Decision of army chief General Qamar Bajwa to accept invitation of the Senate to visit parliament and deliver a briefing on wide range of issues is a welcoming development. Along with Chief of Army Staff (COAS), DG ISI, DG MI and DGMO were also present in in-camera meeting as military leadership briefed the house over national security policy. Military leadership briefed the upper house regarding the Pakistan’s strategy over the war against terrorism while DGMO also briefed the house over the security.
Director General Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor told media that briefing went on for an hour and a half, followed by a “very candid, very free, very frank, very objective” question-answer session. “The parliamentarians have lauded the armed forces role and its sacrifices rendered in war against terrorism as the senators asked the questions on merit which were replied in details by the military leadership,” he said.
In the session apart from national security policy, internal issues were also discussed. There were apprehensions among the lawmakers regarding alleged role of army in the negotiations with Faizabad protesters. As per reports, General Bajwa refuted rumours of the army lending any support to the protesters during the recent Faizabad sit-in. Lawmakers not only lauded COAS for the briefing but also they were of the view that briefing had ‘clarified many things’.
Reportedly, COAS also disassociated the army as an institution and state organ from former military men who are usually found talking on media as experts of almost every field. It is welcoming that army cleared its stance because there few from the TV audience who consider such experts as spokespersons of the army. It has been witnessed that at times politicians and few media persons claim that in their demands they share the desire of establishment too. In such instances it would be best if clear and strict message given to them in distancing army from such hollow claims.
Gen Bajwa has set a pleasant precedent and it is hoped that it will be regularly followed. It is also welcoming that session gave senators a chance to question the army chief about various issues including the fight against militancy. His appearance in front of the Senate and discussing matters of national and internal security is pleasant development considering the speculations that perhaps state institutions are not enjoying the best of relations.