and connections. “How do you compensate someone who has lost 2 years of his life?” he asked, recalling how Gen Musharraf and his aides tried to get him to join their government.

He also claimed that the Ayyan Ali case was not handled by the interior ministry, but the finance ministry.

Dawn reached out to several PML-N leaders for their reaction to Chaudhry Nisar’s remarks, but none of those contacted was willing to comment, saying they did not want to get entangled in controversy.https://www.dawn.com/news/1356693/nothing-to-be-gained-from-standoff-with-institutions-nisar

September 10, 2017   No Comments