Farhatullah Babar terms Civil-Military relationship ‘very fragile’

ISLAMABAD: Civil-Military relationship is very fragile, at the moment and, ‘We are not on the same page,’ say Senator Farahatullah Babar.

Speaking at the seminar titled “Civil Military Relations: Challenges and Way Forward,” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute on Monday he said, the trust deficit between the two is evident and without a sustainable civil-military relationships, country cannot move forward. He said both Islamabad and Rawalpindi are equally responsible for damaging this relationship.

Military does not consider itself accountable to the civil institutions which have a historic background. He criticized PTI for damaging civilian authority through the politics of dharma. “Dharnas, in the political history of Pakistan achieve nothing, but it delegitimizing political parties, delegitimize democracy and parliament”, he added.

He said there should be a parliamentary committee on national security to maintain oversight on security matters. The committee should be empowered enough to administer accountability at all level.

Earlier, Lieutenant General (R ) Abdul Qayyum, Senator Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) said, respect for the constitution and strengthening the democracy is the only way forward for progress.  He said, whenever there was military coup in Pakistan, both the institution of army and the country suffer. If we do analysis with responsibility, all sides are equally responsible for difficulty in relations, he said. We should not have extremely critical views regarding our army. With the passage of time thing would get better. Now the judiciary is doing good job, we have vibrant civil society and free media, he added.

Imtiaz Gul, Executive Director of Center for Research and Security Studies said, democracy should not be used as vehicle to get to the powerhouse and, fulfill personal interest.  He said politician should learn from their past mistakes.

“The relationship can only improve when civilian side act with integrity and honesty. Only than they trumped military establishment easily”, he added.

Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, Independent Social Scientist and Author of Military Inc. said, the Prime Minister is implementing the policy that he does not own. She said, the problem lies in Pakistan colonial bureaucratic power structure, which is the major reason of the current situation.

She said the politician often forget that the legitimacy cannot be achieved through electoral victory alone. They need to improve governance, as well. “We do not have a political leadership in the past from 1950 that came without the patronage of military establishment.”

Zahid Hussain, Senior Journalist and Author said, it is evident that in the past several years the power has tilted towards military, and there is no doubt in it. He said, Pakistan has been national security state owing to several external and internal factors. We fought three wars with India, we are fighting War on Terror, we are front line state, which make army more relevant and powerful, he added. ‘I believe,’ the power structure in Pakistan has never change, he said. Army played political arbiter’s role, many a time in the past, at the time of premature change of hands across the fence.

He said there is hardly any debate in the parliament on the subject. ‘If you do not take the parliament serious, than how you would take other things serious,’ he said.

“No one give you power in the plate. Power comes through ownership, assertion and governance and policies. Without sharing the responsibility, you cannot run the government. We do not have a regular foreign minister. Legitimacy cannot be achieved only through vote. You need to have moral authority, which gives more space to the politicians to perform”, he added.

He said, strengthening all civilian institution in the country, is need of the hour. And without that we cannot move forward.

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