ISLAMABAD: The army’s top brass on Tuesday said it backed state institutions in ensuring the writ of the state and adherence to the rule of law.
The Inter-Services Public Relations said the 215th Corps Commanders’ Conference “expressed its resolve for continued support to all state institutions for ensuring writ of the state and rule of law in which lies the peace, stability and prosperity of the country”.
Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa presided over the meeting, which was attended by corps commanders and principal staff officers. The meeting, which is a monthly feature, took stock of the internal security situation in addition to external environment.
Although ISPR did not mention in which context this resolve was expressed, it seemed that the observation was related to recent protests by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and other religious parties against the acquittal of Aasia Bibi, a blasphemy accused, by the Supreme Court. The protesting leaders had made inflammatory speeches against the judiciary and military leadership.
Corps commanders meeting expresses resolve to back institutions in ensuring adherence to the rule of law
The ISPR, in a reaction to the anti-army statements during the protests, reminded the protesters of constitutional limits and asked for those to be respected. “We have so far been tolerating, but action can be taken when constitutional limits are crossed. Don’t force us to take steps that are allowed constitutionally,” military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had on that occasion said.
The National Security Committee had in its meeting on Nov 6 also stressed on the “rule of law” for the country’s progress.
Almost 11 days have passed since the TLP sit-in ended after a deal with the federal and Punjab governments, but still there has been no action against those who made provocative speeches. The government has instead accused the opposition parties of being behind the violent protests.
The military also expressed its support for the various efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. The ISPR said the corps commanders supported “all initiatives towards regional peace” and pledged to continue efforts for bringing enduring peace to the country.
Pakistan had last month released former Taliban deputy chief Mullah Baradar at the request of the United States for facilitating peace talks in Afghanistan. The US initiative, which started with direct contacts with the Taliban and appointment of Zalmay Khalilzad as special envoy for peace and reconciliation, is continuing.
Ambassador Khalilzad is in the region for contacts with stakeholders and another round of talks with the Taliban.
Meanwhile, Russia had last week hosted a meeting of the ‘Moscow format’, which was attended by the representatives of Taliban and a number of regional countries.
“Progress of ongoing operations, fencing along Pak-Afghan border, situation along the eastern border including Indian ceasefire violations deliberately targeting innocent citizens were also discussed,” the ISPR said.
Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2018