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> Monitor on Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan | December 2016
   
 
CMR Monitor
January 20, 2017
Islamabad

   

 

New Army Chief Takes over the Reigns of Pakistan Army

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COAS Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa receiving a briefing at the Corp V Headquarter in Karachi on December 14, 2016

A new COAS has taken over the command of Pakistan Army. While he has shown proactive approach expected of the office of the COAS in visiting various forward positions and Corps Headquarters in the month, the most important public messages delivered have been with the COAS stating that ‘we will continue to move ahead the gains made so far [in Operation Zarb-e-Azb]’ as well as in Karachi.1 The COAS also vowed to ensure ‘foolproof security for CPEC.’

The flurry of visits and public statements is also accompanied by a flurry of postings and transfers, which has seen the face of the Military high command being altered, with new Chief of General Staff, DG ISI, and DG ISPR in place.

PILDAT believes the most critical task facing the new Army Chief is of wrapping up the Operation Zarb-e-Azb by achieving the targets that were set. Although the return of Temporarily Displaced People was to be finished by December 2016, there seems to be no end in sight in this regard.2 

COAS Interactions with Foreign Dignitaries

The trend of COAS meeting foreign dignitaries, apparently without ambassadorial representation is continuing under the new COAS who held the following interactions during December 2016:

  1. On December 15, 2016, Mr. David Hale, the United States of America’s Ambassador to Pakistan visited GHQ and called on the COAS.3
  2. In addition, the COAS also undertook his first official foreign visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from January 17-19, 2017, where he called upon the King of Saudi Arabia and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, the Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister, His Royal Highness Muhammad bin Salma.

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COAS calling upon the King of Saudi Arabia and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud on December 18, 2017

'Role' of outgoing COAS in Treason Trial of Gen. (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf

In the developing saga of Gen. (Retd.) Raheel Sharif allegedly protecting Gen. (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf from his treason trial, the former Military-dictator-turned-President decided to step into the fray himself in December 2016.

During an interview to Dunya TV’s Mr. Kamran Shahid on December 19, 2016, he stated that ‘He [Gen. (Retd.) Raheel Sharif] did help me and I am grateful… he helped me out because the cases are politically motivated. They [the PML-N Federal Government] put me on the ECL; they turned it into a political issue’. He went on to say that the Gen. (Retd.) Raheel Sharif had ‘a role to play in releasing the pressure behind the scenesOnce he [Gen. (Retd.) Raheel Sharif] got the Government to relieve the pressure that they were exerting, the courts gave their judgment and allowed me to go abroad for treatment’.

He also went on the say that ‘unfortunately, one has to say it, but shouldn’t have to… our judiciary works under pressure behind the scenes and then gives rulings’.

Gen. (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf’s controversial statements were quick to draw a rebuttal from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who during a hearing on the Ayyan Ali case on December 22, 2016 stated that ‘let it be known to everybody that the judiciary never decides cases under pressure, but in accordance with its conscience’.4

Interestingly, however, the presser issued by the Government did not deny the statements made by the former President regarding Gen. (Retd.) Raheel Sharif’s involvement, and instead took an exception to his statement about the sources of his differences with the PML-N led Government, which eventually led to the coup of 1999.5 As we noted in our November 2016 issue, it was in fact Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Abdul Qadir Baloch, MNA, who had first indicated during a television programme, that saving Gen. (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf ‘had the signatures’ of Gen. (Retd.) Raheel Sharif.6

Premier-COAS Interactions

The Prime Minister and the COAS met once during December 2016 on December 05, 2016 when Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa called on the Prime Minister to ‘discuss professional issues related to national security’.

This was a one-on-one meeting without the presence of the Federal Minister for Defence.

 

References:

1. For details, please see:
http://www.dawn.com/news/1302425/no-going-back-on-karachi-operation-says-coas

2. For details, please see the press release issued by the ISPR, which may be accessed at:
http://www.dawn.com/news/1299781/coas-briefed-on-fata-kp-security

3. For details, please see the press release issued by the ISPR, which may be accessed at:
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=3637

4. For details, please see:
http://www.dawn.com/news/1303997/musharrafs-remarks-on-armys-pressure-echo-in-sc

5. For details, please see the press release issued by the Prime Minister Office on December 20, 2016, which may be accessed at:
http://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=1628

6. The transcript of the relevant portions of the interview, conducted on November 27, 2016 on Geo Television, is reproduced below, along with its English translation:

Mr. Saleem Safi: General Pervez Musharraf kay khilaf karawayee par toh General Raheel Sharif bhi naraz thay na?

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Abdul Qadir Baloch: Jee, main itna kahoon ga kay General Pervez Musharraf jitna arsa hospital main rahay, bhaghair kissi wajah kay, aur jitna arsa Karachi main rahay, beghair adalaton main jayay, mairay khayal main ap keh saktay hain institution ka us kay liay kuch tha; there was something.

Mr. Saleem Safi: Nahin yeh hakoomat ko unki taraf say nahin convey kia gaya tha kay General Pervez Musharraf kay saath yeh kuch na karain?

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Abdul Qadir Baloch: Main ap ko eemandari say batana chahta hoon Saleem Bhai keh joh political government hai Mian Sahib ki, main uskay bohat inner circle ka admi nahin hoon. Mujh say aisi koi cheez share nahin ki gayi thi.

Mr. Saleem Safi: Laikin iss baat main toh koi do rayay nahin ho sakti na kay General Pervez Musharraf ko bachaya Raheel Sharif Sahib nay?

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Abdul Qadir Baloch: Haan bilkul signatures hain uskay. Main clarify kar doon keh political government ko ghari jamhoori tareeqay say change karnay kay sazishon main general Raheel Sharif involved nahin thay. Jahaan tak functioning ka taaluq hai meray liay bara mushkil ho gay eh justify kar laina kay bilkul 100% aik page pay civil-military government aik page pay thay.

Translation

Mr. Saleem Safi: Was not Gen. (Retd.) Raheel Sharif also angry at the action taken against Gen. (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf?

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Abdul Qadir Baloch: I will only say that the fact Gen. (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf stayed in the hospital for such a long time, without any reason, and then also stayed in Karachi for such a long time, without going to court, I believe that you can say that institution was involved to some extent; there was something.

Mr. Saleem Safi: But was the Government not conveyed that it should not initiate action against Gen. (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf?

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Abdul Qadir Baloch: Let me be honest that I am not amongst the inner circle of Mian Sahib’s political Government. Nothing of the sort was shared with me.

Mr. Saleem Safi: But there can be no two ways about the fact that Raheel Sharif Sahib saved General Pervez Musharraf?

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Abdul Qadir Baloch: Yes, definitely it had his signatures. Let me clarify that Gen. (Retd.) Raheel Sharif was not part of any conspiracy to remove the elected Government through undemocratic means. As far as functioning is concerned, it will be very hard for me to justify that the civil-military leadership were on the same page.

The complete interview can be see at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJokqIrueDY