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Democratic institutions have nothing to fear from armed forces: COAS

20 December, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army on Tuesday made it clear that the democracy and the democratic institutions in the country had nothing to fear from it as armed forces were subservient to the constitution of Pakistan.

“Army is also an institution of the State of Pakistan. We work within our limits and will continue to play our constitutional role for security and stability of the country,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) DG Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor said after a briefing by Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to the Senate Committee of the Whole House on national security during an extraordinary in-camera session presided over by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani.

“You [parliament] will devise policies including that on defence and foreign affairs, whereas we [army] will abide by [the policies]. Army is subservient to the constitution …. it acts only according to law,” the COAS reportedly told the lawmakers during the briefing.

The civilian and military leadership reiterated to put in collective efforts to tackle terrorism and other issues facing the country.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) DG Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor, the Senate acknowledged army’s role and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.

Talking to reporters following the in-camera session, the DG said Pakistan was not fighting the war on terror for money. “As far as money is concerned, giving Pakistan $50 billion or so since 1947 … that is not our price. If assistance by America has been given to us in security domain, that is their national interest and being a superpower, they have defence cooperation with countries across the world,” he said, adding, “But making some payments against war on terror and then saying they are making heavy payments … Pakistan is, of course, not fighting for money.”

“We need nothing from the US, but acknowledgement for our contributions, our sacrifices and our efforts for peace in the region,” he stated.

Referring to the start of the war, the DG ISPR said, “We all know how the war on terror was started and how it was imposed upon us … we have fought it as our own war in the interest of our own country.”

“We did whatever we had to in the interest of Pakistan and what we do in the future will also be in our own interest,” said the army spokesman.

The DG added that Afghanistan’s war will no more be fought on Pakistani soil. He said there have been a plenty of discussions on what measures needed to be taken to deal with border issues and regarding an effective coordination mechanism. On US policy giving an upper hand to India in the region, Maj-Gen Ghafoor said the US being a superpower had its own interests in the region. “But one line which has been clarified to them from Pakistan is: any policy which compromises Pakistan’s national interest will not be right,” the spokesman said.

Speaking about the briefing given by General Bajwa, Maj-Gen Ghafoor said legislators should be well aware of the security situation in the country and it was good that certain things had been cleared during the session.

He said they were happy over the respect and warm welcome given to the army leadership on the occasion.

DGMO Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza reportedly briefed the lawmakers on the action taken by security forces under Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, which was launched in February. The army chief, DGMO, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence and Director General Inter-Services Public Relations arrived at the Parliament House amid strict security arrangements.

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