ISLAMABAD - In order to ‘mend’ the relationship between the civilian government and the military, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif are likely to meet Tuesday (today) at the PM’s House.
According to official sources, the high-level meeting will also be attended by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam.
Though the formal agenda of the meeting relates to security issues and talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, official sources told The Nation that the high treason case of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf would also be discussed as part of the informal agenda of the important meeting.
According to the sources, in the wake of the recent tension between the civilian and military leadership, a three-star general, close to the PML-N senior leadership, acted as a bridge between the civilian government and the military leadership, laying down basic modalities for the meeting.
The meeting, the sources added, would also discuss the situation arising after the statements of certain cabinet members and the statement of Gen Raheel Sharif which he gave during his visit to the Special Services Group (SSG) at Ghazi Base at Tarbela.
At the said meeting, the COAS had said, “Pakistan Army upholds the sanctity of all institutions and will resolutely preserve its own dignity and institutional pride,” according to the press statement released by the ISPR.
The army chief’s extraordinary statement did not directly refer to Musharraf’s trial, but it was seen as reflecting the deep discomfort among the army over the treason trial.
The ISPR statement noted the army chief had made the remarks in response to “the concerns of soldiers over undue criticism of the institution (army) in the recent days”. The statements of Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique were seen as provocative, touching a raw nerve of the military. However, both the ministers stuck to their guns and asserted that their statements were against dictatorship and not intended to ridicule the army.
Nevertheless, the statements created a stir and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, during a press conference held a day earlier, also admitted the relationship between the military and the civilian government had suffered, but expressed the hope for a settlement in the relations soon.