‘No in­di­vid­ual has mo­nop­oly to de­fine ul­ti­mate na­tional in­ter­est’

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

RAWALPINDI

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen­eral Ash­faq Parvez Kayani said on Mon­day that no in­di­vid­ual or in­sti­tu­tion has the mo­nop­oly to de­cide what is right or wrong in defin­ing the ul­ti­mate na­tional in­ter­est.

"It should emerge only through a con­sen­sus, and all Pak­ista­nis have a right to ex­press their opin­ions. The con­sti­tu­tion pro­vides a clear mech­a­nism for it," he said while speak­ing to a group of of­fi­cers at GHQ here.

Ac­cord­ing to an ISPR press re­lease is­sued here, Gen Kayani said, "as a na­tion, we are pass­ing through a defin­ing phase. "We are crit­i­cally look­ing at the mis­takes made in the past and try­ing to set the course for a bet­ter fu­ture. An in­tense dis­cus­sion and de­bate is nat­u­ral in this process." The COAS said, "We all have a great re­spon­si­bil­ity to our shoul­ders. We should learn from our past, try to build the present and keep our eyes set on a bet­ter fu­ture. We all agree that strength­en­ing the in­sti­tu­tions, en­sur­ing the rule of law and work­ing within the well de­fined bounds of the con­sti­tu­tion is the right way for­ward."

He said weak­en­ing of the in­sti­tu­tions and try­ing to as­sume more than one's due role will set us back, adding, "We owe it to the fu­ture of Pak­istan, to lay cor­rect foun­da­tions, to­day. We should not be car­ried away by short term con­sid­er­a­tions which may have greater neg­a­tive con­se­quences in the fu­ture."

He said that Armed Forces draw their strength from the bedrock of the pub­lic sup­port. Na­tional se­cu­rity is mean­ing­less with­out it. There­fore, any ef­fort which wit­tingly or un­wit­tingly draws a wedge be­tween the peo­ple and Armed Forces of Pak­istan un­der­mines the larger na­tional in­ter­est.

While con­struc­tive criticism is well un­der­stood, con­spir­acy the­o­ries based on ru­mours which cre­ate doubts about the very in­tent, are un­ac­cept­able. He said the in­tegrity and co­he­sion of the Armed Forces is es­sen­tially based on the trust re­posed in them by the peo­ple of Pak­istan.

Strength­en­ing this trust will en­sure bet­ter se­cu­rity of the Coun­try. Equally im­por­tant is the trust be­tween the lead­ers and the led of the Armed Forces, he added.

Gen. Kayani said any ef­fort to cre­ate a dis­tinc­tion be­tween the two, un­der­mines the ba­sis of this con­cept and is not tol­er­ated, be it Pak­istan or any other coun­try. While in­di­vid­ual mis­takes might have been made by all of us in the Coun­try, these should be best left to the due process of law, he said and added, as we all are striv­ing for the rule of law, the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple; that no one is guilty un­til proven, should not be for­got­ten. Let us not pre judge any­one, be it a civil­ian or a mil­i­tary per­son and ex­tend it, un­nec­es­sar­ily, to un­der­mine re­spec­tive in­sti­tu­tions." He said all sys­tems in Pak­istan ap­pear to be in a haste to achieve some­thing, which can have both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive im­pli­ca­tions.

"Let us take a pause and ex­am­ine the two fun­da­men­tal ques­tions; One, are we pro­mot­ing the rule of law and the Con­sti­tu­tion? Two, are we strength­en­ing or weak­en­ing the in­sti­tu­tions? In the ul­ti­mate anal­y­sis, all of us would have served Pak­istan bet­ter if his­tory and our fu­ture gen­er­a­tions judge us pos­i­tively," he con­cluded.

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