Need to abandon pursuit of fool’s gold
Throughout the PTI’s tenure foreign ambassadors and government leaders, as well as delegations of local businessmen and ulema, have called on the COAS to discuss the issues they faced presuming that the Army chief alone could get them resolved. Recently a delegation of the opposition leaders was invited to discuss the changes being visualised in the status of Gilgit-Baltistan with the COAS and DG ISI. This shows that the Prime Minister was considered incapable of creating a consensus on the issue.
The opposition parties have criticized military takeovers in the past, and for good reasons. They claim that they stand for civilian supremacy and want to strengthen Parliament. In her latest remarks on the issue, PML(N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that political decisions should be taken in Parliament rather than the GHQ. It is ironical that on a single telephone call from the right quarters to discuss Gilgit-Baltistan’s status, politicians made a dash to the GHQ without insisting that the matter being a political issue, the meeting should be held in Parliament House. They kept the visit secret even from parties in the PDM which were not invited. The two separate meetings by PML(N) leader Mohammad Zubair with the COAS and DG ISI will remind many of Mian Shahbaz Sharif and Ch. Nisar Ali Khan holding secret talks with military leaders, then looked at with suspicion by the PPP.
One would readily agree that the Army should not be dragged into politics and that political issues should be taken to Parliament and legal matters to the courts. But the change in the status of Gilgit-Baltistan is a purely political matter and should have been left to Parliament to resolve without any need for the intervention of the GHQ. It was for the PM to have invited political parties to remove their reservations if they had any. Mr Zubair should have been plainly told after the very first meeting that NAB and the courts alone can decide the cases of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz. This would have left no need for a second meeting and questions arising from it.