Monitor on Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan |January 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. Meeting of the National Security Committee
  2. Continuing Role of COAS in Foreign Affairs
  3. Defence Minister Visits Corps Headquarters
  4. PM and COAS visited Special Services Group Headquarters
  5. PM Abbasi at Graduation Ceremony in NDU
  6. Karachi Business Community hails Pakistan Army’s efforts
  7. COAS met International Hockey Players
  8. Zainab Murder Case
  9. Foreign Services Delegation briefed by Corps Headquarters Peshawar
  10. PM-COAS Interactions
  11. Thailand charges activists as public frustration at Junta grows
Meeting of the National Security Committee

Macintosh HD:Users:musirah.farrukh:Desktop:5a4c00d3619b0.jpg
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chairing a meeting of the National Security Committee on January 02, 2018

A meeting of the National Security Committee was called after U.S. President Donald Trump issued a tweet saying, ” The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more! [1]

The committee decided not to act in haste in response to the tweet in order to maintain peace and stability in the international community. The committee reviewed the emerging strategic regional situation, and reiterated that Pakistan was capable of defending itself. [2]

The meeting was attended by Members of the NSC including the Federal Ministers of Interior, Defence and Foreign Affairs; Chairman JCSC and Service Chiefs. National Security Advisor to Prime Minister and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US were also part of the meeting.

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 January 2018:

  1. Call from U.S. to discuss Pak-US Security Cooperation

    According to ISPR, the Chief of Army Staff received two telephonic calls on January 12, 2018, from Commander US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Joseph L. Votel, and a US Senator (who was not named). General Votel said that U.S. values Pakistan’s contributions in the War on Terror (WOT) and he saw the on-going turbulence as a temporary phase. The General also conveyed to the COAS, that the ‘U.S. is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan but is seeking cooperation to tackle Afghan nationals who, in U.S. view, use Pakistan’s soil against Afghanistan. This view, he felt, was undermining in Washington, Pakistan’s contributions in war against terrorism.’[4]

  2. Japanese Foreign Minister meets the COAS

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:51:_c1668z143x7w77rpjv5xb9m0000gq:T:TemporaryItems:image_resize.jpg

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:51:_c1668z143x7w77rpjv5xb9m0000gq:T:TemporaryItems:422041_43538914.jpg
Top: Japanese Foreign Minister and his delegation meeting the Chief of Army Staff
Bottom: Japanese Foreign Minister and his delegation meeting the Prime Minister of Pakistan, with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif and other representatives of the Foreign Office in attendance

Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr. Taro Kono, came to Pakistan on a two-day visit, from January 3-4, 2018. [5] The Foreign Minister called on the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), as reported by Inter-Services Press Release (ISPR) on January 4, 2018. The Foreign Minister was given a guard of honour and laid floral wreath at the Shuhada monument. The Foreign Minister appreciated Pakistan’s contributions, and said that Japan looks forward to enhance security cooperation in counter terrorism with Pakistan. The Foreign Minister also promised ‘Japanese assistance for rehabilitation of TDPs and provision of scanning equipment for border crossing points.’[6]

The Foreign Minister also met with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi separately on January 04, 2018, where a delegation of the Foreign Office, including Foreign Minister Mr. Khawaja Asif was also present. [7]

  1. Chinese Ambassador called on Chairman JCS

    H.E. Mr. Yao Jing, Ambassador of China, met with Chairman JCS Committee at the Joint Staff Headquarters, to discuss matters related to changing geostrategic environment.[8]

  2. German Ambassador called on COAS

    Mr. Martin Kobler, German Ambassador to Pakistan, called on the COAS at the GHQ on January 09, 2018, to discuss matters of ‘mutual interest including regional peace and stability.’ [9]

  3. COAS holds talks with Saudi Crown Prince

    The COAS made a trip to Saudi Arabia to meet the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on February 02, 2018. According to Dawn, this is the COAS’ second trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the past two months. General Bajwa stressed the importance of mutual ties with Saudi Arabia. Matters of mutual interest were discussed. Saudi Vice President of the Council of Ministers also joined the meeting. [10]

    The COAS also discussed military ties between the two nations with Saudi Commander of Ground Forces Lieutenant General Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz.

    The trip was not reported by the ISPR.

Defence Minister Visits Corps Headquarters

Federal Minister of Defence, Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, MNA, visited Corps Headquarters of Peshawar and Khyber Agency on January 10, 2018, where he was ‘briefed about security situation, ongoing operations, border security management, TDP return and development projects.’ While meeting the troops, the Minister lauded their ‘operational preparedness, combat readiness and high morale.’ Earlier he also met the Commander Peshawar Corps, and laid floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada. [11]

PM and COAS visited Special Services Group Headquarters

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:51:_c1668z143x7w77rpjv5xb9m0000gq:T:TemporaryItems:10019.jpg
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, with the Chief of Army Staff, at the Special Service Group (SSG) Headquarters in Cherat on January 11, 2018

Both the Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff visited the Special Service Group (SSG) Headquarters at Cherat on January 11, 2018, where the Prime Minister was briefed about SSG organization, capabilities and performance. The Special Service Group also demonstrated their skills and operational capabilities. According to ISPR, the PM also fire tested some of the weapons used by the SSG. The PM lauded the SSG for their ongoing efforts against terrorism, and paid a rich tribute to the Martyrs of SSG. [12]

Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir, Commander Peshawar Corps and other senior Army officers were also present on occasion. [13]

PM Abbasi at Graduation Ceremony in NDU

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:51:_c1668z143x7w77rpjv5xb9m0000gq:T:TemporaryItems:image_resize.jpg
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi with graduates of National Security Course 2018, at National Defence University on January 12, 2018

A graduation ceremony for National Security Course 2018 was held at the National Defence University on January 12, 2018, where Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was invited as the Chief Guest. Selected participants attended the course from the Civil Services for Pakistan, along with officers of the Armed Forces. According to ISPR, ‘the main focus of course was to enable the participants to comprehend interplay of all elements of national power in the construct of ‘Comprehensive National Security.’ [14]

Federal Ministers for Defence, Interior, National Security Advisor, Chairman JCS Committee, Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff were also present on the occasion.

Karachi Business Community hails Pakistan Army’s efforts

Officials of Entrepreneurs’ Organization in Karachi met Corps Commander Karachi, Lt. General Shahid Baig Mirza, and lauded efforts of the Pakistan Army to improve security situation in Karachi on January 13, 2018. [15]

COAS met International Hockey Players

The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) invited Hockey World XI and hall of famers to Pakistan in order to revive hockey in Pakistan. The players met the COAS on January 23, 2018, who praised PHF for bringing the international players to Pakistan, and promised Pakistan Army’s support in provision of security for international hockey matches. PHR President, Brigadier Khalid Sajjad Khokar (Retd.) thanked the COAS for his keen interest in the sport and his effort to revive international games in Pakistan.[16]

Zainab Murder Case

On January 10, 2018, father of Zainab, the 7-year-old raped and murdered in Kasur, pleaded to the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the Chief of Army Staff to provide justice to him and his wife. [17] Responding to his plea, a tweet was issued by Director General (DG) ISPR saying, “COAS condemns cold blooded murder of innocent Zainab. Responding to appeal by the aggrieved parents to COAS, directs immediate all out support to civil administration to arrest the criminals and bringing them to exemplary justice.”[18]

Foreign Services Delegation briefed by Corps Headquarters Peshawar

A 24-member delegation of the Foreign Office consisting of Attaches and Advisors visited the Corps Headquarters Peshawar on January 25, 2018, where the delegation was briefed on the ‘prevailing security environment in KP/FATA,’ development activities undertaken by the Pakistan Army in FATA to improve the lives of the tribal people. The delegation was also briefed about the achievements of operation Khyber-4 and ongoing fencing along Pak-Afghan border.[19]

PM-COAS Interactions

Prime Minister Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abassi and the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met twice during the month of January 2018:

  1. On January 03, 2018, the Prime Minister met the COAS in the 17th National Security Committee meeting. [20]
  2. On January 11, 2018, the Prime Minister visited the Special Services Group Headquarters with the Chief of Army Staff, at Cherat. Defence Minister, Commander Peshawar Corps and other senior Army officers were also present during the visit. [21]

International Developments

Thailand charges activists as public frustration at Junta grows

Since 2014, when the Thai Junta took over imposing military rule, demonstrations have been banned in Thailand. The People Go Network made a call for a march on January 20, 2018, in order to display discontent with the government. “We think in the past three years, the junta hasn’t been genuine and hasn’t listened to the people. So, we march with our friends, with the civil liberties we have,” said the group’s coordinator, Supaporn Malailoy reported Reuters. The march drew out groups concerned about healthcare, alternative farming, natural resources, and freedom of expression, as well as democracy activists. [22]

Eight activists were charged on January 31, 2018, with violating the military government’s ban on public gatherings. The action was condemned by 52 civil rights groups. International Commission of Jurists says, that the ‘ban on public gatherings was inconsistent with Thailand’s international human rights obligations.’ [23]

According to Reuters, the United Nations have also expressed concern over harsh sentencing for those convicted for violating lese-majeste law, and other curbs on freedom of expression. [24]


References

[1] President Donald J. Tump, Official Twitter Account, January 01, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/947802588174577664

[2] Civil-military brass won’t ‘react in haste’ to Trump tweet, DAWN, January 03, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018, at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1380454/civil-military-brass-wont-react-in-haste-to-trump-tweet

[4] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 12, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4501&cat=army

[5] Embassy of Japan in Pakistan, Official Website, December 27, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
http://www.pk.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_ja/pr_fm.html

[6] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 04, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&cat=army&date=2018/1/4

[7] Japanese FM meets PM, appreciates Pakistan’s sacrifices in war on terror, DUNYA NEWS, January 04, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018, at
http://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/422041-Japanese-FM-Taro-Kono-PM-Abbasi-Japan-Pakistan-Islamabad-meeting

[8] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 05, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4487&cat=army

[9] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 09, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4495&cat=army

[10] Army chief, Prince Salman hold meeting in Riyadh, DAWN, February 02, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018, at
https://www.dawn.com/news/1386838

[11] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 10, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4496&cat=army

[12] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 11, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4497&cat=army

[13] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 11, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4497&cat=army

[14] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 12, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4501&cat=army

[15] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 13, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4504&cat=army

[16] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 23, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4521&cat=army

[17] My Zainab is no more, all I want is justice: mother, GEO TV NEWS, January 10, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018, at
https://www.geo.tv/latest/176216-father-says-will-not-bury-zainab-until-killer-is-caught

[18] Kasur: Army chief condemns Zainab’s murder; offers help for arrest of culprits, SAMA TV NEWS, January 10, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018, at

Kasur: Army chief condemns Zainab’s murder; offers help for arrest of culprits

[19] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 25, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4529&cat=army

[20] Prime Minister Office, Official Website, January 03, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
http://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=1634

[21] ISPR Press Release, Official Website, January 11, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018 at
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=4497&cat=army

[22] Thailand charges eight activists as public frustration at junta grows, REUTERS, January 31, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018, at
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-politics/thailand-charges-eight-activists-as-public-frustration-at-junta-grows-idUSKBN1FK161

[23] Thailand charges eight activists as public frustration at junta grows, REUTERS, January 31, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018, at
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-politics/thailand-charges-eight-activists-as-public-frustration-at-junta-grows-idUSKBN1FK161

[24] Thailand charges eight activists as public frustration at junta grows, REUTERS, January 31, 2018, as accessed on February 14, 2018, at
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-politics/thailand-charges-eight-activists-as-public-frustration-at-junta-grows-idUSKBN1FK161

Share: