THE army fully supports any political process, as long as it is in line with the Constitution, said Gen Ashfaq Kayani before leaving for Russia while referring to Balochistan.

This statement is surprising and equally damaging for the elected government as it tantamount to interfering in the politics of the country.

The army chief should have been careful at a time when the country’s political atmosphere is dangerously fragile.

He should have talked about military cooperation with Russia and exchange of high level military delegations instead of talking about the Constitution on which army’s track record is very poor.

Any visit by military head to any friendly country provides opportunity to interact and create atmosphere of goodwill and better understanding. To expect miracles with just one visit is asking for too much. We must not forget that our relationship started derailing when Liaquat Ali Khan preferred to visit the US instead of the USSR, although that Russian invitation came much earlier than America’s.

It entered into worst era when on May 1, 1960, a US spy plane U-2 flew from Badaber base, Peshawar, and was shot down by the Russians. But due credit must be given to Russia in forgetting the past and moving forward, of course, with reservations.

President Vladimir Putin has a favourable approach towards Pakistan and is on record to have offered expansion of Pakistan’s Steel Mills. Russia has also shown interest in developing the Thar coal project. Putin had also condemned attack on Salala check post as it interfered with the sovereignty of an independent state.

It is not correct to suggest that it is a big shock to the Americans as President Pervez Musharraf and Kayani had visited Russia in the past. The US is too busy in elections and has little time on such minor development.

In any case our sour relations spread over a decade cannot be put on the track only by Gen Kayani’s visit. It can be, however, a good beginning.

Our media created hype before Putin’s cancelled visit and now undue hype is being created on Gen Kayani’s visit. After 9/11, Islamabad and Moscow came closer when the US was given a free hand to deal with the Taliban. Pakistan enjoys unique position in South Asia. Whether it is the US or Russia, both have interest in South Asia and Pakistan is the gateway. Therefore the US and Russia have to have cordial relations with Pakistan to gain access to Central Asia States.

Pakistan has to be very careful in its policies as it is going to have serious impact after the elections in the US and Pakistan.

Lastly, the Pakistan Army should avoid making political statements and advising to follow the Constitution. This should be left to the parliamentarians and the Supreme Court. All institutions must work with in the prescribed limits of their mandates.

Interference or public announcements/statements that affect the functioning/working of other institutions should be avoided at all costs.

MUKHTAR AHMED BUTT Karachi

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Comments (17)

Muhammad Omer Khan
October 9, 2012 8:09 pm
Not so interesting for me, it will be military coup like in the past
Agha Ata (USA)
October 9, 2012 1:36 pm
Dawn has noted a very important point in General Kayani's statement. He, indeed, is doing what Dawn thinks he is doing. You may remember that this is the second time he (Kayani) has mentioned "constitution" in past one week. The last time he said something about Baluchistan and mentioned that he would do it, if it is according to the constitution. But what he did not say was that the army would decide what is constitutional and what is not. We have no clue what he is up to!
Amjad Wyne
October 9, 2012 5:29 pm
Butt Sahib, your objection makes no sense unless I misunderstood - For the Army chief to suggest that he supports the constitution (and the political processes inline with the constituion) is not an interference in the political process. For your information, this is also included in the oath that the Army chief takes when he assumes the office - this is what he is supposed to say and do - support the constitution. What we need now are the politicians that can also live by the constituion.
Khan
October 9, 2012 5:18 pm
only the time will tell as always.
Syed Ahmed
October 9, 2012 3:48 pm
It is not TRUE that Liaquat Ali Khan preferred to visit the US instead of the USSR. The correct version is that USSR invited Liaquat Ali Khan on August 14, 1948 and the former requested USSR government to give another date for his visit, since Aug 14 was countries first independance day. Also requested the USSR government that he would like an extended visit since he would prefer to visit other states of the USSR. The invitation never came. In the mean time American government invited Liaquat Ali to USA.
abdul narayan
October 9, 2012 3:47 pm
kayani is not trying to safeguard the national interest.He is trying to safeguard the army's priviledge role in pakistan and all the perks that come with it.
Khan
October 9, 2012 12:55 pm
At least there is one person, Kiyani, who has the mind set to safe guard the national interests.
pankajdehlavi
October 9, 2012 1:24 pm
It will be interesting to find out what Mr Kiyani will do if constitution won't be followed properly as per his opinion.
rehan nasir
October 9, 2012 9:57 pm
This article reflects idealism and is far away from reality. Pakistani politics are not the politics of the west and our representatives do not come with a mind of doing good governance and earning a good name for themselves and their party but instead they come with a mind of bulldozing the expectations of the public and polishing the exchequer . What has the parliment done so far that we still expect something good from them. The ruling party and the opposition are operating on the same freequency. So to say that the army chief should not make any political statements is not justified. I dont know what we as public are waiting for. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for this country with the current political leadership and the opposition. Democracy has failed so far. As for our foreign policy, we must have cordial ties with every country and try to make the most out it in the line of trade, commerce, defence and investments.
Haris
October 9, 2012 4:20 pm
Mr. Kiyani's advice of respecting the constitution would have been worth something if he had given it to Musharraf. Are the civilians in Pakistan the only group that needs to be reminded of the constitution by the bosses?
Tojo
October 10, 2012 12:40 am
Media & journalists must exhibit greater maturity, restraint & control and not let their personal feelings in normal reporting of news. It's time to wish the General well & God speed in the broader interest of Pakistan as a State (not necessarily the government). Pakistan must & should realize it is best to live in peace & harmony with its regional powers that include Russia, China, India. There are always going to be disgruntled & frustrated people in the country who think they know what is best for the country. God Bless Pakistan.
Caz
October 9, 2012 10:49 pm
Pakistan cannot survive withoiut US economic and military aid and knows it. Therefore its military led ruling elites have backtracked on the Iran gas pipeline on the US dictat because if Pakistan does not follow US instructions it will be declared a terrorist state and subjected to sanctions by the US and EU. If so, pakistan wont last a month !
Dr. Yahya Khan
October 9, 2012 5:03 pm
Since our politicians have learnt nothing from the past so such type of intervening statements from the Army should not surprise any one.
M. Asghar
October 9, 2012 11:09 am
Pakistan has to define its geo-interests by taking into account its regional environment.
AR Khan
October 9, 2012 6:14 am
Please read the statement carefully, he did not intend to interfere in the constitution by means of this statement in any way.
Hadi
October 9, 2012 9:06 pm
CJ, enough is enough. Please pay attention to common man cases before judges. Wait till you are retired and then enter in politics. You looks like Prime Minister of Balochistan when directing officials to take care administrative matters. Shame on you and your colleagues the way you are handling your son?s case. Believe me I am not member of PPP but just a ordinary Pakistani looking at my country from distance. Return the money your son looted from property dealers.
aa
October 10, 2012 12:03 am
Thanks for the opinion officer. Hope things are going well there at GHQ.
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