ISLAMABAD: Following criticism in the corps commanders’ conference of effo­rts to implement the Natio­nal Action Plan, the government on Wednesday offered a subtle yet firm defence of its actions, reminding all national institutions that NAP enforcement was a shared responsibility.

The three-paragraph statement, which was issued out of the blue on Wednesday evening after an eventful sitting of the National Assembly, appeared to be a direct response to the ISPR statement, issued after Tuesday’s conference.

The uncharacteristic response came even as the prime minister spent the day with navy personnel in Karachi. Released from the official account of the PM Office’s public relations officer, the statement also pointed out that the goal of NAP implementation had to be pursued by all national institutions “while remaining within the ambit of the constitution”.

A senior officer from the media wing of the PM’s Office told Dawn, “The statement has been released on the instructions of the information minister”. However, Pervaiz Rashid was not available for comment.

Apparent response to GHQ’s criticism issued; Achakzai comes to government’s defence in NA

Another official from the PM’s Office who was involved with the preparation of the statement, told Dawn, “Dr Mussadik Malik and Senator Pervaiz Rashid were personally involved in the construction of the statement, which was later handed down to the media wing for official release.”

When asked what prompted the government to release the statement, the official said, “It was obviously in response to the ISPR release, where the civilian government has been criticised in so many words for not doing its part to ensure NAP implementation.”

The military’s open criticism of the government’s performance had already been the main topic of discussion in the National Assembly, but strangely, only Mehmood Khan Achakzai came to the government’s aid during the debate on the floor of the house.

The ISPR statement had taken note of the “inadequate supporting actions by civilian agencies”, something that angered the PkMAP leader, who insisted that the military establishment had no right to make such public statements.

Both PTI and PPP, however, endorsed the military’s stance. Opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah said if the government had been delivering what was expected of it, the military would not have had to make such a statement.

PTI’s Shafqat Mehmood pointed out that in the 11 months that NAP had been in force, the army had created enough space for the government. Unfortunately, though, “nothing has been done by the civilian government. I don’t see judicial and police reforms, which have been regularly highlighted at various forums”.

“It is high time the government takes charge and starts delivering, before it’s too late,” he said, forebodingly.

Mr Achakzai, who appea­red to be the only one defending the government, pointed out that the ISPR statement was against the spirit of the Constitution and that the government should seek the Supreme Court’s opinion in this regard.

Then, to allay any doubts regarding his loyalties, he declared, “If something untoward happens tomorrow, I will be standing with the civilian Sharif.”

Referring to the military’s increasing influence on matters of foreign and defence policy, Mr Achakzai said, “I will only accept the policies that have the backing of this parliament.”

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2015


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