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:
- SP Tahir Dawar’s Murder
- PM’s visit to North Waziristan
- In an un-verified leaked audio, Mr. Zia Shahid briefs Dr. Tahir ul Qadri regarding ouster of Mr. Nawaz Sharif from politics
- Opening of Kartarpur Corridor
- Corps Commander’s Conference
- COAS meets foreign dignitaries
- Meeting of the National Security Committee
- Army Public Relations and Development Activities
- Chairman PEMRA meeting with DG ISPR
- COAS confirms death sentences
- Supreme Court suspends Peshawar High Court Order
- PM-COAS Interactions
- Sri Lankan Chief of Defence Staff detained over War Crimes
- Slovenia appointed first female Army chief
Superintendent of Police (SP) Tahir Dawar, head of Peshawar’s rural circle, was reportedly kidnapped from the Federal Capital on October 26, 2018. There was no sign of his whereabouts until his body was found on November 13, 2018 in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, with a letter in Pashto claiming he was killed in revenge for Gen. Raziq. Photos of the slain SP’s body were widely shared on social media.
There was a delay of two days in bringing the body to Pakistan over Afghanistan’s insistence on handing it over to the tribal delegation led by Mr. Mohsin Dawar, MNA instead of officials of the Government of Pakistan. Dr. Mohammad Faisal, official spokesperson of the Foreign Office, criticized Afghanistan over the move: “Pakistan expresses concern over inordinate delay in handing over mortal remains of Shaheed SP Tahir Dawar and the fact that the handing over was linked to insistence on non diplomatic procedures and non official individuals resulting in avoidable pain to the Shaheed’s family” he tweeted. Mr. Mohsin Dawar, however, denounced the statement, “My understanding with Pak Government officials was that once the body of Tahir Shaheed is handed to the jirga, it will be handed over to the Police for State funeral. But when we received his body and crossed into Pakistan, it seemed like an ambush as we were pushed away & his body taken”. He claimed that even the son of the late SP was not accommodated.
The Government was widely criticized for its inefficiency and lack of attention to the issue during the episode. On October 28, 2018, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Mr. Iftikhar Durrani, had claimed that Tahir Dawar was safe and present in Peshawar. After news of his murder broke, Minister of State for Interior, Mr. Shahryar Afridi, when asked about the incident, said he cannot comment on it as it was a sensitive issue and as the death was not confirmed yet.”
On November 15, PM Imran Khan tweeted that “Have followed the shocking tragedy of the murder of SP Tahir Khan Dawar & ordered KP govt to coordinate with Islamabad police in holding an inquiry immediately. MOS Interior Shahryar Afridi has been tasked to oversee it with an urgency & present the report to me.”
Mr. Mohsin Dawar, MNA from North Waziristan who raised the issue of SP Tahir Dawar’s abduction in the National Assembly before news of his murder across the border surfaced, responded that “We reject an internal inquiry. We know that our investigation authorities can’t question certain powers. This murder involves two countries, and thus requires an International Inquiry Commission. Only the findings of such a body will be acceptable to us.”
On November 15, 2018 ISPR issued a statement which condemned the murder of SP Tahir Dawar and indicated that the incident involved “more than a terrorist organisation”. The statement called for cooperation from the Afghan security forces on border fencing and security coordination along the border.
A 7-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising Police and Intelligence Officers under SP Police Investigation, Islamabad, was formed on November 16, 2018 to investigate the mysterious murder.
SP Tahir Dawar, who belonged to the war-torn Waziristan, had been active against TTP and IS militants in the province and had survived multiple attempts on his life including two murder attempts and a suicide bombing. He was known to be a supporter of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) as evident from his posts on Social Media.
On November 26, 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan made his maiden visit to North Waziristan along with COAS Gen Bajwa. Prime Minister was accompanied by Minister for Defence, Mr. Pervez Khattak, Governor KP, Mr. Shah Farman, and CM KP Mr. Mehmood Khan. He was briefed on the on-going operations, fencing along the Pak-Afghan border and rehabilitation of Temporarily Disabled Persons (TDPs) among other issues.
The Prime Minister met Tribal elders from North and South Waziristan on the occasion. He announced welfare packages for the newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the field of health, education, employment and administration. He also announced restoration of cell phone services to the tribal districts, resolving the issue which recently brought the residents of the districts on the streets.
In an un-verified leaked audio, Mr. Zia Shahid briefs Dr. Tahir ul Qadri regarding ouster of Mr. Nawaz Sharif from politics
In a leaked audio of a conversation between Mr. Zia Shahid, Chief Editor Khabrain Group of Newspaper, and Mr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, Chief of Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Mr. Zia Shahid can be heard saying that two senior Generals of the Army told him that they [military] are 99.9% unanimous in ensuring Mr. Nawaz Sharif is ousted from politics. However, same unanimity is not there in ousting Mr. Shahbaz Sharif from politics.
In the leaked audio available at YouTube Mr. Zia Shahid can be heard telling Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri about his meeting with these senior Generals that “Iss baat pe tau woh musir thay ke woh jo number 1 siyasat ka tha pehle [Nawaz Sharif] uss ke silsilay mein tau hum unanimous hain ke – 99.9% – 1% chor dain ke kisi waqt kuch bhi ho sakta hai – we are convinced ke hum ne iss ko out karna hai (they were insistent that on number 1 of the party earlier [referring to Nawaz Sharif who was president of PML-N before] we [Army & ISI] are 99.9% unanimous that he [Nawaz Sharif] needs to be ousted from politics).
To this, Mr. Tahir-ul-Qadri can be heard asking Mr. Zia Shahid by interrupting him that “sirf aik bande ko, iss ko ya khandaan ko.” (only 1 person or the entire family [of Nawaz Sharif]. Mr. Zia Shahid can then be heard replying that “sirf aik, jama uss ki kar lein. But jab mein ne baar baar un se poocha ke yeh Punjab wala Haji kahan se hai, yeh har cheez mein un ke shareek hai.” (Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri can be heard interrupting him “bhai hai un ka.” (he is the brother [of Nawaz Sharif]) Mr. Zia Shahid is heard continuing that “aur bazaahar ooper se yeh different line leta hai, just to be on record ke nahin mein bhi hoon hazair. Warna mein tau in donon bhaiyon ko bohat purana janta hoon, itna hi jitna aap Mian Sharif Sahab ke dast-e-raast hote thay…. tau iss per mujhe laga – 3 bande thay uss waqt wahan – tau mujhe laga ke iss per woh yaksoo nahin hain.” (Only 1 but you can add up, but when I repeatedly asked them about their stance on the haji in Punjab [Shahbaz Sharif] who takes a different line [from his brother] in public to show he is available [to the Military] but is part of everything – even though I know these brothers very well, almost as much as you [Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri] who used to be the right hand of Mian Sharif Sahib [father of Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif].. so I felt that same unanimity does not exist on this [ouster of Mr. Shahbaz Sharif from politics].
Earlier in the conversation, Mr. Zia Shahid can be heard saying that he asked these Generals as to why they did not let the Faizaabad dharna continue for another six days because at the time it seemed that 50% of that party [PML-N] would have been broken. In the leaked audio, Mr. Zia Shaid can be heard explaining the context to Dr. Qadri that he met with these Generals in a pre-arranged meeting at the residence of one of them while he [Zia Shahid] had asked other two to join though the third General could not join the meeting.
Mr. Zia Shahid also claimed that since DG ISI had personal relations with the Sharif family, hence “all the work” of the ISI was assigned to number 2 in the ISI.
The recorded audio conversation was widely circulating on the social media but the authenticity of the recorded conversation could not be confirmed. No acceptance or denial of the leaked audio has been made from the office of the DG ISPR.
Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the development work on the proposed Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan on November 28, 2018, which would allow members of the Sikh Community to visit their holy site in Kartarpur. COAS Gen Bajwa attended the opening ceremony, alongside other dignitaries from India and Pakistan.
In August 2018 at PM Khan’s swearing-in ceremony, former cricketer and Indian Punjab Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums, Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu, had met COAS Gen Bajwa, where Mr. Sidhu said that COAS Bajwa hinted at opening the corridor on Guru Nanak’s 550th anniversary in 2019.
Only two days after the opening of the corridor, in an unusual political statement, the Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat said Pakistan must turn secular to coexist peacefully with India. Earlier on November 21, COAS Gen Bajwa said India must, “adopt the course of dialogue for peace and progress in the region instead of resorting to provocative statements and ceasefire violations” on his visit to Muzaffarabad.
While the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is a welcome step towards resolving issues with India, questions were raised over the ability of the new government to take such an initiative. Rana Sanaullah, PML-N MNA, in a speech on the floor of the National Assembly said that “Everyone knows this corridor was opened because of a [short] hug. Previous governments including PPP during Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and PML-N wanted to open the corridor but it was only allowed after a hug. We should stop deceiving ourselves.” Rana Sanaullah was apparently alluding to the COAS Gen. Bajwa’s hug with Indian Punjab Minister Sidhu.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that “Whenever I visited India for conferences, I was told that Pakistani politicians are united, but the army won’t allow friendship.” “I am saying today, that our political leaders, our army, and all other institutions are all on one page. We wish to move forward, we want a civilised relationship.” 
COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa presided over the 215th Corps Commanders Conference that was held at the GHQ on November 13, 2018. The forum reviewed geostrategic situation in the region and internal security of the country. Progress on the on-going operations, Pak-Afghan border fencing and Indian ceasefire violations reportedly came under discussion.
During the month of November, the COAS, reportedly met with Mr Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Alzaabi, Ambassador of UAE to Pakistan, who called on the COAS at the GHQ on November 29, 2018.
Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired his maiden meeting of the National Security Committee on November 6, 2018 at the Prime Minister’s Office. The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister, Mr. Pervez Khattak, Finance Minister, Mr. Asad Umar, Information Minister, Ch. Fawad Hussain, Minister of State for Interior, Mr. Shehryar Khan Afridi, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt General Asim Munir, Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor and other senior officials.
The Committee discussed the security situation in the country especially the on-going protests against Supreme Court’s decision of acquitting Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case. The Prime Minister also briefed the committee about his visit to China.
Following activities have been reported by the ISPR during the month of November 2018:
- Participants of the 20th National Security Workshop (NSW) of National Defence University, comprising eminent politicians, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, ambassadors, senior armed forces officers as well as representatives from media and business community had an interactive session on their visit to the GHQ on November 19, 2018.
National Security Workshop is conducted annually at the National Defence University and participated by representatives from all segments of the society.
- A delegation of journalists from Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Hazara Division visited the ISPR and interacted with DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor. The delegation was briefed on the situation along the Line of Control and Indian Ceasefire Violations.
On November 20, 2018, chairman PEMRA, Mr. Muhammad Saleem Baig, called on DG ISPR, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor. The two discussed ways to “facilitate Pakistani media in projecting positive image and narrative of Pakistan while effectively countering anti-Pakistan narrative at play through certain foreign media/inimical forces”.
On November 23, 2018, COAS Gen Bajwa confirmed death sentences awarded to 11 hard-core terrorists involved in attacking armed forces, killing civilians and destruction of educational institutes. According to the ISPR, they were involved in killing one civilian and 25 personnel of the armed forces. 22 convicts were awarded imprisonment in other cases. ISPR issued the names and details of 8 out of the 11 terrorists who were sentenced to death.
On November 3, 2018, Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended Peshawar High Court’s decision of acquitting 74 alleged terrorists and stayed their release until the find decision of the Apex court. The stay orders were granted on the appeal of Ministry of Defence.
PM Imran Khan and COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa interacted on seven occasions during November 2018.
- PM Imran Khan and COAS Gen Bajwa met on November 1, 2018 to discuss the security situation in the country, according to a tweet by Federal Minister for Information, Mr. Fawad Chaudhry. It was not clear where the meeting took place and whether the Minister for Defence was present.
- COAS Gen Bajwa called on PM Imran Khan at Prime Minister’s Office on November 6, 2018. Minister for Defence, Mr. Pervez Khattak, was not present during the meeting.
- PM Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the National Security Committee on November 6, 2018, where COAS Gen Bajwa was in attendance.
- PM Imran Khan attended the Walima ceremony of Gen Bajwa’s son, held on November 12, 2018.
- COAS Gen Bajwa accompanied PM Imran Khan to a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces, at UAE Presidential Palace on November 18, 2018. Minister for Defence was not part of the delegation
- PM Imran Khan visited Miranshah, North Waziristan where was briefed on the security situation in the region in the presence of COAS Gen Bajwa. Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak was present on the occasion.
- PM Imran Khan inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor with India on November 28, 2018. COAS Gen Bajwa was also in attendance. Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak was not present on the occasion.
Sri Lankan Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, was detained on November 28, 2018 for allegedly abducting and murdering 11 people during the war and being involved in a cover-up later by abducting a key witness and influencing the investigation.
He was finally arrested after refusing to surrender despite three arrest warrants in his name. The Admiral also visited Mexico during this time as an envoy for the President of Sri Lanka.
Senior officials in the Sri Lankan military have been accused of abducting civilians for ransom during the final phase of the decades-long civil war in the country. Human rights groups claim military oversaw serious human rights abuses besides abductions, during the war.
On November 27, Slovenia appointed Maj. Gen. Alenka Ermenc as its first female Chief of General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces. This makes her the only female head of armed forces among NATO countries.
Ermenc was promoted to the rank of major general one week before her appointment. She has previously participated in the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and holds several army awards.
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- Express Tribune.com, [website], 2018, https://tribune.com.pk/story/1857610/1-no-peace-pakistan-turns-secular-state-indian-army-chief/ (accessed December 3, 2018) ↑
- Dawn.com, [website], 2018, https://www.dawn.com/news/1447135/bajwa-asks-india-to-resume-dialogue-for-peace (accessed December 5, 2018) ↑
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- Prime Minister’s Office, [website], 2018, http://www.pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=2516 (accessed December 3, 2018) ↑
- Inter Services Public Relations, [website], 2018, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5036 (accessed December 3, 2018) ↑
- Inter Services Public Relations, [website], 2018, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5035 (accessed December 3, 2018) ↑
- Inter Services Public Relations, [website], 2018, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5037 (accessed December 3, 2018) ↑
- Inter Services Public Relations, [website], 2018, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5047 (accessed December 3, 2018) ↑
- The Nation.com, [website], 2018, https://nation.com.pk/03-Nov-2018/sc-suspends-phc-orders-of-acquitting-74-terrorists (accessed December 5, 2018) ↑
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- Dawn.com, [website], 2018, https://www.dawn.com/news/1443957 (accessed December 4, 2018) ↑
- Ibid ↑
- The News.com, [website], 2018, https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/393325-president-pm-cj-bilawal-attend-walima-of-army-chief-s-son (accessed December 4, 2018) ↑
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- Dawn.com, [website], 2018, https://www.dawn.com/news/1448103/woman-named-first-army-chief-of-slovenia (accessed December 5, 2018) ↑