Senate of Pakistan

Babar slams hawkish mindset of so-called patriots

November 29, 2012

ISLAMABAD - A credible member of a parliamentary panel on defence has slammed the hawkish mindset projected by certain “self-proclaimed patriots and so-called scholars” to label anyone including an elected prime minister as security risk, cautioning that this kind of approach could have disastrous implications for Pakistan.

“There is an element comprising of some self-proclaimed patriots and so-called scholars who are sadly mistaken that nobody is more patriotic than them. They think that the mandate to coin the superficial analogies of national interest lies with their sweet will,” said Presidential Spokesman and veteran politician Senator Farhatullah Babar while addressing an interactive session of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production on civil-military relations, here on Wednesday.

“In the past, a democratically elected prime minister of Pakistan was stigmatised as ‘security risk,’ what could be more shameful than that? The will of people of Pakistan has been denied and insulted by certain quarters on the basis of far-fetched, unrealistic and totally absurd notions of patriotism,” he said referring to the slain Pakistan People’s Party chief Benazir Bhutto been dubbed as a ‘security risk’ in 1990s by the then establishment led by former Army Chief General (r) Mirza Aslam Baig and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General (r) Asad Durrani. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the government to try both the former generals for rigging the 1990 polls that led to the PPP defeat.

Coming down hard on some circles who believed that army was being ‘bashed’ and ‘victimised,’ Senator Babar said, “Let us not get disoriented by hawkish elements who try to hijack moderate Pakistani society. There’s no army bashing.  Let us be very clear; when we discuss civil-military relationship or when we take up issues like defence budget, it doesn’t mean we resort to army bashing. All the segments of society are well aware of their responsibilities and no institution is the target of victimisation. The civil-military relations will have a smooth sailing provided that certain notions based on misgivings are eradicated.”

He said that the entire nation respected and appreciated Pakistan Army’s role in war against terror. “The public, politicians, parliament, press as well as the entire Pakistan recognises army’s front-line role in fight against militancy. We are ready to cooperate at every level. If there’re certain sensitive issues that can’t be talked about publicly, we’re ready for in-camera sessions,” the senator said.

Referring to the delegation of powers concerning National Command  Authority (NCA) from president to PM, Senator Babar said, “PM is part and parcel of Parliament which needs to be taken onboard on national security issues. But if we keep following the evasive perceptions about patriotism and keep measuring our loyalties as ‘more or less’, we’ we’ll never pull our thoughts out of medievalism. Nobody is more patriot and nobody is less patriot. We all love Pakistan and everybody wants its betterment. The pitiful mindset that glorifies itself at the cost of ridiculing others needs to be changed. Its essential for peace, progress and prosperity,” Farhatullah Babar, the noted parliamentarian, said.

Earlier, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said, the Senate committee will work as a bridge between parliamentarians and military to find unanimous solution to the problems being faced by the country including the main issues of national security and fighting war against extremism and terrorism. In the present circumstances, he said, with strong military, vibrant media and civil society, effective judiciary and dynamic parliament, there is a need to have a dialogue among the all stakeholder to face the challenges. The senator said there is a lot of room and space for the civil society and parliament to play more effective role in the national affairs by showing maturity, good governance and improvement of law and order situation in the country.

“We should strike a balance while discussing civil-military relationship. Healthy criticism and identifying grey areas lead to solution of problems,” he said.

Highlighting committees’ objectives for improving civil-military relationship, the chairman defence panel said, the Senate defence committee strives to play the role of a bridge between military and media.

In the prevailing scenario, it becomes more essential for military leadership to create a healthy working relationship with political leadership,” Mushahid believed saying that no institution could exist in isolation.

“The people of Pakistan, parliament and the civil society have always extended cooperation and support to military in its drive against terrorism. Mutual cooperation is beneficial for all institutions,” he said.


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