Strictly civilian: Army to keep govt crisis at arm’s length

Published: January 16, 2013

Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has decided in principle to let civilian authorities tackle political issues, says a security official. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

As the Supreme Court order to arrest the prime minister builds up tempo against the government that is also facing a huge protest led by influential scholar Dr Tahirul Qadri, all eyes are on the powerful security establishment for signs of what may come ahead.

A senior military official said on Tuesday that even though the armed forces were prepared for any contingency if the ongoing situation deteriorates, the security establishment had nothing to do with the political upheaval triggered by Dr Qadri’s long march and the Supreme Court orders.

“It is entirely up to the government (as to) how it handles the situation,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The government seems confident that it has enough manpower to maintain law and order in the capital,” he added.

Another security official pointed out that the army’s decision to stay away from the long march stemmed from the fact that it was a political event and could have negative implications if the security establishment intervened.

“There are children and women in the long march, so it is a very delicate situation and we want the civilian authorities to deal with it,” the official said, adding that the army would try to avoid intervention at all costs.

“Had the army wanted to take over, it would have already done so given the gravity of the situation,” the official said. But army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has decided in principle to let civilian authorities tackle political issues, he said.

It is incorrect to say the army is behind Dr Qadri or Supreme Court’s orders against Premier Ashraf, he said, adding that such assertions were baseless.

Reuters also quoted a senior military officer as saying that there was no appetite in the military to repeat the coups seen in the past, but added that the stand-off could be resolved if the army played a role in the formation of a caretaker government as a “moderator”.

“We should try as far as possible to abide by the constitution and law in looking for change. The army chief has made this clear,” according to the officer, who said he was speaking in a purely personal capacity. “But things seem to be moving beyond control,” he added.

(with additional input from Reuters)

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2013.

Reader Comments (41)

  • kashif dada
    Jan 16, 2013 - 4:10AM

    looks like he belong to the other side of the fence (in picture) lolol

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  • Jibran
    Jan 16, 2013 - 4:15AM

    OK! Its official now. After this denial, it becomes clear that both Army and CJ are definitely behind this mess.

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  • Ibrahim
    Jan 16, 2013 - 4:18AM

    It’s astounding the kind of things people will believe in this country.

    Imran Khan gained popularity; first thing that came out of peoples mouths was ‘agencies ki support hai’.

    TUQ brings his long march into ISB, (obviously), ‘agencies ki support hai’.

    Average man in Gujranwala inexplicably gets diarrhoea; you guessed it, ‘agencies ne hee karwaya hoga’.

    The point is this, intelligence agencies have a lot on their plate today. Even if they did have the inclination to tinker with politics (which they very well might), I doubt they have the time for it. Keep in mind we have 120,000 soldiers deployed on our Eastern front, an ongoing war with the Taliban, and an internal threat from terrorism that is incredibly serious. They don’t got time for no diarrhoea.

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  • Born Political
    Jan 16, 2013 - 4:23AM

    Glad to read this, Pak Army, we will respect and love you if you remain at bay from politics and focus on eradicating terrorism. Dont listen to the calls of pseudo mullah.

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  • just_someone
    Jan 16, 2013 - 4:32AM

    There is no doubt the army will never do a coup right now. They are too weak and have too much on their plate. The populous doesnt want them which is what is most necessary for a coup.
    But it seems they are doing stuff in the background. Maybe they are doing to push the govt to announce an election date or maybe some other reason. but there is no doubt there are people behind so much happening in such a small time period.

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  • What
    Jan 16, 2013 - 5:01AM

    It’s clear Army is not interfering in politics. Too bad the anti army clowns will continue to see imaginary hand of the “establishment” behind everything.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jan 16, 2013 - 5:10AM

    Consitution must prevail. PM can continue his job becuase he is not convicted but ethically he should resign and National Assembly should elect new PM. Meanwhile Dr. Qadri who is relaxing in Shahadat Proof Cabin should be arrested and deported to Canada.

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  • Sarmad Gilani
    Jan 16, 2013 - 5:41AM

    tl;dr: “Civilians, get your house in order because we don’t want to play savior anymore and get the blame too.”

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  • sabi
    Jan 16, 2013 - 5:52AM

    Many flaws in this armymen statements.I guess readers will note it.This is not the way things work.Army is under ministry of defence and let ministry of defence speak on behalf of army as well as government.

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  • Tamasha
    Jan 16, 2013 - 6:23AM

    Funny. Iftikhar has dispatched a police contingent consisting of Arsalan, Malik Riaz and Rehman Malik to arrest Raja Rental.

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  • Umer
    Jan 16, 2013 - 7:04AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:

    Consitution must prevail. PM can continue his job becuase he is not convicted but ethically he should resign and National Assembly should elect new PM.

    What about the PM who attacked the SC and was involved in Asghar Khan case? Should he not ethically stop taking part in politics altogether? Or is it a case of one rule for Sindhis, Siraikis, Pothwaris, Baluchis and Pakhtoons and another rule for Takht-e-Lahore?

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  • Usman
    Jan 16, 2013 - 7:06AM

    @Ibrahim: Haha, well said

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  • $$$
    Jan 16, 2013 - 7:55AM

    There has been a tug of war for power between the corrupt politicians and even more corrupt military for the last 60 years . All this people uprising is fully supported by Pakistan army and every kid in Pakistan knows that. It has also escalated the tension with India and let theirpuppets( Islamic militia ) loose on the minorities to creat a chaos. All this to create an environemnt to take over power again .

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  • stevenson
    Jan 16, 2013 - 8:07AM

    Kayani is a man of character and he shows it. Unlike other military leaders, he understands how important it is for the democratic system to develop in Pakistan and for institutions to evolve. He prefers to be in the background and be a professional soldier instead of limelight seeking opportunist like the last dictator Musharraf who only destablised Pakistan in his 9 years of dictatorship. It takes maturity to understand that the only way forward for society in Pakistan is to allow democracy to take root – no matter how difficult. Once there is stability, anything is possible.

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  • Mohinder sandhu
    Jan 16, 2013 - 8:30AM

    pakistani army extort, its budget money from the civilian government and gets whatever the army feels is required.Then they spend this hard earned money of the tax payers to control the civilian government.Normally, a country has army but in pakistan it is other way around,here it is a army that has a country.

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  • Randeep Sherpao
    Jan 16, 2013 - 8:39AM

    seems Chief justices and Army chiefs never retire in pakistan

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Jan 16, 2013 - 8:41AM

    It is not the time for the Army to take over, just look at Pakistan’s history, they come every 10years and not before because they will not get the support of external powers specially the US,Britain and don’t forget the Saudis. Historically it has been 10 years cycle. Who needs enemies when Pakistan has friends like these.

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  • Pakistani Ostrich
    Jan 16, 2013 - 8:42AM

    Here is an idea. Deport Dr. Qadri back to canada for the crime of causing civil disobedience. Can a citizen from any country on the planet come to pakistan and demand the government resigns or else?

    BTW, Denial by the army/ispr is the proof that that have everything to do with this drama!

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:09AM

    If the politicians agree to handover the charge of caretaker government to Pakistan Army, I think they can prepare much more better for the upcoming elections instead of fighting with each other as who will become the caretaker Prime Minister and who will become the Finance Minister etc.

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  • Umais Ali
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:16AM

    @Jibran: u want this government to continue?

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  • Rahul
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:24AM

    Who gave him the black eye? What a pic!!!

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  • desi786
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:24AM

    @sabi: Ministry of Information speaks on behalf of GoP and ISPR speaks on behalf of Pak Army. Moreover, be pragmatic

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  • Mirza
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:29AM

    “It is incorrect to say the army is behind Dr Qadri or Supreme Court’s orders against Premier Ashraf”
    Let us believe the army version of the events. Their record is perfect and they never lied to the nation about anything ever. The timings of Shia massacre, Qadri’s coming from the sky and SC’s decisions were all a coincidence.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:45AM

    It is army who made sure democracy completes its five years but still mind set is saying it is American blessing,in such like situation set mind and direction of thoughts need realistic thinking then you gain strength otherwise power corridor players will continue to play their masters game.

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  • observer
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:53AM

    “It is incorrect to say the army is behind Dr Qadri or Supreme Court’s orders against Premier Ashraf”

    He doth protest too much.

    (With apologies to Shakespeare.)

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  • H
    Jan 16, 2013 - 9:59AM

    what a joke … it cannot be more obvious that they are behind this mess. How can a person become a success overnight. If the system runs properly, there is no chance of martial law, so how will these power & money hungry people survive !

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  • True picture
    Jan 16, 2013 - 10:01AM

    All the Indians & some Pakistanis crying about military role should shut up! Pakistan Army has let this Government rule for 5 years, they are not crazy enough to topple this Government which is going to dissolve in 50 days. Pakistan army has shown us how these people will govern Pakistan & they are going to stay away now. So stop making up stories, which you Indians & some Pakistani liberals have been doing so for past 5 years, that army is behind all this & there will be a coup. Majority of Pakistanis are sick of this Government, so Indians STOP interfering in our internal matters & STOP impersonating as Pakistanis to comment over here. As for Pakistani liberals, stay out of it & live your luxurious life, come out on the streets with thousands, if you guys have any support for this Government & against Pak Army.

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  • Iram
    Jan 16, 2013 - 10:03AM

    @Umer: What a reply man.

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  • Muhammad Ishaq
    Jan 16, 2013 - 10:16AM

    @Mirza. Our educated in Lahore and Karachi will never understand your point. Army and SC is their heroes.

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  • Badshah
    Jan 16, 2013 - 10:20AM

    Oh wait. That’s exactly what the army would have said if they were involved in this drama

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  • Khan
    Jan 16, 2013 - 10:26AM

    This is the best army in the world no matter what corrupt people says they are still best they are Pakistani.

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  • iLiberal
    Jan 16, 2013 - 10:31AM

    @Jibran: Mess? Seriously? You think PPP has nothing to do with this mess?

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  • iLiberal
    Jan 16, 2013 - 10:46AM

    So what if the Army is behind this? I hope they rid of these dakoos and save us us from another agonizing and painful 5 years where Z and co will be once again ruling Pakistan. Sure, the army may have also made mistakes but their rules have always fared better for Pakistan economically and tend to be peaceful.

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  • Enlightened
    Jan 16, 2013 - 11:16AM

    The military is playing a waiting game till the chaos reaches un-proportionate limits for which the ball has already been set rolling(long march and violence) with judiciary playing a supportive role.

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  • Enlightened
    Jan 16, 2013 - 11:18AM

    @Rahul:
    Only one eye is black so far.

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  • imrajk
    Jan 16, 2013 - 11:24AM

    Reuters word is not a Gospel to be believed.This is a perfectly manufactured news for the eager reader.The western news agencies at times misuse the trust by slipping in concocted stories.

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  • abhi
    Jan 16, 2013 - 11:29AM

    pakistan is very interesting country.

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  • ASQ
    Jan 16, 2013 - 12:08PM

    this is all the making of corrupt five years for this democratic government!!!

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  • Saleem
    Jan 16, 2013 - 1:44PM

    The army is too busy with its real estate business and kebab shops to be bothered about anything else.

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  • sattar rind
    Jan 16, 2013 - 2:22PM

    It’s not correct that forces are not behind the Qadari. Nation is not so naive

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  • Umais Ali
    Jan 17, 2013 - 5:30AM

    If army wanted to rule they would have come 2 years ago , the
    Way this government performed, tell me one thing good that it did for the people.
    It even took away roti , kapra and makaan,and dont even name bijli paani and gas.
    So stop crying people
    And stop supporting this pathetic government both opposition and ruling

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