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Institutions and national interest

November 18, 2012

THIS is with reference to the furore created over the statements given by Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. It is merely a coincidence that both statements appeared on the same day, but for anyone to assume that the scripts of both the statements were written in advance is merely a wild speculation devoid of any plausible basis.

In fact, the army chief and the chief justice both read out their scripts at two separate venues at different times of the day. The contents of both speeches were different and in no way reactionary to one another, they were not even reactionary and any judgment based on confrontation theory is superfluous.

Both the speeches emphasised the supremacy of the Constitution and also the rule of law. Seen in this context, the army and the judiciary both were advocating rules that spoke about integration of the institutions and consolidation of the right system of methods of governance.

It is very sad that a small segment of the print and electronic media, as usual, resorted to negatively criticising the speeches with biased intent and evil designs to yet again attempt to create confrontation between two prestigious national institutions.

The judiciary and the army both are totally committed to safeguarding the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law and are not seeking mutual confrontation. Such malicious designs with antistate agenda are detrimental to spirit of national harmony and smooth functioning of state. Under the prevailing situation, such attempts are neither acceptable nor desirable.

I think where the government erred was to allow NLC generals to be tried by the army. Once an army officer retires from service he puts off his uniform and for all practical purposes he is a reborn civilian and, therefore, answerable to the law like his civilian compatriots.

It is on record whenever any general has staged a military coup it has been hailed by the majority of the political parties except the aggrieved political party and that is understandable. Most politicians one way or the other have served dictators in the past and in some case strengthened their hands to prolong their stay in power.

Can this nation ever forget PMLsupport for Gen Pervez Musharraf when Pervez Elahi openly said his party would vote 10 times for Gen Musharraf to be elected in uniform?

The army should revisit its system and should adopt the old system where no statements were ever made by the army chief or ISPR except on military operations. There is no need to make any statement after every corps commanders’ conference as it ends up in a political sermon, and then we have unending talk shows on each and every sentence uttered by the army chief.

The issues raised by the chief justice and the army chief are of little value and interest. What is right or not should be left to the people of Pakistan.

M.A. BUTT Karachi