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


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. Leading Businessmen meet COAS
  2. 224th Corps Commander’s Conference
  3. Strategic Policy Planning Cell initiated at the National Security Division
  4. Cabinet approves National Executive Committee
  5. Legal battle over Action in Aid of Civil Power Ordinance in KP
  6. Army Public Relations Activities
  7. COAS meets Foreign Dignitaries
  8. PM-COAS Interactions
  9. International Developments

Leading Businessmen meet COAS

On October 3, 2019, COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa met and addressed a delegation of prominent businessmen at the GHQ. Federal Minister for Revenue Mr. Hammad Azhar, MNA; Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Hafeez Sheikh and Mr. Shabbar Zaidi, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue also joined the COAS in his meeting with the businessmen. The ISPR reported the meeting as a ‘Sequel to discussions and seminars on ‘Interplay of economy and security’, which was held earlier this year.[1]

Reportedly, the COAS told the businessmen that “national security is intimately linked to economy while prosperity is function of balance in security needs and economic growth”.[2]

According to participants the COAS gave a strong message that Army is on the same page with the government.[3] Stocks on the Pakistan stock exchange surged by 1.20% following the meeting.[4]

COAS addressing leading businessmen at the GHQ. Minister of State for Revenue Mr. Hammad Azhar; Adviser to PM on Finance Dr. Hafeez Shaikh and FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi are also present.

224th Corps Commander’s Conference

COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa presided the 224th Corps Commander’s Conference at the GHQ on October 3, 2019.[5] The forum reviewed regional geostrategic situation and the ongoing siege of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.

224th Corps Commanders Conference

Strategic Policy Planning Cell initiated at the National Security Division

A Strategic Policy Planning Cell (SPPC) has been established at the National Security Division and Dr. Moeed Yusuf has been appointed as the Chairman of the cell.

The SPPC is to be the intellectual hub for evidence-based policy input to the National Security Committee. It will assess the security situation in the country and the region in its various forms including traditional, economic and human.[6] The Cell will also act as the official platform for think tanks, academia and independent researchers to present intellectual input to the state.

The SPPC will regularly share its analysis with the Prime Minister and members of the National Security Committee irrespective of the frequency of NSC meetings. The SPPC is an independent body in terms of its operations and will not fall under the hierarchy of the National Security Division however, the NSD will provide financial and administrative support to the Cell. [7]

The formation of Policy Planning Cell, a recommendation made by PILDAT in its various reports on National Security, is a welcome development in the national security paradigm.

Cabinet approves National Executive Committee

On October 29, 2019, the federal cabinet has approved the formation of a National Executive Committee which will oversee the implementation of strategies placed to meet the FATF targets on money laundering and terror financing. Federal Minister for Revenue, Mr. Hammad Azhar, MNA, will chair the committee while Director General Military Operations and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence have been made members of the committee.

It important to note that this is the first instance that the heads of highly sensitive military organizations have been made part of any body on money laundering and terror financing.[8]

Legal battle over Action in Aid of Civil Power Ordinance in KP

The Peshawar High Court on October 17, 2019, declared the Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Ordinance 2019 promulgated by Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on August 5, 2019 as unconstitutional. The decision removed the legal cover provided to scores of internment centres operating in erstwhile FATA after its merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.[9]

The ordinance also gave the power to authorising the armed forces to detain an individual at anytime and anywhere in the province without assigning any reason and without producing the accused before a court of law.[10]

Supreme Court of Pakistan

Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Governor KP challenged the decision in the Supreme Court which suspended the Peshawar High Court’s verdict on October 24, 2019. The ordinance will remain in place until the Supreme Court verdict on the case.

Army Public Relations Activities

On October 22, 2019, the Foreign Office of Pakistan and ISPR took 23 foreign diplomats to Neelum Valley, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, to inspect sites of shelling from Indian side of Line of Control. The visit was organized to show the world that there were no terror sites targeted as alleged by India, instead civilian areas were targeted by Indian forces which resulted in a loss of six lives including a soldier. Nobody from the Indian mission in Islamabad joined the delegation despite the fact they were invited to join the visit.[11]

Foreign Office of Pakistan and ISPR takes 23 foreign diplomats to Neelum valley to inspect shelling from Indian Side of LoC

COAS meets Foreign Dignitaries

  1. COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa met Commander Army General Han Weiguo, People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and General Xu Qiliang, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) at the PLA Headquarter in Beijing on October 8, 2019.[12]
COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa with Commander PLA General Han Weiguo

2. Lieutenant General Ahmed Bin Harith Al-Nabhani, Chief of Staff, Sultan’s Armed Forces, Sultanate of Oman, called on COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa at the GHQ on October 15, 2019.[13]

Lieutenant General Ahmed Bin Harith Al-Nabhani, Chief of Staff, Sultan’s Armed Forces, Sultanate of Oman with COAS Gen Bajwa at the GHQ

PM-COAS Interactions

COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa was part of the Pakistani delegation, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, for holding talks with Chinese delegation led by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang on October 8, 2019.[14]

Prime Minister Imran Khan leading a delegation of cabinet members to China. COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa is also present.

International Developments

Indonesia losing political space to military

The Economist has reported that in Indonesia, the military is gaining more space in the national sphere which may weaken Indonesian democracy. [15]

Indonesia has been under military influence for much of its existence after independence from the Dutch in 1945. In fact, there exists an ideology by the name of dwifungsi or ‘dual function’, which gives the military a role in the country’s politics and social order besides territorial defence. Soharto, a military ruler who held power from 1966 to 1998, placed military officers on important civilian positions to ensure he maintains his influence. Not only bureaucratic positions were assumed by the military but a fifth of seats were reserved in the parliament as well.

After his resignation in 1998, democratic forces in the country vowed for reforms; they cancelled the one-fifth quota of seats assigned to military, ended military businesses, took away policing responsibilities and only allowed them to carry rescue and relief operations besides war. The reforms, though incomplete, are now being reversed by the incumbent government. Critics says it is the politicians’ who are ceding political space to the military by involving them in political battles to target opponents. Only recently, President Joko Widodo, signed a deal to allow on-duty army men to serve on civilian positions.


  1. Inter-Services Public Relations, [Website], 2019, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5450 (accessed November 5, 2019)

  2. Ibid
  3. Dawn, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1508894/meeting-with-coas-was-cordial-industry-leaders (accessed November 5, 2019)
  4. The News, [Website], 2019, https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/535835-stocks-surge-as-coas-stakeholders-meeting-fires-up-sentiment (accessed November 5, 2019)
  5. Inter-Services Public Relations, [Website], 2019, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5451 (accessed November 4, 2019)
  6. National Security Division, [Website], 2019, http://www.nsd.gov.pk/index.php?section=news&page=Torss (accessed November 5, 2019)
  7. Ibid
  8. Dawn.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1513739/pm-chides-ministers-over-pemra-row-after-firdous-grouse (accessed November 5, 2019)
  9. Dawn.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1511488/phc-declares-internment-centres-in-kp-unconstitutional (accessed November 7, 2019)
  10. Dawn.com, [Website], https://www.dawn.com/news/1512789/apex-court-suspends-phc-order-of-holding-kps-ordinance-illegal (accessed November 7, 2019)
  11. Dawn.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1512347/23-diplomats-visit-loc-areas-affected-by-indian-shelling (accessed November 5, 2019)
  12. Inter-Services Public Relations, [Website], 2019, https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5455 (accessed November 5, 2019)
  13. Inter-Services Public Relations, [Website], https://www.ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=5464 (accessed November 5, 2019)
  14. Dawn.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.dawn.com/news/1509857/pm-wants-to-put-500-corrupt-people-in-jail (accessed November 5, 2019)
  15. Economist.com, [Website], 2019, https://www.economist.com/asia/2019/10/31/indonesian-politicians-are-giving-the-armed-forces-a-big-role-in-government (accessed November 5, 2019)