Army chief does not have right to issue political statements: Aitzaz Ahsan

Published: November 6, 2012
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Says courts should only speak through just judgements. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Says courts should only speak through just judgements. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE:  Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, commenting on Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani’s statement, said that he did not have the authority to issue political statements, DawnNews reported on Tuesday.

Addressing journalists outside the Lahore High Court (LHC), Ahsan said that the court’s interim order was not implementable and was similar to Article 58 – 2B which allows sacking elected representatives.

He said that if the government or Army did anything that was against the judiciary, people would take a stand.

He also said that the courts should only speak through just judgement and the COAS did not have the right to issue political statements.

The chief justice had earlier asserted that weapons alone could no longer assure national security and that the Supreme Court was the absolute authority with regards to the national interests of state.

Later, in a statement issued by the ISPR, Kiyani had said that no individual or institution had the monopoly to decide what was right or wrong in defining the ultimate national interest.

He also said that the weakening of institutions and trying to assume more than one’s due role will set the country back.

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Reader Comments (31)

  • Abdul Jabbar Mohmand
    Nov 6, 2012 - 5:20PM

    Absolutely. For all my respect for for APK, he is trying to defend status quo.

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  • salim
    Nov 6, 2012 - 5:20PM

    “COAS did not have the right to issue political statements.”

    Same should apply to Chief Justice!!

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  • QQ
    Nov 6, 2012 - 5:24PM

    Aitzaz Ahsan, words of wisdom

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  • Subbg Hutay
    Nov 6, 2012 - 5:25PM

    Absolutely well said Aitzaz.
    .
    Kayani needs to respect the office of the COAS, as do other public office bearers . . . without exception.

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  • Uza Syed
    Nov 6, 2012 - 5:33PM

    Of course, the Chief of our military has as much rights to speak his mind and inform us of his views, once in a while if must be told by the Chief Justice of our partisan judiciary. No all people would not take any stand simply because we do not have an impartial judiciary. Some of us might stand with Chief Justice’s political views which he expreses everyday as if a political agitator and many of us would would back our Military and its chief because of agreement with his more reasonable views about supermacy of institutions over some self-promoting individuals.

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  • Nov 6, 2012 - 5:34PM

    I don’t quite understand what part of the Army Chief’s comments were a ‘political statement’. The Army Chief’s comments in fact spoke in favor of upholding the constitution and of all institutions operating within their constitutional limits, along with arguing that an entire institution in the present should not be maligned for the actions of a few from the past, which is an entirely sensible and self evidently true comment.

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  • Rana
    Nov 6, 2012 - 5:34PM

    Kayani’s statement is pre-emptive attach on judiciary as it is about to grill the white collar corrupt generals!

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  • Amir
    Nov 6, 2012 - 5:35PM

    “People would take stand”
    gone are the days when people stand with so called judiciary

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  • Butt
    Nov 6, 2012 - 5:40PM

    It means that only the CJ has the right to issue political statements, make his own interpretations, appoint his hand picked judges, release terrorists, let Arslan become billionaire by hook or crook, accept or deny decisions taken by the parliment and so on…..

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  • HADI SAKEY
    Nov 6, 2012 - 5:57PM

    I am not surprised at what General Kayani said but I am surprised that it took him so long. The veiled comment of General Kayani towards the judiciary shows that the present Puppet government may be wound up. The retied Generals may have twisted the arms of General Kayani it ME today and it may be you tomorrow. This is not 90s Hosni Mubarak gone, Gaddafi gone, Asad on way out., Yemni gone, Shah of Iran gone, Tunisian dictator gone, and powerful Turkish army has gone. The honeymoon for the military is over. They are no more Holy cows.

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  • mahmood
    Nov 6, 2012 - 6:00PM

    He also said that the weakening of institutions and trying to assume more than one’s due role will set the country back.

    The army has always lived outside of the boundaries of its role as defined in the Constitution. It still does. Even today the ISI is trying to orchestrate an outcome in the next election which is favorable to the Army’s interest, the National interest be damned as it has been the last 54 years. So if the COAS in his quote is alluding to his own institution, thanks for finally realizing this simple fact. And if he is alluding to some other state institution, shame on him

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  • Enlightened
    Nov 6, 2012 - 6:03PM

    Senator Ahsan’s statement is technically correct as the Army Chief is govt functionary who is legally bound to obey the orders of the civilian govt and judiciary of the country. He or his military spokes-person has no powers to pass any adverse comment on either govt or judiciary’s functioning or passing of any order on him or the military by both, as the same tantamount to be unbecoming of his position inviting disciplinary action. However, if the Army Chief so feels aggrieved of any matter which affects the morale of armed forces, he can write a confidential letter to Govt or give petition in the court explaining his views without disclosing its contents to media or private individuals.

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  • Iqbal
    Nov 6, 2012 - 6:04PM

    I agree with him but if I were him I would keep my mouth shut because I would be made an offer I can’t refuse.

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  • Afzaal Khan
    Nov 6, 2012 - 6:07PM

    Gone are the days when ppl listened to AA, except ET audience, which are always far away from mainstream pakistanis sentiments.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Nov 6, 2012 - 6:16PM

    Winner Chief will get double extension. (Zardari)

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  • A J Khan
    Nov 6, 2012 - 6:57PM

    In this country where Lawyers and Courts sells justice, where Chief Justice gives his own meaning to every word of the constitution and issue unconstitutional orders. Where courts equate terrorists to the defenders of the country. Where Court ask the government to pay compensation to the terrorists who killed soldiers in defence of their country. I have no respect for such corrupt judiciary.
    As far as the statement of Chief Of Army Staff is concerned, he has every right to render his advice to any one who needs one. If every Tom, Dick and Harry can load 24 news channels every night and speak what ever they feel like, then it is the right of the Chief also to tell people what is right and what is wrong.
    Please publish this other wise you will be hindering my right of expression.

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  • Shahzad
    Nov 6, 2012 - 7:16PM

    What was political

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  • Beatle
    Nov 6, 2012 - 7:17PM

    Can you take the same stand for other important constitutional organ of the state??

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  • SM
    Nov 6, 2012 - 7:31PM

    Who are you, Mr Aitzaz Ahsan, to decide or comment on what can or cannot issue statements?

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  • Musa
    Nov 6, 2012 - 7:33PM

    Chief of Army staff has no right to define or explain the national interest because the military is confine only to save the boarders of the state not to make law and legislation. Chief justice is fully right and those nations leading the world who believe that law and judiciary is supreme.

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  • Polpot
    Nov 6, 2012 - 8:15PM

    @Agnostic Muslim: “I don’t quite understand what part of the Army Chief’s comments were a ‘political statement’. ”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Why advertise your lack of understanding here?

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  • Akhter
    Nov 6, 2012 - 8:18PM

    Fully Agree with Mr AJ Khans Comment as well as others questioning ” who asked for AItizaz’z opinion?”
    Furthermore the Chief of Army is also a citizen of this country and as such is entitled to voice concerns or state his opinion on matters of National Importance. Finally he has an obligation to keep the 600000 men under his command abreast of the institutions stance on such matters as he sees fit.

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  • naeem Khan Manhattan,Ks
    Nov 6, 2012 - 8:46PM

    General Kayani should be retired right now, if some General in the USA would have given statement like the one Kayani gave, he would be shown the exit door sooner than he thinks but in Pakistan these Generals think they are above the law and constitution and could threaten anyone or any institution( read government and Supreme Court) of Pakistan with impunity. If these Generals and the defense institution wants to be respected by the citizens then they should clean up their act and their institution and stop defending the corrupt Generals.

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  • Khan of Jandul
    Nov 6, 2012 - 9:02PM

    @Afzal Khan! “mainstream Pakistani sentiments” means abundance of conspiracy theories, false claims of self-righteousness, uncritical minds, and belief that Pakistan came into being when Mohammad Bin Qasim landed in Sindh, brothers across the Durand Line are Mujahid, and their brethren on this side of the Durand Line are terrorists and Raw, Mossad,etc agents etc. Buddy, you need to wake up.

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  • Nov 6, 2012 - 9:15PM

    @ Polpot:

    Since you understand all this very well, then please explain to us which part of the COAS’s comments were a ‘political statement’?

    Snide comments are not a substitute for rational discourse.

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  • Imran
    Nov 6, 2012 - 9:31PM

    Both are guilty of encroaching in the domain of the civilian government. In the past, both were aiding and abetting each other. This time around they are locking their horns not to guard their own territories but over the domains they have illegally transgressed in the past from the civilian government.

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  • Jibran
    Nov 6, 2012 - 9:41PM

    @HADI SAKEY:
    Retired Generals don’t carry any weight to influence the COAS. He might only be worried about himself as to what happens to him after retirement if he opens the Pandora’s box. After all, his brothers prospered tremendously during his tenure as well.

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  • Adam
    Nov 7, 2012 - 12:58AM

    Aitzaz Ahsan actually said Army Chief AND Chief Justice don’t have the right to issue political statements. BOTH. But ET only posted one part of what AA said.

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  • Rex Minor
    Nov 7, 2012 - 2:53AM

    Kyani has no right to make political statements, while he holds the military office. I would propose to him to retire in grace whle there is time. No one from the military or the civilian so called elected office holders should think of riding roughshod on the judiciary, because if they do the state has no legitamacy to survive. A lawless state is no longer a state, General.

    Rex Minor

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  • farooq qamar
    Nov 7, 2012 - 10:47AM

    what about iftikhar ch? why does he want to issue political statements everyday? why doesn’t he just issue an order declaring himself pres of pakistan

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  • Nazeer
    Nov 7, 2012 - 8:02PM

    It is not without interest to examine the process of evolution of the democratic system in the last five years. State institutions seem to be jockeying for turf and space, a process known to have been part of the evolution of mature democracies. President Zardari the other day characterised this process as the “dying kicks of the old order”, implying the certainties of the past on which state institutions may have rested so far, were yielding to new realities in which each institution had to re-examine its powers, boundaries and limitations. It is no surprise therefore that every time a powerful head of one or the other state institution speaks publicly, the common point of reference tends to be recognition of, and respect for, the legitimate purview of each institution, and appeals for restraint as far as straying into the turf of other institutions is concerned. May this democratic evolution finally arrive at an agreed delineation of these matters that proves mutually acceptable to all institutions?Recommend

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