Ground reality

Published February 29, 2024

THIS is with reference to the article ‘Security decisions’ (Jan 21) which put forth some valid arguments in support of having a National Security Council (NSC) in Pakistan. We have had a chequered history in this regard.

As such, the idea of having an NSC has generally not gone well with the elected members of parliament. The idea was initially abandoned primarily on the grounds that it would give consti-tutional legitimacy to military interference in political affairs. Elected rulers believed that the presence of the chiefs of Pakistan’s armed forces in the NSC would undermine the mandate of elected governments.

To be honest, this was a weak and hollow argument in the face of the manner in which national politics has been practised throughout national history. The opponents of NSC need to ask themselves if the civilian leaders over the years have, or have not, asked or contacted the military leadership to interfere on their behalf to deal with an elected leader to salvage their position in the elections.

Not surprisingly, the answer to this simple question is not even an open secret anymore; it is not a secret at all.

With that being the ground reality, what is there to oppose an active role under the NSC banner? At least, the burden of responsibility as well as the ownership of the final decisions will be shared in the right proportions an in full public view.

Abid Mahmud Ansari
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, February 29th, 2024

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