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Old Wednesday, May 10, 2006
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Default Political Leadership & Impact on National Security


1. In the realm of politics, and in many other fields also, we are a mercurial nation. While our leaders are in power there are many who idolize him or her to the point where he or she begins to think like King Louis XIV of France ‘L’etat Cest Moi’ the State that’s me. When they fall from power, ‘security risk’ is one of the milder terms used to describe the very same leaders.

2. We have this constant in-built craving for finding the ideal leader – the search for another Quaid. To look for ideal leaders is to pursue a mirage. Leaders such as the Quaid-e-Azam, King Faisal of
Saudi Arabia, President Kamal Ataturk of Turkey, Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran, Chairman Mao Tse Tung of China, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain, President De Gaulle of France come but once in a nation’s history in response to supreme challenges being faced by that nation in a particular period of time. For most of its existence every nation has to live with average run-of-the-mill leadership.

3. Leaders at all levels, or certainly the great majority of them, are produced by the institutions in which they work. Strong institutions produce better and more efficient leadership. Take your own institution, the institution of the Armed Forces. The steady and continuous strengthening of the Armed Forces over the 56 years of our existence has produced an evergrowing stream of trained and informed leaders-cum-officers-cum administrators. Strong institution creates an environment, a structure, a system, which automatically produces the leadership for the efficient functioning of these institutions. Good governance in and the economic success of the countries forming part of the West, of Japan and of many of the East and South-East Asian nations has been caused much more by the strength of their political institutions, the institutions of state, than on the leadership traits of their political leaders. It is these strong institutions that has enabled them to tide over periods presided over by corrupt or indifferent leaders without any lasting damage to their economies or other national security concerns.

4. The message to build strong institutions was given to us 1400 years ago by Almighty Allah Himself when through verse 159 of Sura Al-Imran He made it obligatory on the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) to seek counsel in all affairs. In the context of our Islamic faith our institutions need to be built and strengthened on the basis of adl wal ihsan. Adl regulates selfishness and self-interest. Ihsan acts to protect against injustice and helps those in need. Strong institutions built and functioning on the principles of Adl wal Ihsan are the essential prerequisite for good governance in
Pakistan. This institutions must necessarily include an educational system that instills values based on the same principles viz respect for the law blended with the humanizing spirit of justice.

5. Political leaders are human beings with all too many human frailties, and as I said earlier we should not futilely look for ideal leadership and nor should we be too disappointed if the ones we get are much less than angels. It is nevertheless important to focus on desirable attributes of political leadership in order to try and ensure that the institutions we need to build up produce leaders with at least some of these traits. As I see it a political leader should have most, if not all of the following attributes:

1. He should have vision, a goal, a cause, the ability to make people share his vision and join him in achieving his goal;

2. He should value principles but be able to blend idealism with pragmatism;

3. He must be capable of taking firm decisions but regard consultation as an obligation before doing so;

4. He should seek power not for his personal glory or satisfaction but for what he can achieve for his country;

5. He should know how to delegate authority but not hesitate to take action against those who fail to properly exercise it; and

6. He should know and accept, when the time comes, the need for a change of leader.

6. I am aware that there are omissions in this list. For example, I have not specifically emphasized ethical value viz honesty, integrity and rectitude beyond saying that a leader should value principles. Why. Because the more detailed the list, the greater is the likely departure from realistic expectations in the context of our peculiar social, cultural and political milieu. Let me elaborate. The Ehtisab or accountability process was started in 1996. It became a prime national priority with the establishment of NAB. As one of the authors of the original Ehtisab Ordinance there is no doubt in my mind that corrupt persons should not hold elective office. Yet the reality is that neither the taint, nor even the stigma of corruption persuades sufficient numbers of voters to reject tainted or stigmatized candidates. The disregard of the taint of corruption by the voters is a factor not peculiar to
Pakistan. It is true of other countries also. Take, for example, the cases of Laloo Prasad and Jayalalitha in India. If we adjudge our past and present leaders against just the six attributes I have listed you will find it difficult, if not impossible to find any who measure up to all of them especially the last viz the knowing and acceptance, when the time comes, of the need for a change of leader. It is an unfortunate aspect of our history that more often than not the change has either been a forced change or has occurred as the result of an Act of God – this is an unfortunate aspect because peaceful transfer of power is an essential ingredient of a democratic system.

7. Why are we not producing political leaders who measure up to the objective standards we expect of them It is primarily because our institutions of state are weak with a history of not enough continuity, there have been too many hastily conceived changes brought about without broad popular support, and, most importantly, there is no consensus on fundamental constitutional structures and issues. Let me give you a few examples.

8. The objectives Resolution passed by the first Constituent Assembly in 1949, which now informs an integral part of the 1973 Constitutions – you can think of this Objectives Resolution as the embodiment of our national vision – envisages Pakistan as a federal democracy. A federal system is essential to accommodate the conflicting requirements of unity and diversity.
Pakistan is multi-ethnic and multi-lingual state. That is why the Objectives Resolution rightly envisaged a Pakistan as a federation with autonomous provinces. And yet, in 1955, we experimented with a single Province of West Pakistan in disregard of all regional diversities. And as you all know the experiment faild and 15 years later it had to be undone.

9. 12 autonomous units had been merged in 1955 to form the Provinces of West Pakistan. However in 1970 when One Unit was undone, General Yahya Khan and handful of his advisers decided on the establishment of 4 provinces only in their present shape. Bhawalpur was merged with
Punjab; Amb, Dir, Swat & Chitral with NWFP; BaluchistanStates with Baluchistan; and Khairpur and Karachi with Sindh. As a result we have a federation in which there is one predominant province with nearly 60% of the total population. Modern day history of federation with over-large provinces should give us some cause for concern. One of the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union was the predominant position of Russia within that Union. There can also be little doubt that the dominance of Serbia led to the demise of the erstwhile Yugoslav Federation. Nigeria had 3 regions with the Northern Region being larger than the other two combined. Nigeria had to face civil war because of the secessionist Biafra rebellion in one of its smaller regions. Nigeria has since wisely divided its 3 regions into 19 provinces.

10. The late General Zia-ul-Haq talked about dividing
Pakistan into 25 provinces. In considering this issue there is another matter which needs attention and that is the unresolved issue of provincial autonomy. There are 114 subjects in the Federal and Concurrent lists of our 1973 Constitutions. All residuary powers are with the provinces. Local Government, law and order, health, education, to name just a few of the more important ones, are not in either the Federal of the concurrent lists. They are provincial subjects. And yet policies and much else besides is decided in these matters by the Federal Government.

11. Uniform local government laws have been promulgated by the provinces in 2001 on the order of the Federal Cabinet acting on proposals made by the NRB. These laws have been given constitutional protection against any change by the provincial assemblies except with the prior consent of the President. Is this a new development because of military rule which by its very nature converts
Pakistan from a federal into a unitary state? Not really. In 1975 the Punjab Assembly enacted the Local Government Act of that year but the Punjab Government was prevented from holding local government elections under this law by the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who did not want Punjab to act on its own in this matter. Following the same policy, in 1979 uniform Local Government Ordinances were enacted by the four provincial governments on the orders of General Zia-ul-Haq.

12. Law and order is a provincial responsibility. The law and order administration comprising the district and executive magistrates has been abolished on the order of the Federal Government and reportedly against the representations of the provincial authorities. The Federal Government has gone on to notify a Police Order 2002 prescribing a uniform code of police administration for all the provinces. As in the case of local government laws this Order has been protected against change by provincial assemblies except with the prior approval of the President by including it in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. Let us once again compare with what happened in the early 1970s. The late Mr. Bhutto could not tolerate the ANP led governments in either NWFP or Baluchistan because amongst other things the existence of these governments deprived him of direct control of the district administration in these two provinces while in the Punjab and Sindh the Chief Ministers could not transfer any DC or SP without the approval of the PM through his Establishment Secretary. The same pattern of intolerance obtained during the period of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif. During the year 1988 to 1990 she could not work with her rival in charge of Punjab, while his confrontation with the Punjab Government in 1993 became so extreme that the then Army Chief had to intervene and fresh elections had to be held for the national and provincial assemblies and for the Presidency as well.

13. With some exceptions health and education are provincial subjects but even a cursory took at manifold activities of the federal health and education ministries including enactment of national policies covering each and every aspect of health and education will show you how far these ministries have travelled beyond the constitutional mandate, and this has been the consistent pattern during periods of both military and civil rule.

14. While, on the one hand, the Federal government has assumed many powers in excess of constitutionally prescribed limits, there is at the same time a considerable body of opinion in the smaller provinces which presses for an even greater degree of autonomy. In November 1998 a 16th Constitution Amendment Bill was introduced in the Senate for the deletion of the Concurrent List and Part II of the Federal Legislative List. Had this Bill passed 47 subjects in the two lists would have been transferred to the provinces. The Concurrent List includes subjects such as boilers, books, labour exchanges, social welfare, etc. which could probabaly be better dealt with by the provinces without adverse impact on the unity and strength of the Federation, so the demand for a larger degree of autonomy is not an unreasonable one.

15. You can readily see for yourself the inter-relation of the two issues. The quantum of provincial autonomy is a matter directly linked with the size and number of the federation units.
India has as many as 144 subjects in the federal and concurrent lists as against our 114 but there is little or no demand in India for greater provincial autonomy, why? Almost certainly because India has 29 states – it started with 14 states and has 29 now – as against our 4 provinces.

16. Would the division of Pakistan into a large number of provinces promote national integration. Would it resolve the problem of Punjabi dominance. Would it put an end to the long festering issue of provincial autonomy. I think so but only if a nation – wide debate leads to a reasoned national consensus.

17. For the last 18 years, since 1985 we also have the unresolved issue, and by unresolved I mean an issue on which there is no national consensus, of the powers of the president within our federal parliamentary system. Without getting into a detailed discussion on this topic, let me just say in passing that those who vigorously champion the principle of parliamentary supremacy appear to forget that since 1985, Article 50 of our Constitution as amended by the 8th Amendment Act of that year has made, the president a part of Parliament. Parliament now consists of the president, the senate and the National Assembly, So, if some of the powers of Parliament vest in an elected President, who in the normal course, is elected by the senate, the national assembly and all four provincial assemblies, the principle of Parliamentary supremacy is not affected.

18. When you have a political system in which there is no consensus but much experimentation on issues such as the competing powers and functions of the federal and provincial governments, the role of local governments, the place of the president within the parliamentary system, the role of the Armed Force within that same system combined within prolonged period in which there are no local governments, no provincial assemblies, no senate and no national assembly, you simply cannot and do not have strong and continuing institutions built up on the basis of traditions and conventions and pride of achievement and continuous public service, in brief you do not have institutions capable of producing political leadership of the required and desired caliber. It will take time, perhaps quite some time, to build up strong institutions of state that produce political leaders capable of providing continuing good governance, and you, the Armed Forces who have a 56 year history of a strong institution will have to show a high degree of patience and forbearance during the very likely lengthy period that this process takes.

19. It is true that there are a number of other factors that both cause and explain the weaknesses of political leadership in Pakistan. There is, for example, the feudal back-ground of more than 50% of our parliamentarians which causes them to give absolute priority to local politics above any other consideration whether national or provincial. In the 5 national assemblies elected in between 1985 and 1997, out of the total of 207 directly elected members, an average of 125 were feudal or tribal leaders, an average of 26 were urban professionals such as lawyers and doctors and an average of 38 were businessman and industrialists. There is the corrupting influence of contractors, businessmen and traders, with large amounts of money, on politicians with insufficient moral fiber in their spines, politicians who are the products of an educational system that does not instill life-long ethical values because of its own institutional weakness caused by insufficiency of resources. There is yet another institutional weakness, which I shall discuss in a moment viz. The political party system. But it seems to me that the root, the primary cause of the failure of political leadership to measure up to acceptable standards, that ensure continued good governance, is our collective failure to achieve a settled consensus on the fundamentals of our constitutional structures.

20. The weakness of political parties goes hand in hand with the weakness of political leadership and are both cause and effect of each other. One de-stabilizing and undesirable manifestation of this weakness is the flexibility of loyalties. Change of political loyalties takes place in practically every democratic system. Winston Churchill changed his political allegiance not once but twice before he becomes Prime Minister. However, such changes in foreign climes normally have some veneer, some cover, of principle behind them. They are not as openly blatant for the sake of personal gain as in Pakistan. Not so many years ago the present broad-based coalition government took power in India. The coalition partners agreed on a common political programme before they did so though undoubtedly there was a lot of jockeying for particular ministries and offices in this process. More recently the present even talk about a common political programme before hand?

21. The ease with which our politicians move from one political party to another and often back again, is because large numbers of these parties are based on personalities and/or formed for the purpose, often with official backing, for supporting or sustaining those in power. The Republican party was formed with official backing to support president Iskander Mirza. It disappeared from the political scene when he did. Similarly the Convention Muslim League was formed with official backing to support Field Marshal Khan and sank without a trace soon after Ayub Khan’s fall from power in March 1969. The PNA emerged with the principal objective of bringing down the government of zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. It disintegrated when the fruits of victory were taken away by General Zia-ul-Haq after this objective was achieved. The IJI was formed, again with official backing, in the realization that only a coalition of the anti-PPP vote could defeat the PPP in the 1990 elections. It held together because, unlike 1977, it was allowed to take power. Nawabzada Nasrullah khan is the all-time veteran in the formation af alliances. None of them has lasted because they have been single-issue alliances.

22. this is not to say that political parties are based entirely on personalities or the result of official support. General Zia-ul-Ha undoubtedly had an interest in encouraging the MQM as a conter-weight to the PPP in Sindh but the Mohajirs in that province coalesced to protect their economic and political rights which, in their perception, they had been deprived of during the PPP rule. Similarly the nationalist parties in Baluchistan seek to protect the rights of the Baluchis in a system in which they feel they are a beleaguered minority.

23. The PPP cannot be delinked from the personality of its founder and the legacy he has left behind. Nevertheless its original and continuing mass appeal is based on the perception that it speaks for the huge numbers at the lower ends of the economic scale. The PPP may not have achieved its objective of giving ‘Roti, Kapra and Makan’ to the common man but the popularity of this slogan has forced successor governments into making similar promises and programmes. At the same time. The PPP’s socialist programme invited two types of reaction – an anti-PPP vote determined to reverse the process of nationalization of small businesses, schools, colleges and other institutions, and growth of a religious vote, strongly encouraged by the government of General Zia-ul-Haq, to make Pakistan an Islamic society. It is interesting that today’s PPP is just as committed to privatization as all the other parties, and that the PPP and the religious parties are closer than ever before.

24. Strong political parties are a key institutional building block for political leadership and I would like to quote here what the Quaid-e-Azam had to say in this matter at a reception in honour of his Birthday on 25th December 1942:

“The position of Muslim India during the last 200 years has been that of a ship without a rudder and without a Captain floating on the high seas full of rock. For 200 years it remained floating, damaged, dis-organized, demoralized, still floating. In 1936 with the co-operation of many others we salvaged the ship. Today the ship has wonderful rudder and a Captain who is willing to serve and always to serve. Its engines are in perfect working order and it has got its loyal crew and officers. In the course of the last five years it has turned into a battleship.”

Just as the freedom allowed to the Captain and the loyal crew of the Muslim League was essential for the creation of Pakistan, so today the free inter-play of political forces including, in particular, the participation of all political parties in periodic elections that are not only free, fair and transparent but also perceived to be such, both at home and abroad, is essential for the maintenance and health of our parliamentary system of democratic government.

25. in the context of the developing history of our political system, I for one was and am a firm supporter of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1997 which, with certain further amendments made through the Legal Framework Order, now forms part of our Constitution as its Article 63-A and provides for the disqualification of a parliamentarian who defects from his political party. It is to be regretted that the provisions of this Article were not enforced immediately after last year’s election. The horse-trading that took place before this Article’s enforcement has diminished the moral stature of the Assembly as a whole.

26. While discussing the LFO let me also say a word or two about Article 58(2)(b). This Article was introduced into the Constitution by General Zia-ul-Haq through the revival of the Constitution Order of 1985 and ratified by the 8th Amendment passed later that year. In the Mahmood Khan Achakzai case of 1997, the Supreme Court considered the question whether this Article had changed the nature of the Constitution from parliamentary to presidential by an over-concentration of power in the hands of the president. The Court held that the provision had brought about a welcome balance between the powers of the President and Prime Minister and that the form of government remained that of a parliamentary democracy. Similar provisions were to be found in various other Parliamentary and democratic Constitutions like those of had shut the door on Martial Law which had not visited Pakistan after 1977. This decision was given by seven judges none of whom were beneficiaries of any extension in service. The Chief justice who headed the full bench was Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.

27. Before I move on to assess the impact of our political leadership on national security I would like to list the reasons why our leaders, both political and military, have failed to evolve a stable political system. Some of these reasons I have mentioned already. To re-cap and to further elaborate: -

(i) We have still to evolve a settled consensus on the division of power between various parts of Parliament, and the division of power between the Federation and Provinces.

(ii) Other than the armed forces, whose power and influence is often unsettlingly strong, we have weak institutions especially a politicized bureaucracy, the institutional weaknesses have been partly caused by the prevalence of corruption and certainly aggravated by its continuance.

(iii) There is no substitute for time in developing a stable system. Stability requires a succession of peaceful transfers of power as a result of periodic elections perceived to be free, fair and transparent.

(iv) A culture of tolerance is not evident in the inter-action between political parties in government as against those in opposition with the result that the latter seek extra-constitutional and extra-parliamentary remedies.

(v) The independence of the judiciary has been impaired by the number of times judges of the superior courts have been made to swear oaths to defend different constitutional instruments. Presently, the confidence in the fairness and impartiality of the superior judiciary is at a very low ebb. The perception that the course of justice can be either influenced or purchased or both erodes people’s confidence in the entire political system.

(vi) Even during periods of civilian rule, successive Prime Ministers including Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif ran, to and extent, a non-consultative prime ministerial style of government by relaxing or ignoring the Rules of the business requiring cabinet approval for all major policy decisions. The only period in which there was true consultative cabinet government were the tenures of the Care-taker governments and possibly the Junejo government.

(vii) Sectarian and other groups who operate outside the pale of the constitution and the law have not sufficiently felt the iron fist promise after every out-rage committed by them.

(viii) External factors particularly the on-going confrontation with India which has required a dis-proportionate allocation of resources for defence at the cost of development expenditure and the needs of the social sectors leading to a situation where we have, with the exception of Nepal, the worst indicators in education and health even in the under-developed SAARC area, An electorate which is half illiterate and in which more than half are un-educated and of which one-third or more live below the poverty line with inadequate health and other civic facilities does not provide a sound base for a stable political system.

28. Let me move on now to an assessment of the impact of our political leadership on national security. National Security has both external and internal dimensions. First, a very brief statement, an overview if you like, of what are our security interests and the main external and internal threats to those security interests, we want an independent Pakistan in which there is a democratic order, continuing social and economic prosperity, safe-guards for our territorial integrity and preservation of our Islamic values. The main external threat to these security interests is our eastern neighbours which links its security to achievement of regional hegemony over all other states in South Asia including Pakistan. The main internal threat is poor governance especially economic mismanagement and inability to combat internal dis-order and ensure good law and order.

29. Economic well-being is a core value. A threat to economic welfare can jeopardize physical security. The growing poverty within Pakistan has a direct negative impact on our security. It will lead to internal unrest whenever there is actual or perceived deprivation and the unrest will manifest itself in a variety of colours whether they be ethnic, social, provincial. Sectarian or politically motivated.

30. The main counter to the external threat are the Armed Force of Pakistan who also play a role in countering the internal threat. So, in assessing the impact of political leadership on national security we have to go into the inter-action between the political leaders and Armed Forces. In this inter-action the Armed Forces have had a far greater impact on the political leadership than the other way around.

31. The Armed Forces have played 4 main roles in the context of the civil military inter-action. First, the giving of advice to civilian governments particularly by the Army Chiefs on policies that should or should not be followed. Second, a participatory role in formulation of defence policy and implementation of programmes related to defence production. Over time a practice has developed in which the Armed Forces determine the size of their own budget. In any case there is hardly any political or civilian input with regard to its details I cannot recall any debate in the National Assembly on either the quantum or the particulars of defence expenditure. Within the frame-work of Higher defence Organization the Defence Council headed by the defence Minister and comparing the Foreign Minster and Finance Minister and Service Chiefs in required to co-ordinate the defence, foreign and finance policies of Pakistan During the last more than 10 years this Council has met only once and that too during the tenure of a caretaker Defence Minister. Third, a role in implementation of policies as aid to civil power. At one time this was confined to law and order control and assistance in emergencies such as floods. This has since extended, amongst many other things, to induction of military personnel in WAPDA and the survey of ghost schools in Punjab. Fourth, the role performed in times of grave internal crisis which has led on 4 occasions to replacement of the political governments by either martial law or military rule, and on 4 other occasions to replacement of the elected governments by caretaker administrations pending fresh elections.

32. With reference to the 4th role, the question that we have to ask ourselves is what are the services chiefs, in particular the army chief, to do when national security is endangered either because large parts of the country have become un-governable or because the government is being run in violation of constitutional provisions, and a significant body of political and public opinion calls upon the armed forces to intervene. Let me give you an instance of which I have direct knowledge. In September 1996 the Chief Justice of Pakistan wrote to the President that a constitutional dead-lock had been created by the failure of the government to implement the decision in the Al-jehad Trust case with regard to the appointment of Judges. The President had also come to the conclusion that there was high degree of institutionalized corruption and that the economy was heading towards certain default, clearly a situation in which nation a security was endangered. In this context the then Army Chief decided to throw his weight behind the President’s decision to dismiss the second Benazir Bhutto government in exercise of President’s powers under Article (58)(2)(b). I may add here my own opinion that use of power under Article (58)(2)(b) is simply not possible for a civilian President without the support of the army chief.

33. In April 1997 Article (58)(2)(b) was repealed. Notwithstanding its repeal the then Army Chief was requested to cut short his official tour abroad by both the president and Prime Minister to help resolve the judicial crisis which was fast leading to a situation where the Prime Minister and his allies had determined on an impeachment of the President and the Chief Justice appeared equally determined to convict the Prime Minister of contempt of Court and thereby disqualify him from Holding elective office. As I said, at this time. There was no Article (58)(2)(b), also no National Security Council but the top political leadership realized that the crisis could not be resolved and the resultant threat to national security could not be removed without the good offices and authority of the Army Chief. The Army Chief’s intervention stopped the intended impeachment and gained time for the Prime Minister in the Court hearing.


34. The Chief Justice next wrote to the President for protection of the Supreme Court by the Armed Forces on the day the Supreme Court was stormed by an unruly mob. The President asked the Army Chief to arrange for this protection but the Army Chief declined and referred the request to the Government. Later, in 1998, convinced that the civilian government was following a course detrimental to the national interest, the Army Chief made his views public and resigned. Ayear later the new Army Chief had to make a choice. He and his colleagues intervened. Should the Army Chief have acted on the request made to him by the President and the Chief Justice in 1997 and/or should he have resigned in 1998? Were the decisions taken by the previous Army Chief the right decisions or the one taken by the present Army Chief and his colleagues in 1999 or were they both right in the light of the differeing circumstances faced by them? The questions are easy. The decisions that have to be made are not.

35. We are not likely to see a situation in Pakistan in which the armed forces are subordinate to the civil power in the manner seen and understand in the West. It appears to me therefore, that the political parties must perforce work to bring about a strengthening of the institutional structures pertaining to the civilian-military interaction, and that the establishment of the National Security Council is a step in the right direction though I would urge that the present very broad scope of its authority should be made more restricted, and it should not become a supra-cabinet body. I was the Defence Minister responsible for setting up a similar body, the Council for Defence and National Security, during the Care-taker Government of 1996-97. We set up the CDNS through an amendment in Rules of Business. I believe that had that Council continued to function we could have avoided the judicial crisis that led to the resignation of the Chief Justice and the President in 1997, the resignation of the Army Chief in 1998 and perhaps also the military take-over in October 1999. A balancing of powers between the President, and the Prime Minister, and an institutionalized role for the Armed Forces appear necessary for containing resolution of future crises and resultant threats to national security within constitutional parameters.

36. Permit me. At this stage, to say something about the basics of countering the external threat. No nation in the modern era, not even the United States, has been able to achieve a state of total or absolute security. If we subordinate all other core values to the need for countering the external threat through build-up of our armed forces we may encounter conditions that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. So we must learn to live not only with some insecurity but also with likely increases in the quantum of such insecurity as we are not presently in a position to match the build-up of the Indian armed forces.

37. In the past we have always concentrated on the military aspects of security but defence policy is not the only means for pursuing this goal. If the external threat cannot be adequately countered by military means then we must look to other ways of achieving this objective including diplomacy, economic development and internal cohesion and harmony. It does not need any deep analysis to come to the conclusion that our neighbour’s goal of achieving regional hegemony is facilitated if we are diplomatically isolated, economically weak and internally divided. Conversely if we are able to establish an international position in which friends and neighbours like China, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and others, including very importantly the United States, are clear that they will not allow our territorial integrity to be undermined, if we are able to move once again towards high rates of economic growth and reduction of poverty and if we are able to heal the political and social wounds that divide our people then there will be an automatic and significant reduction in the external threat.

38. Kashmir is a core issue for us in terms of our national security. We lack the military capability of securing to the Kashmiri people through use of force the rights guaranteed to them by the U. N. Resolutions. So what are our choices? Let us think back to the situation that prevailed before 1989. The Kashmir issue was effectively a dead issue. It became and remains a live issue only because the Kashmir people themselves decided to take up arms against the Indian occupation. It is also probably true that the freedom struggle remains alive in Kashmir because of our moral, diplomatic, political and other support. If we withdraw this support the struggle may peter out. History is witness to the fact that not every freedom struggle has succeeded. If we increase the level of our support to a level that seriously threatens the Indian occupation we risk war with India in which we will have little or no international support, perhaps not even that of our closest friends. It seems to me that in these circumstances all we can do is to ensure that the flame of freedom burning within Kashmir is not extinguished. We must do nothing that discourages or dampens the freedom struggle. This carries a risk that it may lead to a situation which escalates into the break-out of hostilities either along the Line of Control or even on the international frontier. This is a risk, a degree of insecurity, that we must continue to live with. We cannot and must not forget the supreme sacrifice of more than 80,000 Kashmiris who have lost their lives in the freedom struggle.

39. I may mention here that we should neither expect much from, nor even work for, international mediation. The only power capable of effective mediation in this day and age is the United States and the centre piece of US mediation is very likely to be the status quo viz the conversion of the Line of Control into the international frontier. Too often in recent times has the US stressed on us, in their words, respect for the sanctity of the LOC.

40. Will the continuation of the freedom struggle produce a Kashmir solution acceptable to us and the Kashmiris. Perhaps but not, I think, in the near future. The stage does not appear to be near when the morale and capacity of the Indian occupation forces is worn down to the point that India agrees to meaningful negotiations. There is however some possibiltiy of India agreeing to such negotiations because of its regional power aspirations including a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Our strategy lies in persuading the international community that India must settle all its disputes with its neighbours before this ambition is allowed to be fulfilled.

41. Is there an alternative strategy? Yes, we can negotiate on Indian terms which will be and acceptance of the Line of Control as the international frontier combined with (possibly) greater autonomy for occupied Kashmir within the Indian Union and, (possibly) freedom of movement of Kashmiris between the two parts. Is this solution or some variation of this acceptable to us. I suspect that there may be a body of opinion, who may argue that enough is enough, that Kashmir is not worth the risk the present impasse poses to the security of Pakistan, therefore, let us settle on the best terms we can get at this time. If we do so we will lose a part of our national vision, that part which is enshrined in the Constitution through the words “the unremitting struggle of the people against oppression an tyranny”. It will not be a peace with honour and a peace which is not with honour is even reduces the external threat to our security will depend entirely on what India does with the huge forces freed from security operations in Kashmir. If these forces are re-deployed on our international frontier the immediate threat to our security will aggravate rather than diminish.

42. I said earlier that the main threat to internal security is poor governance specially economic mismanagement coupled with internal disorder over a prolonged period of time. In the 30 years since the adoption of our present Constitution in 1973, we had 4 years of the late Zulfiqar Ali Butto, 11 years of General Zia-ul-Haq another 11 years of alternation between Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif and the last 4 years under General Pervez Musharaf. 15 years of civil-political rule; 15 years of military-martial law rule; 50:50. Consequently the responsibility for poor governance has to be a shared burden between the political leadership and the Armed Forces leadership unless of course it can be shown that standards of governance and records of achievement in various fields including in particular the financial and economic indices and parameters relating to law and order, were significantly better in any one of there periods as against the others.

43. The administrative reforms introduced by the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto which included the removal of constitutional guarantees for the civil services and the abolition of separate services and their conversion into amorphous administrative groups which so-called reforms were, in my view, a major contributing factor in the politicization of the bureaucracy and decline of integrity and efficiency standard in the civil services, were continued, and not reversed by General Zia-ul-Haq and then later by the successor civil governments. Bureaucrats realized that you needed high political or, as the case may be, high military connections to secure choice postings or promotions or even sometimes to continue in service. Politician for their own interest were only too happy to oblige and this “I scratch your back, you scratch my back” relationship continues to this day notwithstanding some welcome recent changes in the form of strengthening of the public service commissions and consequential better enforcement of rules and criteria for appointments and promotions.

44. The law and order situation is not and has not been noticeably better or worse in any of these period. All governments, without exception, have promised to deal with criminal elements especially sectarian and other terrorists with an iron hand, to change the thana culture and to convert the police into a people-friendly force and to ensure cheap and swift justice. Each government has claimed success both during its tenure and afterwards supported by much statistics. But law and order is not a matter of statistics. It is primarily a question of public perception at home and abroad. The common man continues to perceive the police as corrupt force that is more likely to harass than to help him, and the courts as places where he unlikely to obtain quick justice. International business opinion continues to view Pakistan as country where the law and order situation does not persuade them to come and make investments to any meaningful extent. From 1990 onwards till date foreign private investment in Pakistan has been less than $ 1 billion per annum except for one year and that was the year of the IPP investments during the tenure of Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto.

45. Economics mismanagement or its reverse, sound governance and sound control of the economy, is to be measured or adjudged not simply in terms of foreign exchange reserves and the level of indebtedness but also on the basis of other indices viz the underlying growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product, the incidence of poverty and changes in the Human Development Index (HDI) relating to per capita income, education and health. The present government can indeed be proud of its economic achievemnets on the external front especially the increase in the foreign exchange reserves and it matters not whether this achievement is linked to the events of September 11 or not. But the record in terms of other economic indicators is not that good. One third or more of the population continue to live below the poverty line. Even after taking into account the 5.1% growth in GDP last year the average for the last 4 years is 4% per annum. The growth rates achieved by the South-East Asian economies, 6% plus a year, year after year, are still a vision, not a reality. The economic discipline imposed by the IMF and World Bank programmes or for education (a little over2% of GDP) or for health (less than 1% of GDP) with the result that there has been only a marginal increase in per capita income while our position on the world-wide Human development Index has actually declined from 127 to 144 during the last four years in the list of 175 countries for which such statistics are available.

46. What we need is a consensus on the broad parameters of our social, economic, and financial policies and their continuity for sustained periods of time. Such consensus and continuity, together with sound population control policies and high levels of investment in education and health are the basis for the continuing high levels of economic growth in China and the East and South-East Asia countries. By way of contrasting example, in the 56 years of our existence, we have had 8 new education policies. Any education policy takes not less than a generation to work itself out. All that each new policy has done is to fail the previous one. Lack of continuity retards economic growth, and the poverty of human resources created by retarded economic growth is, as I mentioned earlier, one of the main causes for the instability of the political system.

47. How is consensus, and consequential continuity to be achieved. Through workshops in which parliamentarians, nazims, bureaucrats, professionals and armed forces personnel participate together such as the national security workshops recently held by your college, through debates on T.V. and in the print media and at seminars and other fora, through debates in the National Assembly and the Senate and ultimately through resort to dispute resolution mechanisms such as the Council of Common Interests and advisory or consultative bodies such as the National Security Council. Notwithstanding the disappointments of the past, we must collectively work for the strengthening and efficient functioning of all these institutional structures to ensure the positive impact of political leadership on national security interests both external and internal.

48. Let me end by a brief mention of a matter in which all political and military governments have been at one throughout the last 30 years and of which they can all be proud, and that is our nuclear programme. It is because of continuity and the continuous support of each succeeding government notwithstanding external pressures, that we have been able to build a credible nuclear capability both to deter and to defend. The nuclear programme has given us the room, the space, for flexibility in allocation of resources for the defence budget in future years. It has protected and enchanted our national security and given us a nation wide sense of pride in ourselves. It shows what can be achieved when there is national consensus and consequential continuity. This is the formula, the secret of success if you like, that we also need to apply in the case of our constitutional structures, our institutions of State, on the Kashmir issue and on social, economic and financial policies.


By Shahid Hamid
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