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> Monitor on Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan
November 2014

CMR Monitor
December 05, 2014
Islamabad

Download Monitor [PDF] [165 KB]

This Monitor of Civil-Military Relations covers the period of November 2014 and analyses the key issues affecting civil-military relations in Pakistan during this time.

Gen. Raheel Sharif’s Visit to the US

Gen. Raheel Sharif wrapped up his first official two-week visit to the United States as the Chief of Army Staff on Monday, December 01, 2014 that began on Sunday, November 16, 2014. The itinerary for his visit was as follows:

* On November 17, 2014, Gen. Sharif called on the Commander Centcom, Gen. Llyod J. Austin at Tampa, Florida.[1]
* On November 18, 2014, Gen. Sharif met the Deputy Secretary of Defence, Mr. Bob Work and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey at the Pentagon.[2]
* On November 18, 2014, Gen. Sharif held meetings with the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford at the Pentagon.[3]
* On November 19, 2014, Gen. Sharif held meetings on the Capitol Hill with the Chairman Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez, along with meeting Senator Robert Corker, Senator John McCain, and other senior members of the Committee. Gen. Sharif also met with the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Dianne Feinstein, on the same day.[4]
* On November 19, 2014, Gen. Sharif held a meeting with the American National Security Advisor, Ms. Susan Rice, at the White House. [5]
* The culmination of Gen. Sharif’s visit was his meeting with the U.S. Secretary of the Sate, Mr. John Kerry, on December 01, 2014 at the State Department.

The Director General Military Operations and Director General ISPR accompanied Gen. Sharif on his visit along with his personal staff. For the meetings on the Capitol Hill, reportedly, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani also accompanied Gen. Sharif.

An assessment of the visit was offered by DG ISPR, Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, who said that ‘there was a clear acknowledgment of Pakistan Army’s counter-terrorism efforts’ especially at the Capitol Hill. [6] The U.S. State Department’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mr. Daniel Feldman, said that ‘people in Washington were very pleased with Gen. Sharif’s commitment.’ [7]. However, the visit must be evaluated against some set objectives which were not made clear ahead of the visit. Keeping in view Gen. Sharif’s engagements while in the U.S. and the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb in FATA, these could possibly be delineated as ensuring America’s understanding of Pakistan’s efforts in war against terrorism and the recognition of the country’s concerns about situation expected to arise in Afghanistan following the partial withdrawal of NATO / ISAF troops. Although nothing substantive came out of the visit (such as a bilateral defence/security pact), important statements from Gen. Sharif that militants in Pakistan will be targeted without any discrimination, can serve to be its highlights alongside Mr. John Kerry’s statement that the Pakistan Army is a ‘truly a binding force.’ [8]

The visit must be also considered in the backdrop of statements emanating from the State Department apparently meant to allay concerns of an exclusive interaction of the U.S. leadership (including meetings on the Capitol Hill and with the Secretary of State) with the COAS, in which there was complete absence of the civilian bosses of the Army Chief including the Defence Minister or that of Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz. In this backdrop Mr. Daniel Feldman’s statement that ‘the U.S. engagement with the Pakistan military would not affect its relations with the civilian Government in Islamabad,’[9] is meaningful.

Furthermore, a certain disconnect was also observed between the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan during Gen. Sharif’s visit. The first instance was the statement made by Mr. Sartaj Aziz on November 17, 2014 that ‘America’s enemies do not necessarily have to be Pakistan’s enemies’ and that there was no need to ‘antagonize all group of militants.’ [10] This was in contradiction to DG ISPR Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa’s statement on November 21, 2014 that as far as the Haqqani network was concerned, ‘the Pakistan Army will not distinguish (between one group of terrorists and the other) on the battlefield.’ [11]

The second instance was when the Federal Minister for Defence, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, MNA, on November 25, 2014, questioned the reliability of the U.S. as Pakistan’s friend along with raising aspersions on the fruitfulness of America’s foreign policy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region.[12]

The timing of these statements was apparently damaging as it came not only days after President Ghani’s visit to Islamabad during which Pakistan pledged to support Afghanistan’s fight against the Taliban, and also while Gen. Sharif was making the rounds of Washington to pitch the military’s counterterrorism credentials and securing Pakistan’s security concerns in Afghanistan.

Lastly, Gen. (Retd.) Kayani’s first visit to the U.S. as the COAS perhaps could not have been more different in comparison to Gen. Sharif’s visit to the US. In his first visit to the US, in February 2009 as COAS, Gen. (Retd.) Kayani was accompanied by the then Foreign Minister, Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Although, as per the previous practice, the former held extensive meetings with the defence establishment of America, it was Mr. Qureshi who held meetings with the Congressional leaders at the Capitol Hill and with the US Secretary of State, Ms. Hilary Clinton.[13]

President Ghani – COAS Interactions

The newly elected Afghan President Mr. Ashraf Ghani met twice with Gen. Raheel Sharif during the month of November 2014.

On November 06, 2014, Gen. Raheel Sharif visited Kabul to call on President Ghani where he also met with other Afghan officials including the Chief Executive Officer Mr. Abdullah Abdullah, the National Security Adviser Mr. Hanif Atmar, the Defence Minister Gen. Bismillah Muhammadi and the Chief of General Staff Gen. Sher Muhammad Karimi. According to a Press Release issued by the ISPR, Gen. Sharif regarded the election of President Ghani as ‘a historic opportunity to transform Pak-Afghan relations into a warm and mutually beneficial relationship’. Significantly, other topics that came under discussion were better Pakistan – Afghanistan border coordination along with Pakistan’s offer to train Afghan security forces. [14]

On November 14, 2014, President Ghani called on Gen. Raheel Sharif at the GHQ in Rawalpindi while on his two-day visit to Pakistan. According to a Press Release issued by the ISPR, the Afghan Defence Minister, Gen. Bismillah Muhammadi, and the Chief of General Staff, Gen. Sher Muhammad Karimi, accompanied President Ghani. The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, the Foreign Secretary, Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Defence Secretary, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Alam Khattak, and DG ISI, Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar.[15] The Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif, MNA was conspicuous by his absence.

During the meeting, President Ghani emphasized that Afghanistan wanted to ‘bolster security and defence ties with Pakistan including cooperation in border management and training (of the Afghan forces)’.[16] This is considered to be a significant development for Pakistan-Afghan military-military relations since previously, the Afghan Government had only looked to India and the U.S. for the training of its forces.

Although many believe that the Afghan President broke the protocol by visiting the GHQ as soon as he landed, it should be noted that the primary mutual concern between the Afghanistan and the Pakistan Government are the security issues. Although it is a set norm for high level military officials to visit the GHQ to call on the COAS, (for example, most recently NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Commander in Afghanistan Gen. Joseph Dunford visited Gen. Sharif at the GHQ on December 15, 2013), [17] it is unusual for a visiting head of State to visit the GHQ. Mr. Hamid Karzai, during his tenure as the Afghan President, visited Pakistan a total of 20 times, but the GHQ never once.[18]

Pakistan Army has undertaken 178 development projects in FATA and Malakand Areas: COAS

According to a Press Release issued by the ISPR, on November 09, 2014, Gen. Sharif while inaugurating a section of the Central Trade Corridor in South Waziristan stated that the Pakistan Army had undertaken ‘178 projects so far in social sector, communication infrastructure and power sector in FATA and Malakand areas’. [19] According to the Press Release, the Central Trade Corridor, a 705 KM long road network through southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, is being built by Army Engineers and is funded by ‘friendly countries’.[20]

It is PILDAT’s opinion that the civilian Government must realize that it is their job to rehabilitate the region’s socio-economic landscape. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, along with ensuring the rehabilitation of the 69,021 internally displaced families after Operation Zarb-e-Azb,[21] should lead the development of FATA along the lines of the Comprehensive Response Plan (CRP) outlined in the National Internal Security Policy of Pakistan, 2014 – 2018. It is perhaps also important to note that although a FATA Development Authority (FATA-DA) exists, it is mandated to work on only four sectors including power, industries, minerals and skills development. Resultantly, most of the infrastructure development in being carried out by the Pakistan Army in the war-torn agencies.

Premier-COAS interaction

The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Raheel Sharif called on the Prime Minister once during the month of November 2014 on Wednesday, November 05, 2014. Although no press release was issued for the meeting either by the Prime Minister’s Office or the ISPR, according to media reports,[22] the overall law and order situation of the country came under discussion keeping in view the recent upsurge of terrorism such as the Wahga Attack on November 02, 2014.

It was in this context that the Prime Minister and the COAS decided to improve coordination between the intelligence agencies by activating NACTA. This decision came in the backdrop of a statement by the Federal Minister for Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, last month in which he stated that the Joint Intelligence Directorate, a platform for intelligence coordination, could not be activated because of a ‘financial crunch’ that the Federal Government was facing.[23]

PILDAT has been of the opinion that keeping in view the increased backlash of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb being felt across the country, the importance of the Joint Intelligence Directorate and the activation of NACTA has increased manifold. Furthermore, according to PILDAT’s Public Opinion Poll on the Quality of Governance in Pakistan, June 2013 – May 2014, security issues, including terrorism have been identified by the respondents as one of the four biggest problems plaguing Pakistan. [24] Keeping in view the growing complexity of terrorist organizations, and the favorable public opinion on cracking down on such outfits, the Federal Government should immediately activate the relevant forums such as NACTA and the Joint Intelligence Directorate to effectively deal with the menace.

References:

1. For exact text of the Press Release, please the ISPR’s Press Release on November 17, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&date=2014/11/17

2. For exact text of the Press Release, please see the U.S. Department of Defense’ Press Release on November 18, 2014 titled Readout of Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work’s and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey’s meetings with Gen. Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
http://www.defense.gov/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=17034

3. For details, please see Army chief holds talks at Pentagon, Dawn, November 19, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
http://www.dawn.com/news/1145405/army-chief-holds-talks-at-pentagon

4. For the exact text of the Press Release, please the ISPR’s Press Release on November 20, 2014 titled Chief of Army Staff’s Interactions at the Capitol Hill, as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&date=2014/11/20

5. Ibid.

6. For details, please see Pak army efforts acknowledged; good-will gained: DG-ISPR, The News, November 21, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-34235-Pak-army-efforts-acknowledged;-goodwill-gained-DG-ISPR

7. For details, please see Gen. Sharif’s stance on terrorists pleases US, Dawn, November 28, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
http://www.dawn.com/news/1147392

8. For exact text of the Press Release, please see ISPR’s Press Release on December 01, 2014, as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&date=2014/12/1

9. For details, please Military talks with US begin on positive note, Dawn, November 17, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
http://www.dawn.com/news/1145015/military-talks-with-us-begin-on-positive-note

10. For details, please see Aziz criticized for making good, bad Taliban distinction, Dawn, November 20, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
http://www.dawn.com/news/1145708/aziz-criticised-for-good-bad-taliban-distinction

11. For details, please see Pak army efforts acknowledged; goodwill gained: DG ISPR, Dawn, November 21, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-34235-Pak-army-efforts-acknowledged;-goodwill-gained-DG-ISPR

12. For details, please see Washington not a reliable friend: Asif, Dawn, November 26, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
http://www.dawn.com/news/1146987

13. For details, please see the Press Release by Embassy of Pakistan in the U.S. titled Visits of Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
http://embassyofpakistanusa.org/news310A_230209.php

14. For exact text of the Press Release, please see the ISPR’s Press Release on November 06, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&date=2014/11/6

15. For exact text of the Press Release, please see ISPR’s Press Release on November 14, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&date=2014/11/14

16. Ibid.

17. For details, please see NATO’s ISAF Commander in Afghanistan arrives in Pakistan, Dawn, December 16, 2013 as accessed on December 19, 2014 at:
http://www.dawn.com/news/1074440

18. For details, please see Best efforts made to stop terrorism emanating from Pakistan: Hamid Karzai, NDTV, November 20, 2014 as accessed on December 19, 2014 at:
http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/best-efforts-made-to-stop-terrorism-emanting-from-pakistan-hamid-karzai-623217

19. For the exact text of the Press Release, please see the ISPR’s Press Release on November 09, 2014 as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
https://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=2696

20. Ibid.

21. For details, please see PILDAT’s Monitor on Civil – Military Relations for the month of October 2014 at:
http://www.pildat.org/Publications/Publication/CMR/MonitorOnCivil-MilitaryRelationsinPakistan_Oct012014_Oct312014.pdf

22. For details, please see Govt., army agree to activate NACTA, The Nation, November 06, 2014, as accessed on December 26, 2014 at:
http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/06-Nov-2014/govt-army-agree-to-activate-nacta

23. For details, please see PILDAT’s Monitor on Civil-Military Relations for the month of October 2014 which can be accessed at:
http://www.pildat.org/Publications/Publication/CMR/MonitorOnCivil-MilitaryRelationsinPakistan_Oct012014_Oct312014.pdf

24. For details, please see PILDAT’s Public Opinion Poll on the Quality of Governance in Pakistan, First Year of Federal and Provincial Governments, June 2013 – May 2014 that can be accessed at:
http://www.pildat.org/Publications/Publication/Democracy&LegStr/PublicOpiniononQualityofGovernanceinPakistan_Sep2014.pdf

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