Pakistan's Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.—AP (File Photo)

The recent statement of Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has created ripples in political, legal and civil society circles.

While General Kayani has not named any of the institutions in his address to a group of officers at GHQ on Nov 5, several observers believe that his statement carried veiled challenges to the superior judiciary as well as media.

The same day Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry addressed a delegation of the National Management Course, National School of Public Policy and National Management College, Lahore at the Supreme Court building.

While the address of the CJ is not an unusual thing, especially after the lawyers’ movement that began in Mar 2007, as he had often been addressing delegations and conventions of lawyers, the statement of the COAS is an unusual thing, which gave birth to different assumptions.

In his address, General Kayani put forward several things and observed: “All systems in Pakistan appear to be in a haste to achieve something, which can have both positive and negative implications. Let us take a pause and examine the two fundamental questions; One, are we promoting the rule of law and the Constitution? Two, are we strengthening or weakening the institutions? In the ultimate analysis, all of us would have served Pakistan better if history and our future generations judge us positively.”

Since the statement of the army’s chief was made public by ISPR, the guessing game is going on in the media as well as in other circles about the events, which compelled General Kayani to give that statement. Several programmes have so far been conducted on different private TV channels wherein analysts continued to cite several reasons, which they believed, led to the address. Some of them believed that the hearing of several cases related to the armed forces and intelligence agencies and subsequent talk shows annoyed the security forces.

Some analysts believed that everything was not well between the two powerful institutions, the judiciary and the Pakistan Army, while some tried to convince the people that Gen Kayani had only pointed towards the media and not the judiciary.

During last couple of years, the superior courts have been hearing several high-profile cases related to the security forces and intelligence agencies, especially Inter-Services Intelligence. Scores of ‘enforced disappearances’ cases from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and Balochistan are pending with different courts.

The famous Asghar Khan case, which had been pending since 1996, was finally decided by the Supreme Court and the government was directed to take action against former COAS General Mirza Aslam Beg and ex-chief of Military Intelligence and ISI Asad Durrani for their role in sponsoring the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad in the 1990 general elections.“The army chief seems disturbed with the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in the Asghar Khan case, which proved that the chief of army staff and director general of ISI had bribed politicians by providing them funds,” said Abdul Lateef Afridi, the president of Peshawar High Court Bar Association.

He categorically said in case, there was any conflict between the judiciary and the army, lawyers would stand by CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry as in his view, the court had done nothing wrong by delivering the said judgment.

Mr Afridi pointed out that the history of Pakistan was replete with stories of judiciary supporting military coups and illegal activities of the intelligence agencies. He added that when the judiciary had been asserting itself it had created unrest in the ranks of the security apparatus.

On Nov 6, a day after the statement of Gen Kayani, an old man, Qazi Fazal Ahmad, appeared along with his son, Qazi Fazle Khaliq, before a bench of the Peshawar High Court.

He informed Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan that he had field a habeas corpus petition against alleged illegal detention of his son, Qazi Baseer Ahmad.

The old man said on Sept 25, the court had ordered the defence ministry that the detainee should either be set free or should be shifted to notified internment centre. He added that on Oct 9, he was informed that somebody had dumped his son’s body at a deserted place in Lasan Nawab area of Mansehra district.

He alleged that his son was picked up by the Elite Force of police on July 15, 2011 from his house in Speen Khak area of Nowshera, and another boy, Shahid Afridi, was also taken away from a nearby seminary.

Later on, he said Shahid Afridi was set free and he had also recorded his statement before the high court, but his brother remained missing.

Legal experts believed in scores of cases, detainees were initially picked up by police and then handed over to intelligence agencies, but before the courts, they both always denied the act.

They said while the army chief stated that several systems in Pakistan appeared to be in haste to achieve something, the judiciary had been observing utmost restraint in dealing with cases related to the armed forces, especially in cases of missing persons.

In PHC, over 350 habeas corpus petitions have been pending related to ‘enforced disappearances’.

The chief justice has been regularly conducting proceedings in these cases. On several occasions, he gave warnings to the defence and interior ministries, intelligence agencies and the provincial government but still it has not taken any extreme step.The chief justice had also observed that the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments had lost its constitutional right to rule as they had failed to safeguard the life and liberty of individuals, but the court continued to show restraint.

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Comments (76)

Asif K
November 12, 2012 9:13 am
what a silly comment
Asif K
November 12, 2012 9:13 am
Asif K
November 12, 2012 9:14 am
well said
Mustafa Razavi
November 13, 2012 6:28 am
Jo qaum apne shahidoon ko bhool ja ti hai Qadam qadam pe ajal se faraib khati hai
November 13, 2012 8:03 am
who ever is criticizing COAS .. first read his comments .. he nowhere said tht army want the government !! he said nobody can come in between ppl and army .. where he is highlighting the issue tht many secret hands r spreading mistrust for our armed forces to make them weak !! .. i request all readers kindly read and understand the meaning of those comments first ..
Mohdudul Huq
November 13, 2012 6:57 pm
Only Army is the last institution that always save the country. Everybody is busy make money or destroy the country. At this present moment enemy of Pakistan has upper hand to destroy Pakistan. Only Army can able to save Pakistan.
November 12, 2012 11:23 pm
Kayani had lead the army with wisdom, during the OBL and other crisis. He has smartly kept the army under control and did not go under any pressure to fight against his own people may it be TTP. However, his comments against the Supreme court are foolish. Army is made to protect the country and the constitution, this Army has long been negating it. Supreme court just decided a case SC has nothing to do with or against Durani or Beg.
Muhammad Saleem
November 13, 2012 5:01 pm
Yes! indeed...agree 100%
Atif Gill
November 13, 2012 7:11 pm
Very well said Mr. Shahid. How come a general can give political statements? His job is to work under the instructions of Govt, being a govt servant. How come our generals make them selves political leaders during the service? Please resign, start political career and make as many speeches as you like in public, no body will stop you.
November 13, 2012 11:41 am
We call our army "A Professional Army". Isn't it. . . ? When I was a child I attended a passing out parade of an army unit where I got a chance to hear the oath taken by the new army recruits. I remembered the words "We will not interfere in the politics of the country." The professionalism of any institution is based upon their oath, the words that bound and define the circle of influence of an institution. More than that will be non professionalism.Our history proves how professional our army has been. . .
November 12, 2012 10:07 pm
Kayani' says we should build institutions, I wish he had said same thing to Musharraf during his 9 years institution breaking rule. Kayani says everyone is innocent until proven guilty than why intelligence agencies take away poor people without producing them in courts? Kayani says protect armed forces but then armed forces and corrupt generals are two different things. No one ever criticised army soldiers why is he confusing people, Corrupt Generals and Soldiers are two different things. Lastly, the concept of judiciary, justice, accountability, reward and punishment is given by religions and no religion including Islam prohibits accountability. Will he save Aslam Beg in his grave as well? Kayani needs to admit that soldiers are very disappointed to learn about Generals corruption and only way to stop this happening in future is to let justice take its course and please don't try to influence it. Allah is watching you, Kayani
November 13, 2012 9:50 am
The only point who was the beneficiary of all this scam ?
November 12, 2012 8:50 pm
Military for the first time is feeling the heat. It is realizing that the Paksitani people would not support them blindly any more and it is a shock to them. The Pakistani military is the most corrupt out fit if you leave some African countries' armies. It must change and be completely under the civilians if Paksitan is ever to improve it's lot.
Zafar Ahmed
November 12, 2012 8:59 pm
Hats off to Supreme court for taking right & bold decission on the matter.
November 13, 2012 7:31 pm
That Paracha...write about un necessary...Why not use Pen for Shaheed and Pre partition heroes???
November 13, 2012 3:30 pm
Very right, i think that military rules had not been up dated since long, ( General Zia played hell with them the last) the basic rights should be given to all rather civilians or soldiers. Army will improve after these amendments.
Ali Hassan Ayub
November 13, 2012 1:27 am
I support Pakistan Army. The whole nation must. I hope the civilian side gets it act together.
Nasr KiKi
November 12, 2012 5:29 pm
Of course then only we will see no bickering against each other
Shahid Hashmi
November 13, 2012 3:28 am
If he were a general in any civilized country he would have gotten his marching order long time ago. In the US even a wars hero Gen McArthur was fired for saying something without checking with the civilian authority about the appropriateness of his remark. there are numerous examples of Generals being fired for giving political statements but in Pakistan they are treated as god even though the country is suffering because of their bad governance.
November 13, 2012 1:45 pm
Pakistani army is the only army in the whole world, where the Generals can disgrace themselves in the eyes of law, public opinion and also the soldiers they command, but the morale of the fighting force will remain unaffected just because the army is feared by most politicians and the general public, and the Chief of the army has the knack of threatening all other lawful authorities of dire consequences in ambiguous terms. Such an army and such Generals are seen for the first time on the planet Earth in the land of the pure. All praise be to the Almighty Allah.
November 13, 2012 11:05 pm
Ali, your comments are correct. In Pakistan army, the generals are corrupt and political; the soldiers are professional, except some soldies who are kind of religeous and tend to be on the side of Taliban. The percentage of bearded soldiers is higher today than a decade ago.
November 13, 2012 10:58 pm
Pakistan army knows that it is the most powerful political party of Pakistan. Why not, they have all the guns. Kayani has been good, but he must avoid making political statements, particularly against SC. He will turn Pakistani public against army, if he continues to do that.
November 13, 2012 10:53 pm
Not only the military makes political statements, they take over the government. This has been happening because politicians in civil government play havoc with the national interests. Both the army and civilian government are at fault. Will you say that the present government deserves to be there!
November 13, 2012 10:39 pm
Civilian control over the military was an American tradition dating back to the founding of the republic. In his 1956 memoirs, Truman wrote: “If there is one basic element in our Constitution, it is civilian control of the military. Policies are to be made by the elected political officials, not by generals or admirals. Yet time and again Gen MacArthur had shown that he was unwilling to accept the policies of the administration. By his repeated public statements he was not only confusing our allies as to the true course of our policies but, in fact, was also setting his policy against the president’s… If I allowed him to defy the civil authorities in this manner, I myself would be violating my oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.” This should be an eye-opener for all of us. Karachi
November 13, 2012 10:29 pm
Shaheed according to Books you read is also a Muslim soldier serving in an Indian Army, He dies defending his country is also Shaheed. Go Figure!!
November 13, 2012 9:32 pm
Supreme court is no more supreme. They are cripple. Black coat have black hearts. If they have provided justice to common people, things would have been different. Most corrupt departments are courts and bureaucracy. Both departments hands need to be cut by sword.
November 13, 2012 8:55 pm
Wait...they will be compelled by mass
Cyrus Howell
November 13, 2012 10:44 am
God is obviously not in charge of the Pakistan Army or Pakistan. Democracy is only for energetic and committed people. You can have a sultan and an army.
Cyrus Howell
November 13, 2012 10:46 am
"Presently jujiciary is superimposing itself as the sole guardian of the state." . Because no one else will stand up.
November 13, 2012 10:53 am
And the govt is scared of What , send him a show-cause notice to appear in the parliament and explain
November 13, 2012 11:00 am
Very well said Ali
November 13, 2012 6:52 am
We all favor democracy in Pakistan but what we shall do when nearly all politicians are corrupt one way or other. Today total mess in Pakistan, incompetency and corruption is every where. Citizens are being killed but so called politicians are provided protection by police, nearly half of the police force is performing duty to protect MPAs and ministers etc if these politicians are real representative of people then why they afraid to move alone. Even SC has not taken suo muto action again the killing. Remember one day will come when people will again look at army for rescue.
akhter husain
November 13, 2012 7:00 am
Mr Iqbal you are right that no institution should impose its superiority on others not even the superior courts.The question is then who will resolve the dead locks we see every day.It is in fact the question of accepting the jurisdictions and limitations of all sections of society.The armed forces have shown great restraint so far and they should not be pushed too far to get astray and concentrate on defense of Pakistan to secure peace all over it..
Nasr KiKi
November 12, 2012 5:22 pm
What it is like now?
November 13, 2012 10:29 am
Pakistan media zindbad,Pakistan supreme court zindabad.Pakistan general ? :)
Cyrus Howell
November 13, 2012 10:32 am
He who rules the courts rules the law.
Cyrus Howell
November 13, 2012 10:35 am
Corruption and Betrayal.
November 12, 2012 5:29 pm
If he would be in another democratic country he would have been sacked by now bu elected government. Gov. of Pakistan do not have that guts. He is simply a General Oga am Army and his duty is to obey the orders of civilian Government. If he wants to do politics he should resign and Play politics. There is no hope for Pakistan as public as well as civilian government don't know their rights and duty.
November 13, 2012 2:59 am
Sure Asif-have they done anything good at all? Just read how they never let Pakistan to become a civilized society.
November 12, 2012 3:54 pm
Gen Kayani has been a good general and leader so far, on all the big issues such the ouster of Musharraf, the issue of re-establishing democracy and freeing up of the courts he has made the right decision. Any temptation to try to take Pakistan backwards to a coup I think is unlikely. Pakistan has greatly changed, I don't think most Pakistanis would stand for another coup today, 30 years ago it may have worked. but today is a whole new ball game, and I think the army is smart enough to realise it would be a mistake. The general has a point in that the SC needs to tread carefully in order to not weaken the army. However the people who rigged an election must be punished, regardless. Enforced dissapearances must also end, the law must apply to everyone. Army, judiciary, politicians the common man and especially the maulvis.
November 12, 2012 4:12 pm
Supreme court Zindabad
Drone Subramani
November 13, 2012 3:59 am
I like Kayani for some reason.He comes across as a moderate and reasonable individual compared to past hawks. He is not a sabre rattler and has been restrained in the best of times. However, he does give the impression that he is quite weak which is a big NO NO for the Pakistani public who are used to powerful alternative figures.But one thing is for sure- the Army seems to be losing one area after another in very rapid time...
November 13, 2012 3:54 am
The COAS says we should pause and think if we are promoting the rule of law and the constitution. Bravo! Has he paused and reflected on the army's 60 year track record of "promoting" the constitution?
November 13, 2012 12:41 am
judiciary is supreme than anything...so we should obey!
November 12, 2012 8:14 pm
That is a sensible comment.
November 12, 2012 8:11 pm
If the Armed Forces are made ineffective, then there is no Pakistan and no judiciary. Think hard & seriously.
November 12, 2012 8:08 pm
It all boils down to one stark fact. If the Armed Forces are destroyed & broken up by 'witch-hunt tactics' then there will be no judiciary or Pakistan as a State. Pakistanis have to decide what they want. No one will come to Pakistan's aid. So before it is too late let sanity & rule of law prevail. The Civilian Government, Judiciary & the Armed Forces must all work in harmony for the unity for Pakistan.
sultan ALI
November 12, 2012 7:56 pm
Khan Afzal
November 12, 2012 4:46 pm
It is against the basic human rights of any human being, including any suspect and a criminal to arrest them and not producing them before the court of justice. armed forces and security agencies are funded by public money to safeguard the life, dignity and honour of the citizens and not killing and torturing them and dumping their bodies like rubbish. If the armed forces need respect from the public they should keep away from the politics and concentrate more on the challenges that the country is facing. Also there is no one above the law, that is why there should not be any resentment from the army chief if the chief justice has decided the missing persons cases, making them responsible for missing individuals. Instead they should produce the missing people without any delay or tell the courts what has happened to them.
November 12, 2012 7:37 pm
Well - That is the problem once generals start thinking themselves as head of the state. COAS is simply 22 grade officer and he should remain within his limits as chief of the army staff and do not try to become the head of the state. Because civil govt is so weak and corrupt, that is why he will let go of this statement and no one will take any action against COAS. Courts are doing their job, so do not put pressure of your uniform on their judgement. No one is above the law and if generals broke that law in the past, violated their oath and crossed their limits, they are answerable to the court/public and must be punished if found gilty. Generals who have made millions of dollars, are answerable.
November 12, 2012 4:51 pm
No, Pakistan Zindabad. It includes all - the people, the media, the rulers, the judges and the military. No one above any one.
Amir Saeed
November 12, 2012 7:33 pm
ALL being the operative word
mohammad shafiq
November 12, 2012 3:34 pm
the sooner the army is brought to heel the better it is for the peoples of pakistan
Honest Speaker
November 12, 2012 6:38 pm
Kiyani's comment was simple and clear. No one is above the army in Pakistan.
November 12, 2012 6:11 pm
bang on
November 12, 2012 3:40 pm
Bring Fazlur Rehman. He is all the time prime minister in waiting.
Amjad Wyne
November 12, 2012 1:50 pm
Correct but the way judgements are being dolled out by the Supreme Court, it looks more like a factory that makes toys and not an institution that must deliberate carefully. I never heard of a situation anywhere in the world where an old case of monumental complexity comes up for a hearing, the parties involved are not even heard and the judgement is passed within days...Such actions and approaches are ill advised.
Ali abbas
November 12, 2012 1:42 pm
I am not sure if the judiciary is in acting hastily but they have been acting one sidedly. If Asghar Khans case was against PPP judiciary would have solved it quickly. Corruption case against sharifs and even his own son has been put on back burner and frivolous cases against PPP has been pursued on flimsy evidence. Does any one remember Hussain Haqqanis frivolous case. I do not agree on anything that military leaders says but judiciary is too busy usurping power. Judiciary has done even less than politicians to provide swift justice to poor Pakistanis.
November 12, 2012 7:30 am
Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has bad and selfish attitude, he wants to take Pakistan back to 1950's. What is Pakistan going through India went through same Journey in 1950 , no more imports, That is how domestic industry came up in India....All the best Pakistan
November 12, 2012 7:11 am
People wants justice not against Pak Army but all those who were involved in corruption
Kaleem Ullah
November 12, 2012 6:46 am
"When injustice becomes law then resistance becomes duty." This is what downtrodden masses of Pakistan are trying to do, but state's higher institutions are deploying enforced disappearances to curb mass mobilization movement for their rights. However, hats off to the Supreme Court for its courageous and sincere efforts for the revival of the Constitution. We need a Islamic democratic and welfare state with rights equally distributed unprejudiced and where justice prevails.
Morad 786
November 12, 2012 6:19 am
I do not envy the task of General Kayani who is having to manage the Security issues with the backdrop of the legacy issues and historical laundy washing! However, I do sense that this man is not only a defender of Pakistan but is also a very level-headed, ethical and genuinely a good and honest person! May Allah bestow more people and leaders upon us with these charactaristics
Shahzad S Iqbal
November 12, 2012 6:14 am
All institutions in Pakistan must operate under the constitution of the country and not try to superimpose their point of view or project their superiority in any way. It is not the job of our armed forces to indulge in politics of any nature. It is not the job of our generals to speak on subjects that do not pertain to our country’s defense. Gone are the days of a “state within a state” and our armed forces need to realize this and accept this because if there is Pakistan then there shall be any institution. Pakistan is 180 million people and not only some institutions that have historically had more than their share of the dues. Pakistan Zindabad forever Insha Allah
November 12, 2012 5:42 am
I don't agree with Kayani that Judiciary is in a haste. Asghar Khan case has been pending in the courts since 1996, hasn't it? People expect from courts that they do a little hastier rulings in numerous missing persons' cases.
November 12, 2012 4:56 am
A restless general? Long time no coup?
November 12, 2012 12:57 pm
Army is the pride for any nation. When public see latest toys in the hand of man in uniform, they feel proud and at the same time secure... But there should be no confusion interest of people should remain in the hand of democracy, security in the hand of army and justice in the hand of judiciary. No substitute for one another... progress, justice and security go hand in hand.. not one is baby of other...
Abdul Waheed
November 12, 2012 1:06 pm
Presently jujiciary is superimposing itself as the sole guardian of the state. The lawful authority i.e Parliament / political executive have shown weakness and surrenddred its powers / authorities to the two power ful institutions i.e military establishment and judicial establishment. As the judicial establishment has tried to dominate over military establishment in certain matters, the military establishment has shown its teeth through the statement of General Kayani. It will pacify the judicial establishment.
November 12, 2012 2:18 pm
The general is trying to flex his muscles.
Barak Obama
November 12, 2012 10:51 am
I haven't seen such a lazy and coward army chief in my whole life. and Other countries are so blessed that they dont have a chief like ours. who dont say anything whatever happens in pakistan.
November 12, 2012 11:01 am
If there is no judiciray we know how it will be like
Agha Ata (USA)
November 12, 2012 2:29 pm
The army officers have indulged in politics so often and for so long, have discussed politics in officers messes, on golf courses, in meetings, in parties, even in mess dinners (where, as a matter of fact, they are not supposed to discuss contradictory issues) that it has become a perfect and a very normal NORM to say things like what General Kiani said. I can identify with his feelings and attitudes under the circumstances. ?
November 12, 2012 1:28 pm
Yes and your evidence for making your claim is, let me guess: (1) Attack on CCHQ (2) OBL USA attack (3) Mehran Base attack (4) visible justice in case of NCL fraud (5) & on and on General concerned is level headed are you sure? or is it that he defending a thoroughly corrupt institution which monopolised power...
November 12, 2012 10:14 am
Kudos to Supreme court, Your are the supreme institution(Noor) of Pakistan.
November 12, 2012 9:29 am
Ah yes, rewrite history and remove the bad stuff...and bring out the whip in the media to bring them into line. We all get it. Dictatorship is only just around the corner (again).
November 12, 2012 1:28 pm
Because he knows that if he try to coup, people of Pakistan will tear him appart.
November 12, 2012 1:24 pm
In an interview in GEO TV with Alam Baig. His masage was loud and clear that no body mess with the Army. As if they (Army) is above the law. This interview is really an eye opener and showing inside the army affairs. This interview was held on Nov 10th.
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