PILDAT Monitor on Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan | August 2019

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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. Gen Qamar Bajwa given a three-year extension as COAS
  2. Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo alleges foul play in no-confidence vote against Chairman Senate
  3. Meeting of the National Security Committee
  4. 223rd Corps Commanders’ Conference
  5. Army Public Relations and Development Activities
  6. COAS meets Foreign Dignitaries
  7. ISPR approved ex-army officers appear on media
  8. PM-COAS Interactions
  9. International Developments

Gen Qamar Bajwa given a three-year extension as COAS

Nearly three months before the expiry of the term of Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Bajwa, Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan, has granted a three-year extension in Gen. Bajwa’s tenure as COAS on August 19, 2019. A notification issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, signed by the Prime Minister, stated that “General Qamar Javed Bajwa is appointed Chief of Army Staff for another term of three years from the date of completion of current tenure.” The notification went on to state that “The decision has been taken in view of the regional security environment.” [1]

It is expected that the formal notification of the extension in the three-year term of the Chief of Army Staff would be issued by the President of Pakistan, as according to article 243 of the Constitution, Chiefs of Armed forces are to be appointed by the President upon the advice of the Prime Minister.

Gen Qamar Bajwa was appointed as Chief of Army Staff by former Prime Minister, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, on November 26, 2016 and was set to complete his tenure as COAS and retire from the Pakistan Army in November 2019.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff

Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo alleges foul play in no-confidence vote against Chairman Senate

On August 1, 2019, as the no-confidence vote against Senate Chairman, Senator Sadiq Sanjrani, fell short of 3 votes despite the opposition’s majority in the Senate, Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, joint candidate of the opposition for the post of Chairman Senate, alleged the involvement of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in persuading opposition Senators not to vote in favour of no-confidence motion against the sitting Chairman Senate.

After the defeat of the no-confidence vote against Chairman Senate, a journalist asked Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo if he knew the people who voted against the joint opposition party lines, Senator Bizenjo responded that “these were Gen. Faiz’s people. You know Gen Faiz, the ISI chief? [They] were his people [who did not vote to support no confidence motion against Chairman Senate Sanjrani].”[2]

Responding to the allegation by Senator Bizenjo, Maj. Gen Asif Ghafoor, DG, ISPR, in a tweet said that “Remarks by Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo implicating head of national premier institution are unfounded. The tendency to bring entire democratic process into disrepute for petty political gains doesn’t serve democracy”.[3]

On August 2, 2019, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Mr. Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that “Hasil Bizenjo is among the lot who have been made hero by [anti-Pak] and [anti-army] segment of media [and] politicians, he is used [and] abused by shrewd fellows like Fazal Ur Rehman. [His] rants against a very honourable officer is nothing but rubbish”.[4]

Meetings of the National Security Committee

In August 2019, two meetings of the National Security Committee were held on August 4, 2019 and August 7, 2019, respectively.

The August 4 meeting of the National Security Committee was held “to discuss Indian actions that are contributing to fast deteriorating situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,”[5] a press release issued by the PMO stated.

The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers for Defence, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Special Adviser to Prime Minister on Information and Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir, in addition to Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chiefs of Staff of Army, Navy and Air Force, and DG ISI.

Prime Minister Imran Khan presiding over the National Security Committee meeting on August 4, 2019

Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan called another meeting of the National Security Committee on August 7, 2019. According to the press release by the PMO, the NSC “discussed situation arising out of unilateral and illegal actions by the Indian government, situation inside Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and along LoC.” The NSC, reportedly decided to take following actions:

  1. Downgrading of diplomatic relations with India.
  2. Suspension of bilateral trade with India.
  3. Review of bilateral arrangements.
  4. Matter to be taken to the United Nations, including the Security Council.
  5. Independence Day this 14 August to be observed in solidarity with brave Kashmiris and their just struggle for their right of self-determination. 15th August will be observed as Black Day. [6]

With Prime Minister in the Chair, the NSC meeting was attended by Foreign Minister, Defence Minister, Interior Minister, Minister for Education, Minister for Human Rights, Minister for KA&GB, Law Minister, Adviser Finance, CJCSC, COAS, CAS, V-CNS, SAPM on Information, DG-ISI, DG-ISPR, Secretary Foreign Affairs and other senior officers.

223rd Corps Commanders’ Conference

The 223rd Corps Commanders’ Conference was held at the GHQ on August 6, 2019, presided by COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. The ISPR reported that the forum expressed full support for the government’s rejection of Indian Actions in Kashmir. COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa said that “Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end. We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfill our obligations in this regard”.’ [7]

COAS Gen Bajwa presiding over the 223rd Corps Commanders’ conference

Army Public Relations and Development Activities

  1. The ISPR reported that COAS Gen Bajwa interacted with High achiever students in Intermediate exams belonging to Ittehad-e-Tanzeemate-Madaris Pakistan (ITMP) from all over Pakistan on August 21, 2019. During his address, COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa emphasized on the importance of working hard and contributing towards the prosperity of Pakistan. He later distributed prizes among high achievers and presented souvenirs to parents and teachers for their efforts.[8]
COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa distributing prizes among high achieving madrassa students
  1. The Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) facilitated a group of foreign journalists to visit the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Kashmir on August 29, 2019, where they were briefed on Indian ceasefire violations across the LoC. The journalists also interacted with the local population.[9]
A group of foreign journalists in Azad Kashmir on August 29, 2019

COAS meets Foreign Dignitaries

  1. US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation, Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad, called on COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa at the GHQ on August 1, 2019.[10]
US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation, Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad with COAS Gen Bajwa
  1. General Xu Qiliang, Vice Chairman Central Military Commission (CMC) China, called on COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa on August 26, 2019 before holding delegation level talks at the GHQ.[11]
General Xu Qiliang, Vice Chairman Central Military Commission (CMC) China, with COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa
  1. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan, Mr. Atadjan Movlamov, called on COAS Gen Bajwa at the GHQ on August 27, 2019. Among matters of bilateral defence cooperation and regional connectivity, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline was also discussed.[12]
Mr. Atadjan Movlamov, Ambassador of Turkmenistan, with COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa

ISPR approved ex-army officers appear on media

On April 15, 2019, ISPR had issued a list of 26 retired army officers who were approved to appear on media as defence analysts. Reportedly, the ISPR notification said that “any other retired officer desirous of appearing as defence analyst can contact the ISPR to obtain a no-objection certificate.” [13]

The list of retired officers allowed by the ISPR to appear on media includes, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Moinuddin Haider, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Amjad Shoaib, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Khalid Maqbool, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Naeem Khalid Lodhi, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asif Yaseen Malik, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Raza Ahmed, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Ashraf Saleem, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Ejaz Awan, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Ghulam Mustafa, Brig. (Retd.) Saad Rasool, Brig. (Retd.) Farooq Hameed, Brig. (Retd.) Ghazanfar Ali, Brig. (Retd.) Aslam Ghumman, Brig. (Retd.) Nadir Mir, Brig. (Retd.) Asadullah, Brig. (Retd.) Asif Haroon, Brig. (Retd.) Harris Nawaz, Brig. (Retd.) Said Nazir, Brig. (Retd.) Simson Sharof, Admiral (Retd.) Ahmed Tasnim, AM (Retd.) Shahid Latif, AM (Retd.) Ikram Bhatti, AM (Retd.) Masood Akhtar, AM (Retd.) Riaz-u-Din, AVM (Retd.) Shahzad Ch and Air Cdre (Retd.) Sajjad Haider. The notification reportedly stated that “Their views/comments/opinions on media shall remain personal/independent expression and not attributable to the institution”[14]

PM-COAS Interactions

Prime Minister Imran Khan and COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa interacted on five occasions during August 2019:

  1. On August 1, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan called a high-level meeting including civilian and military leadership at the Prime Minister’s Office to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral ties with the United States in the wake of his official visit to US. The meeting was attended by COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa. Federal Minister for Defence Mr. Pervaiz Khattak was not present.[15]
Prime Minister Imran Khan chairing a meeting of civil-military leadership at the Prime Minister’s Office
  1. Prime Minister Imran Khan called a meeting of the National Security Committee on August 4, 2019 which was attended by Federal Minister for Defence Pervaiz Khattak and COAS Gen Bajwa among others.[16]
  2. Prime Minister Imran Khan called a meeting of the National Security Committee on August 7, 2019 which was attended by both Federal Minister for Defence Pervaiz Khattak and COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa.[17]
  3. On August 8, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan called the first meeting of the National Development Council (NDC). The meeting was attended by COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa, as a key member of the council. Federal Minister for Defence, Mr. Pervaiz Khattak is not part of the Council.[18]
Prime Minister Imran Khan chairing the first meeting of the National Development Council (NDC)
  1. COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Prime Minister’s Office on August 22, 2019 to discuss the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Federal Minister for Defence, Mr. Pervaiz Khattak, was not part of the interaction.[19]
Prime Minister Imran Khan with COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa at the Prime Minister’s Office on August 22, 2019

International Developments

India creates the post of Chief of Defence Staff

On August 15, 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the establishment of the post of Chief of Defence Staff for “better coordination between the Army, Air Force and Navy”. [20] “I announce a big decision today, India will now have a Chief of Defence Staff,”[21] Mr. Modi said in his Independence Day Speech.

The post of Chief of Defence Staff in India was reportedly recommended by the task force appointed by a Group of Ministers in 2001. [22]

In an explainer, the India Today writes that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) is a “post that will act as the single-point advisor to the Government of India. The officer concerned will be in a position to advise on matters related to all the three services -Army, Navy and Air Force – thus making India’s armed forces integrated. The Chief of Defence Staff will be a ‘first among equals’, a fourth four-star officer who will be senior to the three other service chiefs.” [23]

UN Probe finds Myanmar Army’s business umpire fuels atrocities

A UN fact finding mission has urged the international community to sever ties with Myanmar Army’s business holdings which gives it the ability to carry out military operations without oversight leading to human rights violations.

The report found that two main military owned conglomerates, Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL), and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), in addition to other companies, control a major part of trade in the country. These companies do not release their full financial reports to the public. In addition, the military also controls two banks.

The UN report alleged that private companies donated US $ 10 million to the military to carry out operations against the Rohingya and later sponsored development projects to erase evidence of gross human rights violations. [24]

Alleged War Criminal appointed Sri Lankan Army Chief

Major General Shavendra Silva was promoted to the rank of Lt. Gen. and appointed as Sri Lanka’s Army Chief on August 19, 2019. Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva’s 58th Division is accused of committing grave human rights violations including shelling a hospital during the last phases of the war between the Sri Lankan state and Tamil Tiger rebels.[25]

The allegations came to light in a 2015 OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) report, which noted that armed forces may have targeted these facilities deliberately in some cases and the structures which led to these violations are still in place.[26] The appointment was criticized by some countries including the United States through a statement by the US embassy in Colombo.

Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva

References

  1. Dawn.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1500427/army-chief-gen-bajwas-term-extended-for-another-3-years (accessed September 5, 2019)
  2. Dawn.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1497818/game-played-with-constitution-bad-for-democracy-bizenjo (accessed September 11, 2019).
  3. Twitter.com, [Website], 2019, https://twitter.com/OfficialDGISPR/status/1157018127793676289 (accessed September 11, 2019)
  4. Twitter.com, [Website], 2019, https://twitter.com/fawadchaudhry/status/1157181718413172736?s=20 (accessed September 13, 2019)
  5. Prime Minister’s Office, [Website], 2019, https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=2944 (accessed September 13, 2019)
  6. Prime Minister’s Office, [Website], 2019, https://pmo.gov.pk/news_details.php?news_id=996 (accessed September 6, 2019)
  7. Inter-Services Public Relations, [Website], 2019, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5390 (accessed September 5, 2019)
  8. Inter-Services Public Relations, [Website], 2019, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5400 (accessed September 5, 2019)
  9. Inter-Services Public Relations, [Website], 2019, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5410 (accessed September 11, 2019)
  10. Inter-Services Public Relations, [Website], 2019, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5386 (accessed September 6, 2019)
  11. Inter-Services Public Relations, [Website], 2019, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5405 (accessed September 6, 2019)
  12. The Nation, [Website]. 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1498149/indias-irrational-actions-to-unsettle-region-warns-nsc (accessed September 6, 2019)
  13. Dawn.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1476377 (accessed September 11, 2019)
  14. Ibid
  15. Dawn.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1497592/civil-military-leadership-reviews-ties-with-us (accessed September 11, 2019)
  16. Prime Minister’s Office, [Website], 2019, https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=2944
  17. Prime Minister’s Office, [Website], 2019, https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=2956 (accessed September 11, 2019)
  18. Dawn.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1498893/balochistans-security-uplift-to-get-renewed-govt-attention (accessed September 11, 2019)
  19. Dawn.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1501175/pm-army-chief-discuss-kashmir-situation (accessed September 11, 2019)
  20. Reuters, [Website], 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-independenceday/indian-pm-modi-announces-chief-of-defense-staff-post-to-improve-military-integration-idUSKCN1V50E5 (accessed September 5, 2019)
  21. Economic Times, [Website], 2019, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/india-will-have-chief-of-defence-staff-soon-pm-modi-announces-big-armed-forces-reforms/videoshow/70686632.cms (accessed September 5, 2019)
  22. India Today, [Website], 2019, https://www.indiatoday.in/news-analysis/story/who-will-be-india-s-first-chief-of-defence-staff-1597140-2019-09-09 (accessed September 5, 2019)
  23. India Today [Website], 2019, https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/explained-what-is-chief-of-defence-staff-cds-pm-narendra-modi-independence-day-speech-1581018-2019-08-15 (as accessed September 05, 2019)
  24. The News.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/508891-myanmar-army-s-business-empire-fuels-atrocities-un-probe (accessed September 11, 2019)
  25. Al Jazeera, [Website], 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/08/sri-lankan-general-accused-war-abuses-appointed-army-chief-190819170119306.html (accessed September 5, 2019)
  26. Ibid

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