Monitor on Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan | February 2018

Share:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This monitor is meant to identify key developments during the month on Civil Military Relations in Pakistan with selected high-profile international developments included occasionally.

In this Issue:

  1. Troops to be sent to Saudi Arabia
  2. Judiciary backs Army: Nawaz Sharif
  3. National Security Committee meets twice in February
  4. Defence Minister visits Soldiers
  5. COAS Directs discontinuing use of Watan Cards for Tribals
  6. Continuing Role of COAS in Foreign Affairs
  7. President AJK meets COAS
  8. Corps Commanders’ Conference
  9. Commander V Corps inspects Thar Coal Project
  10. Crackdown on Fake Armed Forces Accounts
  11. Students engaging with the Army
  12. NAB wants name of ex-ISI Chief placed on ECL
  13. Maldives Chief Justice arrested
  14. Army Chiefs changed in KSA and Sudan
  15. Arms Procurement Scandal in Nigeria

Troops to be sent to Saudi Arabia

Macintosh HD:Users:musirah.farrukh:Desktop:BeFunky Collage.jpg From Left to Right: Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa; Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman; Chairman Senate, Senator Raza Rabbani; Minister of Defence, Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan

On February 15, 2018, the Inter-Services Public Relations announced that Pakistan Army contingent is being sent to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) on training and advise mission and that these or troops already there will not be employed outside KSA, adding that the Pakistan Army maintains bilateral security cooperation with many other GCC/regional countries. [1]

The announcement came after the meeting of Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa with Mr. Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). [2] Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff had made a three day visit to KSA and UAE in October 2017 and more recently, in February 2018 where he met with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. [3]

Saudi Arabia has been involved in an active conflict with the Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015 when it first requested Pakistan’s support. However, Pakistan opted to remain neutral in the conflict through a unanimous resolution of the Parliament. [4] The refusal to send troops had resulted in diplomatic stresses in Pakistan’s relationship with KSA and UAE.

Questions were raised in both houses of Pakistan’s Parliament over the ‘Army’s unilateral decision’ to send troops to KSA especially after the 2015 Parliamentary resolution against it as the Federal Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs were asked to give policy statements on the issue. [5]

While speaking in the Senate, Federal Minister of Defence Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, MNA, said that the Prime Minister has approved deputing 1000 additional Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia for training and advisory purposes while Pakistan has an existing number of 1,600 Pakistani troops already on deputation in KSA.   [6]

It is unclear whether the decision of sending additional troops to KSA has been discussed in the National Security Committee.

Judiciary backs Army: Nawaz Sharif

Macintosh HD:Users:musirah.farrukh:Desktop:5a743b8d645de.jpg Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif addressing a Seminar on “The Future of Democracy in Pakistan” in Karachi on February 02, 2018

While addressing a Seminar on ‘The Future of Democracy in Pakistan’ in Karachi on February 02, 2018, former Prime Minister, Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif criticized the Judiciary to be supportive of the Military Rules. He said that ” …whenever democracy has come under attack, some sections of the judiciary – instead of standing with the people, the Constitution and democratic rule – have supported dictators .” He also said that the Judiciary has ” favoured the doctrine of necessity, and certain sections of the judiciary have used such theories to give legitimacy to martial laws .”[7]

Later, on February 19, 2018, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, speaking in the National Assembly called for a final debate in the Parliament on who has the final say in legislation. Political leaders from the opposition welcomed the Prime Minister’s proposal for debate. Mr. Mahmood Khan Achakzai, head of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) alleged interference by the Armed Forces, and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the Senate elections, as well as playing a major role in change of government in Balochistan. He said, ” I appeal to the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the Army Chief. If you are loyal to the oath you have taken, then stop interfering into politics .” [8]

National Security Committee meets twice in February

In a welcome development, two meetings of the National Security Committee (NSC) were held during the month on February 02 and February 19, 2018.

The crucial National Security Committee which has been established in Pakistan with the National Security Division as its Secretariat for the first time in 2013, had seen dormancy as it only met 10 times under former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in nearly 4 years and maintained a poor average of 2.5 meetings per year. Prime Minister Abbasi is maintaining an average of monthly meetings of NSC as the committee is now meeting more regularly.

While the meeting held on February 2 reportedly discussed the measures taken by Provincial Governments towards fulfilling the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in addition to regional relations, [9] the NSC meeting held on February 27, 2018, discussed Foreign Minister’s trip to Russia as well as other issues.[10]

Chaired by Prime Minister Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the NSC meetings were joined by the members including Federal Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Advisors to the Prime Minister on Finance and National Security, Chairman JCSC and Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Defence Minister visits Soldiers

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:51:_c1668z143x7w77rpjv5xb9m0000gq:T:TemporaryItems:image_resize.jpg Minister of Defence, Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan meeting an injured soldier at CMH Peshawar

On February 06, Minister of Defence, Mr. Khurram Dastagir Khan, MNA, visited injured soldiers at CMH Peshawar. He also visited the home of Shaheed Captain Jazib Rehman in Kohat. [11]

COAS Directs discontinuing use of Watan Cards for Tribals

On February 15, 2018, the ISPR announced that the ” COAS directs for facilitation to Tribal brethren in FATA. Watan Cards earlier issued as ID document for payment of compensation to TDPs no more required. Henceforth CNIC will be taken as ID document .”[12]  

This has perhaps meant that temporary displaced persons (TDPs) of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are allowed by the COAS to use computerised national identity cards (CNICs) as the documents of identifications for payments of compensation instead of Watan Cards. It must be noted that the Watan Cards system, developed by NADRA in supporting the Government of Pakistan, has been used to provide financial assistance to TDPs as well as facilitate rehabilitation of people affected by natural calamities.

Earlier, journalists from South Waziristan visited the ISPR and urged to end Watan Card system, and to allow tribal people to use CNICs instead. In a meeting with DG ISPR, who briefed them about the on-ground situation and military’s de-mining efforts, [13] the visiting journalists also raised various concerns including over the ‘extra-judicial murder’ of Naqeebullah Mahsud, failure in arrest of Senior Superintendent of Police Rao Answar, as well as arrest of local tribesman after a blast by factions opposing government. DG ISPR had reportedly assured the journalists to forward their demands to the COAS.

Continuing Role of COAS in Foreign Affairs

The COAS continues to play an active role in the diplomatic domain. Following is an account of his diplomatic interactions during February 2018:

  1. Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan, H. E. Mr. Mehdi Honardoost, called on the COAS at the GHQ on February 12, reportedly to discuss Pakistan-Iran border management and matters of mutual interest. [14]
  2. On February 12, the newly appointed Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Mr. Ishan MustafaYurdakul, called on the COAS to discuss matters concerning regional security.[15]
  3. Ambassador of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan met with the COAS at the GHQ on February 15, and discussed issues of bilateral relations including defence and training cooperation. [16]

President AJK meets COAS

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K) Mr. Masood Khan, met with the COAS at the GHQ on February 23. The ISPR reported that the two discussed matters of mutual interest, specifically, the situation on Line of Control (LOC). Both were in agreement over the continuation of policy of restraint on Indian provocations, fearing Kashmiri suffering to increase if tensions escalate. [17]

Corps Commanders’ Conference

A Corps Commanders’ Conference held at the GHQ on February 07, 2018, geo-strategic and security environment was reviewed especially in the context of US security policy, as well as operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, and Indian Cease Fire Violations. [18]

Commander V Corps inspects Thar Coal Project

Commander V Corps, Lt. Gen. Shahid Baig Mirza, visited the Thar Coal Project and inspected mining operations at Pakistan’s first open-pit coal mine, under-construction power plant and community development projects, on February 11, 2018. This was shared through a press release by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC). He praised the efforts of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), and termed the project to be a game changer in the energy sector. The Commander said that the “Pakistan Army and its subordinate forces will not allow a scratch on CPEC projects in Sindh.” [19]

Crackdown on Fake Armed Forces Accounts

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has reportedly handed over a list of 250 fake accounts using the names of Pakistan’s Armed Forced to the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) for a crackdown. Reportedly, these accounts are operated by unauthorized individuals, who create false news about the Pakistan Army, and have started getting a lot of attention on social media forums. The FIA has forwarded the case to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).[20]

Students engaging with the Army

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:51:_c1668z143x7w77rpjv5xb9m0000gq:T:TemporaryItems:image_resize.jpg
Image of young girls handling sophisticated weaponry on a field trip to Multan Garrison, as released by ISPR on February 16, 2018

On February 15, 2018, 500 students and faculty members from educational institutions in Multan visited Multan Garrison, where they ‘spent a day with the Army.’ The event was meant to make students aware of the functioning of the Pakistan Army, as well as its capabilities. Students were also allowed to fire small arms, and witnessed a weapons and equipment display.[21]

On February 22, 2018, another group of students and faculty members from different educational institutes spent a day with the Army at Panu Aqil Garrison, where they witnessed a similar display of arms and ammunition and capabilities of the Pakistan Army. Major General Zafar Ullah Khan, General officer commanding (GOC) 16 Division also interacted with the students. [22]

There is no information available about the age group of these young students; however, pictures released by ISPR show rather young girls with very large guns. Where the press releases note that the purpose of these excursions is to raise awareness about the Pakistan Army, the nature and need of the awareness is unknown. What seems to be problematic is the blatant display in front of and use of fire-arms by small children. Children have impressionable minds and exposing them to laudatory use of weaponry may cause them to turn to violence.

NAB wants name of ex-ISI Chief placed on ECL

National Accountability Bureau, through a notification, has accused former Minister of Railways under General Musharraf, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Javed Ashraf, of conniving with others to illegally award contract/lease of 140 acres land of Railways Golf Club, Lahore that has caused huge loss of Rs2.16bn [approximately] to the national exchequer. NAB has recommended to the Government to put Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Javed Ashraf Qazi on Exit Control List, along with others. [23]

Apart from the Minister, other army officers named by NAB spokesman include, Former Chairman Railways Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Saeed-uz-Zafar, Former General Manager Railways, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Hamid Hassan Butt, Former Member Railways, Brig. (Retd.) Akhtar Ali Baig. However, these names are not included in the NAB notification for Exit Control List. [24]

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Javed Ashraf has also served as ISI DG while Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Saeed-uz-Zafar has served as Peshawar Corps Commander. In 2012, NAB had summoned the military officers to record their statements, but the Generals were not convicted. [25]

In 2009, the Public Accounts Committee was about to take action against the former Generals involved in a Rs. 4 billion scam in the National Logistics Cell (NLC), however, the then COAS Gen. Ashfaq Kayani decided to proceed against the accused under the Pakistan Army Act instead of through a Civil Court or NAB. It was only in 2015 that the ISPR announced some form of conclusion of the NLC scam. [26]

International News

Maldives Chief Justice arrested

On February 06, the Maldives Military troops arrested Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another Supreme Court judge, at the behest of the President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen, who declared emergency in the Island nation, saying, “I had to declare a national emergency because there was no other way to investigate these judges.” [27]

The Supreme Court judges had ordered the release of political dissidents, in the face of escalating arrests of opponents of President Yameen.

Army Chiefs changed in KSA and Sudan

On February 27, King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, fired Saudi Arabia’s Chief of Army Staff, and the heads of ground and air defence forces, by an overnight decree. [28] First Lieutenant General Fayyad bin Hamed al-Ruwayli was appointed the new chief of staff. The move appears to be part of the recent reshuffle in key State portfolios in KSA.

In a similar fashion, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir also replaced the Army Chief on the same day, February 27, 2018, in a further shake-up of the security establishment. Earlier in February, the Sudanese President had replaced the head of National Intelligence and Security Service, reinstating Salah Abdullah Mohamed Saleh. [29] Sudanese Army Spokesman also announced a series of senior appointments in the armed forces, saying that the changes were routine.

Arms Procurement Scandal in Nigeria

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:51:_c1668z143x7w77rpjv5xb9m0000gq:T:TemporaryItems:COAS-Lt.-Gen-Azubuike-Ihejirika1.jpg Nigerian ex-Army Chief, Retired Lieutenant-General Ihejirika

On February 21, 2018, Nigerian ex-Army Chief, Retired Lieutenant-General Ihejirika was hauled by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to answer questions about the role he played in the US $ 2.1 billion arms procurement scandal. The General was one of 18 retired army officials being investigated by a committee set up by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on assumption of office. [30] The General was released on administrative bail after the preliminary interrogations. [31]



References

[1] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 15, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4565&cat=army#pr_link4566

[2] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 15, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4565&cat=army#pr_link4566

[3] Gen Bajwa holds talks with Saudi crown prince, THE NATION, February 02, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://nation.com.pk/02-Feb-2018/gen-bajwa-holds-talks-with-saudi-crown-prince

[4] Parliament decides to remain neutral in Saudi-led Yemen war, THE NATION, April 10, 2015, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://tribune.com.pk/story/867500/resolution-expected-on-yemen-crisis-as-joint-session-of-parliament-resumes/

[5] For details, please see NA, Senate chide govt over troops for Saudi Arabia , Dawn, February 17, 2018:
https://www.dawn.com/news/1389964

[6] Sparks in Senate as govt refuses details on troops to KSA, THE NATION, February 20, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://nation.com.pk/20-Feb-2018/sparks-in-senate-as-govt-refuses-details-on-troops-to-ksa

[7] ‘Future of Pakistan’s democracy uncertain,’ Nawaz says, DAWN, February 02, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1386844

[8] PM takes PML-N row with judiciary to parliament, DAWN, February 20, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1390490

[9] Prime Minister Office, Official Website, February 02, 2018, as accessed on March 08, 2018
http://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=2193

[10] Prime Minister Office, Official Website, February 27, 2018, as accessed on March 05, 2018 at
http://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=2213

[11] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 06, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4541&cat=army

[12] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 15, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4565&cat=army#pr_link4566

[13] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 04, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&cat=army&date=2018/2/4

[14] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 12, 2018, as accessed on March 05, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=tpress_release&id=4555&cat=army

[15] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 12, 2018, as accessed on March 05, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=tpress_release&id=4555&cat=army

[16] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 15, 2018, as accessed on March 05, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=tpress_release&id=4565&cat=army#pr_link4566

[17] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 23, 2018, as accessed on March 05, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=tpress_release&id=4586&cat=army

[18] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 07, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4544&cat=army

[19] Corps Commander inspects Thar Coal Project, DAWN, February 13, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1389004/corps-commander-reaffirms-protection-for-cpec-projects

[20] Crackdown on fake armed forces social media accounts, THE NEWS, February 16, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/281609-crackdown-on-fake-armed-forces-social-media-accounts

[21] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 16, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4568&cat=army

[22] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, February 22, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4568&cat=army

[23] NAB wants name of ex-ISI chief placed on ECL, DAWN, February 25, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1391550

[24] NAB wants name of ex-ISI chief placed on ECL, DAWN, February 16, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/281609-crackdown-on-fake-armed-forces-social-media-accounts

[25] NAB wants name of ex-ISI chief placed on ECL, DAWN, February 16, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/281609-crackdown-on-fake-armed-forces-social-media-accounts

[26] For details, please see Convictions in the National Logistics Cell (NLC) Scam, PILDAT Monitor on Civil Military Relations, August 2015:
https://www.pildat.org/Publications/publication/CMR/MonitoronCivil-MilitaryRelationsinPakistan_Aug2015.pdf

[27] Maldives’ top judge arrested as state of emergency declared, THE NEWS, February 07, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/277822-maldives-top-judge-arrested-as-state-of-emergency-declared

[28] Saudi Arabia fires top army chiefs in military shake-up, AL JAZEERA, February 27, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/saudi-arabia-fires-top-army-chiefs-military-shake-180227054218368.html

[29] Sudan replaces army chief in security reshuffle, REUTERS, February 27, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
https://www.reuters.com/article/sudan-army/sudan-replaces-army-chief-in-security-reshuffle-idUSL8N1QH4V0

[30] Arms Procurement Scandal: Why Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Is After Former Chief of Army Staff Ihejirika, SAHARA REPORTERS, February 22, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at
http://saharareporters.com/2018/02/22/arms-procurement-scandal-why-economic-and-financial-crimes-commission-after-former-chief

[31] Dasukigate: EFCC grills Nigeria’s former Army Chief Ihejirika, NAIRALAND FORUM, February 21, 2018, as accessed on March 02, 2018, at http://www.nairaland.com/4361526/dasukigate-efcc-grills-ihejirika

Share: