Pakistan Army Back From The Barracks: Need For Alert In India – Analysis


Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), who had taken the Army back into the barracks after succeeding Gen.Pervez Musharraf as the COAS and announced that the Army would no longer dabble in politics, has reversed his past stand and re-asserted the role of the Army as one among equals — along with the Executive, legislature and the judiciary— in matters concerning national security.

His action in filing before the Supreme Court a separate affidavit in connection with the enquiry being undertaken by the court under Chief justice Iftikhar Ahmed Chaudhury into L’Affaire Memogate, without getting the affidavit vetted by the Ministry of Defence and approved by Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani indicates the assertion of the right of the Army to take an independent view in matters concerning national security without having its view approved by the elected Executive.

Pakistan - India Relations
Pakistan - India Relations

L’Affaire Memogate refers to the allegations made by Mansoor Ijaz, an American citizen of Pakistani origin, that at the instance of Hussain Haqqani, the then Pakistani Ambassador to the US, he (Ijaz) had passed on a memo drafted by him (Ijaz) to Admiral Mike Mullen, the then Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressing the concerns of the Pakistan Government over the possibility of a military coup after the US raid into Abbottabad on May 2 last to kill Osama bin Laden.

The matter is already under enquiry by a committee of the National Assembly and Haqqani has resigned as the Ambassador to the US. Expressing his dissatisfaction over the enquiry by the committee of the National Assembly, Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif), who himself was overthrown in a coup in 1999 by the Army then headed by Musharraf, filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking an enquiry by the court. Other petitions on similar lines have also been filed by private individuals.

Taking notice of these petitions, the Supreme Court had called for affidavits giving their comments, inter alia, from President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani, the Ministry of Defence, Haqqani, Ijaz, Kayani and Lt.Gen.Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The affidavits submitted by Kayani and Pasha do not oppose the enquiry by the Supreme Court whereas the Government’s view has been that since a committee of the National Assembly was already enquiring into the matter, there was no need for an enquiry by the court.

Kayani and Pasha have taken a diametrically opposite stand of not questioning the need for a separate enquiry by the court. A careful reading of their affidavits would also indicate that they do not question the veracity of the claims of Ijaz which have been strongly denied by Haqqani. Thus acting independently, the Army has taken a stand which is at variance with the stand of the Government and Haqqani and has sought to give credence to the version of Ijaz.

An equally intriguing aspect is that Lt Gen (retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi , Defence Secretary, submitted his own affidavit to the court without getting it cleared by the Government. In this affidavit, he took up the stand that the Army and the ISI were not under the operational control of the Ministry of Defence. What this amounts to is his saying that Kayani and Pasha were entitled to take up an independent stand before the court without having it approved by the Government.

It is this open assertion before the court of the independence of the army in national security matters in an enquiry initiated on the basis of a petition by Nawaz that made Gilani express in comments to the National Assembly and at a public gathering that there was a conspiracy against the Government. He also rejected the notion of the independence of the Army in national security matters and underlined that the Army is subordinate to the Government and cannot be a state within the state.

In comments apparently in response to those of Gilani, Kayani, during a visit to Army posts in the Mohmand and Kurram agencies on December 23,2011, denied the feverish speculations of a possible coup and asserted the correctness of the position taken by the Army on the Memogate issue. He reportedly said: “Irrespective of all other considerations, there can be no compromise on national security.” He strongly dispelled the speculations of a military takeover and said that “these are misleading and are being used as a bogey to divert focus from the real issues.”

In separate comments, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury has ruled out any ex-post facto validation of a coup. There has never been any danger of a coup because of the present independence of the judiciary.

The real outcome of the present controversy is that the elected Government has found whatever little control it had over the Army eroded. The Army is back from the barracks as a political gladiator, determined to play an independent role in matters concerning national security without having to secure the approval of the civilian Government.

What we are seeing in Pakistan is not a de jure military coup that would require ex-post facto validation by the court, but a de facto coup that would not require any such validation.

It is likely that the Army, to further assert its independence and to rally the support of the religious parties and jihadi forces, might encourage and incite these forces to increase their activities against India in order to re-justify the primacy of the army in national security matters and to underline that the Army better protects national interests than the elected civilian leadership. India has to be alert to the dangers of a new surge in terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and new attacks of mass fatality terrorism in the rest of India.

B. Raman

B. Raman (August 14, 1936 – June 16, 2013) was Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies.

6 thoughts on “Pakistan Army Back From The Barracks: Need For Alert In India – Analysis

  • December 25, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Pakistan has become an arrogant and dangerous entity in the region and threatening peace around the world as well.It was never democracy that has been the rule of law. The many coups staged by the army and the ingrained fear of the democratically elected governments has impacted the country’s development negatively. The army’s vengeful obsession of India deters and derails all efforts by the elected leaders for a peaceful coexistence. The conflict between the elected government and the army is based on two aspects that itself confront and collide with separate agenda. The government fears a coup,as it has happened several times in the history of Pakistan, if a peace treaty is signed based on reciprocity from both the countries, India and Pakistan, which the army opposes as peace with India is not a point in the army’s agenda. Hence the army fears the governments, using the mandate given by the people would go ahead with peace treaties ignoring the powerful army. The army has become a notorious entity as it has spread its tentacles to embrace various terror groups to sustain and support its anti India stance. The democracy in Pakistan is a deceptive process of governance, entangled between two evils, the army and the terror groups. Redemption from these two evils solely depends on a mass movement similar to what is happening in Egypt and Syria. The committee of nations, would certainly stand by the people of Pakistan in an uprising of the kind.

    • December 26, 2011 at 5:54 am

      I think we need to look at things from a different lense and not specific “brits or US” lense. People of Pakistan have no warm feelings for US and rather than pakistan being arrogant it should be seen as a defiant move under public pressure. Army can not affors to loose faith of 6 million soldiers and milions of population, this time I think the US just took it wrong. They were conditioned to have a free hand and they tested the ground by taking away raymond davis who shot people point blank and was set free while when he hits an american with his fist he was jailed, then they entered abbotabad and this time they tested how far they could go. Simple error of judgement I suggest, which speaks of american arrogance.

  • December 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I have read him earlier also and his analysis of the events relating to Indian security are very real and nationalistic. This analysis of the events in Pakistan are very disturbing indeed but nothing new. However it may alarm this busy UPA with Anna, if they will take note of. I doubt though.

    In India, Nation is not a priority to the current brand of leaders and the leaders concerned with national issues are being defamed as communal. This is why, no head of the state should be allowed if they are not born in India, like any other nation. Ms Sonia Gandhi has neither love for this nation nor interest in its governance.

    Confer her bland absence at the height of the Anna controversy, leaving for US in the name of her medical treatment and we still don’t know the truth. In the name of her privacy, you could
    not even question it, such are her loyalists, yet they are so fast to ask questions about Anna’s link with the most devoted nationalists like RSS and BJP. They are imbecile, shameless and no respect for the people of this nation.

    B Raman keeps writting from time to time but who
    cares, is the point? Nehru allowed China and Pakistan to invade and I am positive that this Italian supposed to be air hostess couldn’t care less. Let her stooges like Diggy, Manish, PC, MMS, Raja, Kalmadi take the centre stage to keep her a/cs abroad piling up. She is above law.

    Look at their benevolent gestures on Anna Inc who sleeps on floor and doesn’t have a single farthing as bank balance, yet they are wanting to malign him instead of showing their intention to fight corruption because it is the raison detre of them all.

    I only hope that these current leaders concerned as they may be, take a note of it. They are too busy???

    • December 26, 2011 at 5:57 am

      well a former Raw Oficer, then started writing cabinet division like an ISI or CIA officer can only show “very real and nationalistic” expression only, three cheers for spooks:)

  • December 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I just refreshed myself on the composition of UPA govt and they have two/three parties who’s credentials as nationalists are impeccable.

    (1) All India Majlis-e Ittehadul Muslimeen
    (2) Indian Union Muslim League

    Name of first is unheard and second is their coalition partner ever since Indira Gandhi.

    (3) JK National Conference headed by these opportunist father-son duo who keep their sand dunes shifting towards the power corridors between NDA-UPA governments.

    Any party from current Kashmir is thei Achilles heel, not as a choice but a compulsion. Hence it
    is doubtful if these honest and sincere leaders have any sense of discrimination left between patriotism and treason.

  • December 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Typical Indian.

    Y should I not view this article as a move to blame any significant move by separatist and freedom fighters within indian-occupied kashmir and rest of India…. Or may b preplanned drama is coming..

    May b Indian have got green signals from Washington to press Pakistan from their side of borders. If it is true than there is a possibility of Re-Taj.


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