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> The Dialogue on Civil Military Relations advises the President against combining the office of the President of Pakistan with the Chief of Army Staff
   
 

July 08, 2006
Islamabad

   

The sixth sitting of the Dialogue on Civil-Military Relations was held on July 8, 2006 at Islamabad. The focus of the dialogue in the 6th sitting was consideration and finalization of the draft letter addressed to the President / COAS General Pervez Musharraf on the state of civil-military relations in the country, specifically in the light of developments in the state of civil-military relations in the country in the past few months.

 
 

The Dialogue Group, comprising 18 prominent personalities from diverse professional backgrounds, most of whom have held high public office and some of whom represent political parties with divergent views, jointly addressed a letter to the President of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Heads of political parties in Parliament urging all leaders to conduct a dialogue for peace and conciliation. This is probably the first time in the country's history that a group of such diversity including civil and senior former military officers has agreed upon the need to pursue a peaceful and orderly disengagement of the military from the political process.

 
 

The Group, after conducting a series of extensive discussions for over one and half year, unanimously agreed to seek the urgent attention of the heads of the highest public offices as also the heads of political parties through the letter to help reduce the growing political polarization and to desist from taking extremist, inflexible positions. Listing 6 major issues facing the nation, the letter included advising against combining the office of the President of Pakistan with the Chief of Army Staff because it politicizes the Constitutional office of the Presidency and the institution of the Armed Forces. At the same time, the letter urged restraint and moderation upon all leaders in order to initiate and conduct a sustained dialogue which alone can ensure a peaceful, orderly transition to complete and authentic democracy.

 
 

July 8, 2006

 

1.         President

Islamic Republic of Pakistan

2.         Prime Minister

Islamic Republic of Pakistan

3.         Leaders of political parties represented in Parliament (as per the attached list)

 

Assalam-alaikum.

 

  1. We, the undersigned, in our individual capacities have engaged ourselves for over a year under the auspices of a civil society forum in an on-going dialogue on a number of major issues facing Pakistan, particularly with regard to the strengthening of democratic processes and institutions, and on the need for the military’s disengagement from political power.
  2. Due to a variety of factors, the state and society of Pakistan today face serious challenges to internal cohesion and stability. Despite the existence of elected legislatures and the prospects of the next elections, there is a deficit of trust and credibility that marks virtually all political relationships. Increasing polarisation reflects the dangerous forces of exclusion and dominance.

 

  1. Pre-occupied though the people may be by critical issues as also by their day-to-day struggle with the quality of life, the whole nation deeply desires that conciliation, which is a collective and shared responsibility, rather than confrontation, be the way forward. The onus is on the leadership of all institutions and organisations, specially the elected representatives of the people and those who hold public office.

 

4    The critical issues that require to be urgently addressed through a process of dialogue, conciliation and cooperation are as follows:

 

a.                  The elections scheduled for 2007 will not be credible without neutral and impartial care-taker governments, both at the Centre and in the Provinces.

b.                  Genuine empowerment of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commission of Pakistan is essential for transparent elections which are not only held in fact and practice, but are also perceived by the people to be free, fair and transparent.  For this purpose, it is necessary for the District Administrations to be placed under the effective control of the Chief Election Commissioner during the 2007 elections.

c.                   Besides being a constitutional office, the office of President of Pakistan is also a political office. Combining the Presidency with the office of Chief of Army Staff politicizes the latter post as well as the Army.

d.                  Democracy can only be authentic when there is real separation of powers and when all institutions of the State abide by the roles assigned to them by the constitution.

e.                   True Federalism will only be possible through political, financial and administrative decentralization of the state.

f.                    all the political parties of the country also have a major responsibility to learn from their past mistakes and commit themselves to strengthening democratic institutions and traditions so as to ensure the rule of law and good governance at all levels. To achieve these paramount objectives, the political parties must exercise restraint and respond positively to any offer of dialogue to make free and fair elections possible.

 

5. A sustained dialogue between the leaderships of principal institutions and organisations is the vital pre-requisite to ensure a peaceful, orderly transition to complete and authentic democracy.

 

6. We appeal to all to refrain from taking extremist positions and from making threats and charges against each other. At this time in Pakistan’s history, the nation deserves great vision and largeness of heart to secure a better, more just and harmonious future for all.

 

Thank you for your attention.

 

With our best wishes

(Signed)

Lt. Gen. Retd. Abdul Qadir

(Former Governor, Baluchistan province) 

(Signed)

Lt. General (Retd.) Asad Durrani

(Former Director General, Inter-Services Intelligence – ISI)

(Signed)

Javed Jabbar

(Former Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting)

(Signed)

Prof. Dr. Hasan-Askari Rizvi

Defence & Political Analyst / Former Chairman Political Science Department, Punjab University, Lahore)

(Signed)

Dr. Khalida Ghous

(Signed)

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Moinuddin Haider

(Former Governor Sindh Province & Former Federal Minister of Interior)

(Signed)

Mujib-ur-Rehman Shami

(Editor/Publisher Daily Pakistan, Former President Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors – CPNE)

(Signed)

Senator S. M. Zafar

(Former Federal Minister of Law)

(Signed)

Sartaj Aziz

(Former Foreign Minister / Former Minister of Finance)

(Signed)

Brig (Retd) Shaukat Qadir

(Former Vice President Islamabad Policy Research Institute – IPRI)

(Signed)

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, MNA

(Former Federal Minister)

(Signed)

Lt. Gen. (Retd) Talat Masood

(Former Federal Secretary, Defence & Security Analyst)

(Signed)

Lt. Gen. (R) S. Tanwir H. Naqvi,

(Former Chairman, National Reconstruction Bureaue – NRB)

(Signed)

Shafqat Mahmood

(Former Senator & Former Federal Minister)

(Signed)

Dr. Parvez Hassan

(Signed)

Shahid Hamid

(Former Governor, Punjab Province)

(Signed)

Lt. Gen (Retd.) Hameed Gul

(Former Director General, Inter-Services Intelligence – ISI)

(Signed)

Ahmed Bilal Mehboob

 

 

List of the Leaders of the Political Parties (arranged alphabetically)

who are the addressees of this letter besides the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan

 

  1. Abdul Hayee Baloch (Dr.), President, National Party (NP)

  2. Altaf Hussain (Mr.), Quaid, Muttehidda Qaumi Movement (MQM)

  3. Asfandyar Wali Khan (Mr.), President, Awami National Party (ANP)

  4. Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain, President, Pakistan Muslim League (PML)

  5. Imran Khan (Mr.), Chairman, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf

  6. Mahmood Khan Achakzai (Mr.), President, Pakistan Pashtun Khwah Milli Awami Party (PPKMAP)

  7. Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Chairman, Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian (PPPP)

  8. Maulana Fazal ur Rehman, Amir, Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (JUI); Secretary General, Muttehidda Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan

  9. Mir Israr ullah Zehri (Senator), President, Baluchistan National Party – Awami (BNP-A)

  10. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, President Jamhoori Watan Party

  11. Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Amir, Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan; President Muttehidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Pakistan

  12. Rao Sikandar Iqbal, Chairman, Pakistan Peoples Party (Patriots & Sherpao Group)

  13. Sardar Akhtar Mengal, President Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M)

  14. Shahbaz Sharif (Mr.), President Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) – PML (N)

  15. Syed Mardan Ali Shah Pir Sahib Pagara, President, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F)

Copies to;

 

  1. Benazir Bhutto (Mohtarima), Chairperson, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)

  2. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (Mr.), Quaid, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N)