ISLAMABAD: Whether it was the fear of the unknown or sheer incompetence, the successive governments of the PPP and the PML-N have failed moving even an inch in respect to their commitment made under Charter of Democracy for reforms concerning civil-military relations.
Signed in 2006 by the two former Prime Ministers, late Benazir Bhutto of PPP and Mian Nawaz Sharif of PML-N, in 2006, the CoD had pledged to disband political wings of all intelligences agencies besides making them accountable to the elected government.
The two parties also resolved to form a committee to cut waste in the defence establishment in the best interest of the defence and security of the country. The CoD also committed that all senior postings in intelligence agencies shall be made with the approval of the government.
The CoD also wanted change in the military land allotments policy. The Charter in particular had announced to look into the military land
allotments during Gen ® Musharraf tenure to penalize those who had indulged in malpractices.
However, neither of the two governments, which ruled Pakistan since 2008 had the guts to even discuss these matters during their respective rules despite their uneasiness in respect to civil-military relations.
The recently ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif talked about grand dialogue to uphold constitutional rule and civilian supremacy only after he was disqualified but even then he could not move even a step to discuss what has traditionally disturbed civil-military relations.
During his government and in the backdrop of 2014 sit-in, no less than Sharif’s then defence minister Khawaja Asif (now foreign minister) had alleged that two former ISI DGs including the one leading the agency then were behind the “London Plan” conspiracy against the PML-N government. Yet Nawaz Sharif government did not opt to initiate any inquiry or reform the system as per the commitments made in the CoD.
During the PPP government, there has also been public statements like “state within the state” made by even the then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani but the regime did not have the courage to discuss these issues for a permanent solution.
A few months back, the Chairman Senate called for inter-institutional dialogue to bring the country out of its prevailing crisis and tackle ongoing issues. He had offered that the Senate’s forum was ready to host this inter-institutional dialogue but has not yet come up with a follow-up mechanism to hold this much needed inter-institutional dialogue.
In the Charter of Democracy, the PPP and the PML-N in regard to the civi-military relations had pledged:
“D CIVIL - MILITARY RELATIONS
32. The ISI, MI and other security agencies shall be accountable to the elected government through Prime Minister Sectt, Ministry of Defence, and Cabinet Division respectively. Their budgets will be approved by DCC after recommendations are prepared by the respective ministry. The political wings of all intelligence agencies will be disbanded. A committee will be formed to cut waste and bloat in the armed forces and security agencies in the interest of the defence and security of the country. All senior postings in these agencies shall be made with the approval of the government through respective ministry.
33. All indemnities and savings introduced by military regimes in the constitution shall be reviewed.
34. Defence budget shall be placed before the parliament for debate and approval.
35. Military land allotment and cantonment jurisdictions will come under the purview of defence ministry. A commission shall be set up to review, scrutinise, and examine the legitimacy of all such land allotment rules, regulations, and policies, along with all cases of state land allotment including those of military urban and agricultural land allotments since 12th October, 1999 to hold those accountable who have indulged in malpractices, profiteering, and favouritism.
36. Rules of business of the federal and provincial governments shall be reviewed to bring them in conformity with parliamentary form of government.”