Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.—AP (File Photo)

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan’s military chief has said that the army would support any political steps allowed under the Constitution to resolve the problems of insurgency-hit Balochistan province.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani said this Wednesday in a policy statement on Balochistan made before his departure to Moscow on a four-day official visit.

The army chief said that support would be extended to a political solution to the Balochistan problem, provided that the solution was in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan. Kayani said any steps taken in violation of the Constitution would be unacceptable.

“[The] army fully supports any political process, as long as it is within the Constitution of Pakistan”, said the statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military's media wing.

Kayani’s comments follow in the shadows of former Balochistan chief minister and Balochistan National Party president Sardar Akhtar Mengal’s recent statements made in the Supreme Court during a visit to the country after a self-imposed exile of three years in London.

The Supreme Court has been hearing a case on the law and order situation in the restive province.

“Why should not we divorce peacefully rather than seeking for a bloody divorce if the rulers have decided to keep on giving us mutilated dead bodies,” Sardar Mengal had said before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is plagued by a growing separatist insurgency and a worsening law and order situation, in addition to targeted killings, kidnappings for ransom and enforced disappearances. Mengal had termed the issue of enforced disappearances, or ‘missing persons’, as the main reason of the oil and gas rich province’s unrest.

Mengal also presented a six-point charter, calling for an immediate end to all covert and overt military operations in Balochistan, the procurement and fair trial of all ‘missing persons’ before a court of law, and an end to all “proxy death squads” allegedly operating under the supervision of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI).

Visit to Russia

During his visit to Russia, the army chief will have several high-level engagements with the Russian political leadership in addition to dialogue with his counterpart on expanding relations between the two militaries.

Kayani’s visit follows the cancellation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Islamabad, scheduled for Oct 2-3, and coincides with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov’s two-day visit to Islamabad (Oct 3-4) on the invitation of Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

Lavrov is scheduled to call on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, besides holding bilateral consultations.

Gen Kayani’s visit was in the planning for months, but has received  additional focus because of the cancellation of Putin’s visit to Pakistan, which would have been a landmark trip because he would have been the first Russian president to visit Pakistan.

A senior defence official has described the army chief’s visit as a major breakthrough in Pak-Russia defence ties. A diplomat at the Foreign Office, meanwhile, said that engagement with Russia was meant to “safeguard national interests as well as deepen consultations”.

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Comments (34) (Closed)


AHMAD
Oct 03, 2012 07:44pm
Who is Kiani to comment on polical issue. His job is to protect the country and in limits.
AHMAD
Oct 03, 2012 07:50pm
Kiani is the wrong person. He is the member of armed forces. The army is the cause of problem in Baluchistan and not the solution. Baluchis deservd better than this, NO MORE KILLING.
AHMAD
Oct 03, 2012 07:58pm
Good observation. Remember Alexander Haig, A four star general, allied comander and Reagan's chief of staff. He was fired just by saying " I am incharge ".
Cyrus Howell
Oct 03, 2012 06:42pm
There can be no constitutional solution until the kidnapping and killing stops. If it does not Balochistan will fight you to the end. If the government wants to share the profits of Balocistan minerals with it's people then their would be something to talk about. The Congress would have to stop the land grabbing as well. Nationalists in the mountains can hold out until the end of time. Without a fair settlement the situation will be just the same.
sal
Oct 03, 2012 07:26pm
this then means that there will be no solutions and the army can carry on doing what it's been doing.
Asad
Oct 03, 2012 09:07pm
Man, are you in your senses,,, we have already thrown two superpowers into the dustbin of history in our backyard..
T.M. Reddy
Oct 03, 2012 02:28pm
Nice. A change of heart by the general towards constitution as solution . But, why general has to has show his middle-man-ship. Judges are also not supposed to be associated with the unilateral statements, their duty is only to interpret the laws of the land. There are some basic flaws to be corrected by these two branches of Govt.
Zafar
Oct 03, 2012 01:59pm
Well, if the masters are not skillful and capable, the slaves will out-smart them.
Zafar
Oct 03, 2012 02:02pm
In any country (including India & US), army is the major stake holder in security matters.
Vigilant
Oct 04, 2012 07:42am
Rightly said
Mustafa
Oct 03, 2012 03:53pm
Courtship with America ends and with Russia begins. Only Allah knows how long this new courtship will last.
imran
Oct 03, 2012 03:38pm
The territorial integrity of Pakistan is not up for negotiation. Short of that, anything and everything should be discussed. And as far as Mr. Mengal and his proposals its all good but the baloch sardars cannot absolve themselves of responsibility for where balochistan is today.
Adnan
Oct 03, 2012 01:13pm
Some research into what Pentagon does and why it was made and exists is recommended. its not a fish farm spread on acres by the way. It is there for a reason.
Rashid Baloch
Oct 03, 2012 01:06pm
Sandip, army is ruling Pakistan for the last sixty years. Civilian government is jsut a figure-head which has no say especially when it comes to Balochistan and so called security issue. They are the real masters..
Syed
Oct 03, 2012 01:03pm
The army chief is saying that whatever the solution will be, the army will support it, provided it is under the constitution. It is not a matter of differerence with the political leadership, rather support and harmony. Every country defends itself and protect its boundaries.
Agha Ata (USA)
Oct 03, 2012 12:57pm
The very statement from the army shows that nothing can or will happen without the army's blessings; it simply means that it must be constitutional from the army's point of view, as if the army has done nothing unconstitutional during the last 65 years. If the army is determined to play politics, and use power to be the judge, jury and executer, then I see déjà vu of another desh
Abdullah K
Oct 03, 2012 12:47pm
Irony of situation, one time or the other most of Baloch sardars, nawabs have been either chief minister or governor of Balochistan including Akbar Bugti & Akhtar Mengal.Then why did not they improve the welfare of ordinary Baloch ? Squabbling among sardars & nawabs has contributed to worsening law & order situation.Target killing of non Balochis which included labourers,doctors,school & college teachers,Akhtar Mengal conveniently ignored.
sunil
Oct 03, 2012 12:45pm
Fighting insurgency is not an easy task. Pak Army already have a difficult job on hand. Army's job should be to do what political masters have asked them to do. It is indeed tragic that after so many failed projects, Army still does not understand that they should not be involved in politics.
msa
Oct 03, 2012 12:43pm
Army chief visit to Russia is a positive move... Pakistan should find its allies to reduce its dependency on america. Wish the Russian president should visit Pakistan in near future.
ysk
Oct 03, 2012 12:27pm
You probably need to read more about Pakistan. Who is the master?Why different View? etc. in our current situation are not relevant. As of today, Army has a say in things here so its good to hear where they stand..
Caz
Oct 03, 2012 12:20pm
This is the problem with the miscreated state pakistan. The state is simply in existence to serve a venal military led elite. It is politically and economically not viable. It really belongs in the dustbin of history
Shahid Hashmi
Oct 03, 2012 12:16pm
Only in Pakistan and underdeveloped countries statements from army chief are given more prominent coverage than statements from the head of the state.
Sandip
Oct 03, 2012 11:39am
And what is point in Army providing its support? Who is the master here? How can army have different view then its political masters?
shah
Oct 03, 2012 02:05pm
is it legal in a democracy for the army to not support anything that is "constitutional" ? ..... i am sure there will be people in the media who will be praising this saying..." oh what a good statement by the army chief ". Imagine an army chief of any other democracy saying something like this . he will be immediately fired . I hope pakistanis will support democracy no matter how bad the elected leaders are . its the only solution . good luck .
adam memon
Oct 03, 2012 02:03pm
Alhamdulillah
Mr.T
Oct 03, 2012 01:37pm
very well said general, now something clear that it's not in your hand what's going on in balochistan, and its very much clear whatever outcome govt or judges comes to decision, general will undoubtedly accept and support it.
Syed rizvi
Oct 03, 2012 03:20pm
As aworried citizen,iwill uege to all who matters,to please learn lesson from ourpast mistakes out of the tragedy of 1971. Balochistan is a very sensitive part of our countryand their problemmust be solved By involving baloch politiciansleast involvement of security forces.Our intelligence agencies must keep viliganceover foreign interventions inbalochistan,particularly the indians.
Yogesh
Oct 03, 2012 12:07pm
It is rather surprising why army should support or not support any solution. It should be business of elected government. And pray who will determine if any solution envisaged is constitutional or not - army ? It is long way to go for Pakistan. Where killer of governor of a province is showered with flowers and judge who administer justice to killer has to run for his dear life.
Vgp
Oct 03, 2012 03:10pm
For your information in mature democracy it is the Prime Minister and not the President who give statements
Owais
Oct 03, 2012 11:12am
Very good news for two reasons: 1. positive statement of our beloved army chief on balochistan and 2. tour to Russia for increasing bilateral relations Keep it up
khanm
Oct 03, 2012 11:06am
Are we going to have a change of hearts? disturbing the peace with x could be ???????
View from Abroad
Oct 03, 2012 02:32pm
A solution to the Balochistan problem under the "constitution" would mean something totally different than Kayani have any idea of! The Constitution gives full rights to the Baloch to utilize their resources for the development of the province while still being a part of Pakistan. On the other hand, the Constitution awards death sentence to those who breaks it! A solution to Balochistan under the Constitution would mean that Musharraf should be tried for treason first by breaking the Constitution through the imposition of Martial Law and Emergency and then he should be tried once more for the killing of a former Chief Minister of Balochistan. I am sure Kayani would not like a Constitutional solution, because under the Constitution Kayani (YES Gen Kayani) is NOT even allowed to talk about internal politics let alone giving suggestion on it....And, a Constitutional solution would diffidently mean punishment for those who have set up secret Death Squads! Think before you speak Mr. General!
Shahid
Oct 03, 2012 01:51pm
Hah, your question is rather hard hitting but to the point. it is no secret Army is the most powerful institution in Pakistan.
waqaas jamil
Oct 03, 2012 01:43pm
As I Said before no prisoners this time!