Pakistani daily takes Army to task

The Pakistan Army has influenced the direction of the state "far beyond its official remit".

Islamabad: The Pakistan Army has influenced the direction of the state "far beyond its official remit" and treated all other institutions as subordinate, said a leading daily. The Army, it added, had rightfully attracted criticism for dabbling in areas outside its constitutional domain.

An editorial in the Dawn on Friday said Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who is unhappy with the criticism directed at the Pakistan Army in recent days, has been quoted as saying that the morale of the troops was being affected.

The general spoke on a day when a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry suggested that Pakistan`s intelligence agencies were overstepping their domain and the National Assembly passed a unanimous resolution calling for fresh legislation to regulate the role and function of the intelligence and security agencies.

The editorial said: "...from the context and substance of Gen Kayani`s remarks it appears the military chief is upset by what ought to qualify as very legitimate criticism of the Army and its intelligence arms: the issue of the disappearances and deaths of dissidents, the ISI`s unconstitutional and illegal role in politics, and the Army`s behind-the-scenes influence on the democratic process."

"This is unfortunate.”

"History hangs heavy over the Pakistan Army. For decades, it has directly and indirectly influenced the direction of the state far beyond its official remit and treated all other institutions, be it Parliament or the superior judiciary, as subordinate," it said.

The daily said that to criticise the Army leadership when it overreaches and to demand accountability of those who have violated the Constitution and the law of the land is "to rise to the defence of democracy and constitutional order, not to undermine the institution".

It suggested that perhaps Gen Kayani should reflect on events over the full course of his tenure as Army chief so far, and not just the recent past.

The daily added that when the Army does the job it is mandated to do, the country salutes it.

"When it dabbles in areas outside its constitutional domain, it rightfully attracts criticism."

IANS

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