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Totally wrong for subordinate organisation to reject PM orders: Senate

12 May, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Legislators in the Upper House of parliament on Thursday were informed that it was totally wrong for a subordinate organisation to reject the order of an elected prime minister.

Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani during the proceedings of the House asked Senator Farhatullah Babar if it was right for a subordinate organisation to reject the order of the prime minister, to which the latter replied “it was absolutely wrong”. According to rules, Rabbani said, the federal government can control and command all armed forces. He also said that all forces came under the Ministry of Defence, headed by a federal minister. The chairman asked leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq, opposition leader in Senate Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan and Javed Abbasi to inform the House about the control of armed forces today (Friday).

Senator Farhatullah Babar, while taking part in the discussion, said that withdrawal of the controversial tweet by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and the closure of potentially destabilising Dawn Leaks saga were a matter of satisfaction. However, he said it was important to learn appropriate lessons from the incidents to avert clash among state institutions in the future. “The Dawn Leaks spoke of divergence in views expressed in the meeting,” he said, adding that if true, there was a need to enhance national security instead of undermining it.

“If the report of a meeting in the PM’s House had indeed breached national security, what about the January 17 report in the Times of London of a garrison meeting in Kharian?” he asked.

Reading out from The Time’s report, he said that it claimed, “Tensions have emerged within Pakistan’s military with officers concerned that their powerful army is losing its superiority and standing...”

The Times report even listed the questions asked, claiming also that in reply, the army chief told the officers, “You do your job and let me do mine”.

“Why this hypocrisy? What’s sauce for the goose must also be sauce for the gander,” he said.

He also criticised tweeting institutional differences, saying that the ISPR tweet was most inappropriate, unfortunate and uncalled for, and should not have taken place in the first instance. He also recalled an earlier ISPR tweet that hugely embarrassed Iranian president just when he set his foot on the soil of Pakistan, during his first state visit, and hoped that it would also be withdrawn. “The withdrawal of the March tweet will enhance, and not undermine, the prestige of the ISPR,” he said.

He said that as a result of Dawn Leaks, three trusted and competent professionals were sacked, and it was not wrong if those sacked were not censured publicly. “Not long ago, did the army itself not follow this principle by keeping a lid on those senior officers reportedly sacked for corruption?” he asked. “It was right and proper not to cause public humiliation. Why this insistence on public humiliation of civilians?”

Opening discussion on Mardan University student Mashal’s lynching, Senator Farhatullah Babar called for making use of observations contained in the 1992 report of the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice to open a debate on preventing misuse of the blasphemy law. The committee, he said, while endorsing an amendment to Section 295 to provide for death penalty for blasphemy, also made some observations about the law, which could provide a basis for moving forward to prevent the misuse, even without changing the law itself.

The Senate began discussion on several important issues on the motions moved by Aitzaz Ahsan and others.

Muhammad Azam Khan Swati said politicians, lawmakers, scholars, lawyers and every segment of society would have to play their due role to change the extremist mindset and to present a soft image of Pakistan and Islam. Sherry Rehman said that growing intolerance was becoming a serious issue in our society. She said serious efforts should be made to check mob violence.

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