Tag Archives: COAS

14 questions for COAS: Why is only MQM being targeted, says Altaf



KARACHI: 

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain denounced law enforcement agencies’ actions and questioned the army chief on the institution’s ‘behaviour’ towards the MQM.

In a press statement issued on Friday, the MQM chief put forth 14 points or questions for Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif and asked what steps had been taken to curb injustices against the MQM.

Altaf said that 41 party workers have gone missing during the operation in Karachi since last September and the bodies of tortured MQM workers were dumped in remote areas. “Why is it that only MQM leaders and workers are being targeted and subjected to raids when all political parties including ANP, Sunni Tehreek, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Peoples Party and others have militant wings?” he asked.

In his 14 questions for the army chief, the MQM chief asked, “How many officers and men have been punished under the internal accountability process of the security forces for killing MQM workers by torture?”

With reference to the 1992 operation, he asked, “When this was directed towards the MQM why did the former COAS Gen Asif Nawaz say chapter regarding Altaf Hussain is closed?”

He said Brig Asif Haroon had distributed a fabricated map of Jinnahpur and if the UN was asked to probe the case or a public court held at GHQ, eyewitnesses and former army officers could testify that Brig Haroon’s allegations are baseless. He said those testifying should be given guarantees that they would not be victimised.

Altaf said that 15,000 party workers have been killed in extra-judicial killings since 1992, and asked, “Why has the army been unsuccessful in tracing the killers of my brother Nasir Hussain and nephew Arif Hussain? They were not party workers but were tortured and killed.”

The party chief asked, “Is it the army’s training to beat women and misbehave with them during raids and arrests? Is it part of the duty of the armed forces to divide the nation along linguistic and provincial lines?” He asked about material such as photographs, videos, audio tapes and literature confiscated during raids in 1992 on MQM workers’ homes and why the material was never returned.

Referring to PTI and PAT workers laying siege to the PTV building in Islamabad during the sit-ins, the MQM chief asked, “Why did no one from the Rangers stop them?” He said that it has been over 40 days of the sit-in but some parties continue to go into the Red Zone. “If  MQM announced a sit-in in Islamabad after a week, I hope the army and Rangers do not take action against us,” he said.

Altaf said that during the Rangers raids at Scheme 33, Faisal Subzwari was stopped from meeting the Rangers major. “Do brigadiers, majors and captains of the Rangers have more dignity according to the Constitution than elected representatives?” he asked.

He said the MQM is the only political party to come out in support of the army when it acted against terrorists and the party. “The army should tell Mohajirs what to do. Why can’t we be acceptable to the army even when we have positive sentiments for them?” he said.

Sit-ins in Karachi

The MQM wrapped up its sit-ins across the city early on Friday morning. On Thursday, it staged sit-ins at more than 10 locations in Karachi against the arrest of 23 workers by Rangers on Wednesday.

Dr Sagheer Ahmed and Adil Siddiqui negotiated with Rangers for the release of the activists and 15 have been released, said a party leader, citing the release of the men as the reason for ending the sit-ins.

“Three men have been sent on remand for 90 days on PPO, while four are still in the custody of Rangers,” the party leader said. “We hope that they would be set free if they don’t have any FIR registered against them.”

14 questions

Following are the 14 questions posed by Altaf Hussain to the army chief:

1- Ever since the Rangers started operation in Karachi and arrested party workers from different places, 41 activists have gone missing.

2- How many officers and men have been punished under the internal accountability process of the army forces for killing MQM workers by torture?

3- The Supreme Court had ruled in the Karachi lawlessness case that political parties which include ANP, Sunni Tehreek, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan People’s Party and others have militant wings. Why is that only MQM leaders and workers are being targeted and subjected to raids?

4- Regarding the 1992 operation, when it was directed towards the MQM, why did the former COAS General Asif Nawaz say that Altaf Hussain’s chapter is closed?

5- Brigadier Asif Haroon distributed a fabricated map of Jinnahpur. If the UN is asked to probe the case or a public court is held at the GHQ, eye witness and former army officers can testify that this was a baseless allegation. But a guarantee should be given that witnesses would not be victimised.

6- 15,000 party workers have been killed in extra judicial killings since 1992, and Altaf’s brother Nasir Hussain and nephew Arif Hussain, were not party workers, but were tortured and killed. Why has the army been unsuccesful in tracing their killers?

7- Is it the army’s training to beat women and misbehave with them during raids and arrests?  Is it the part of the duty of the armed forces to divide the nation along linguistic and provincial lines?

8- During raids in 1992, historic assets such as photographs, videos, audio tapes and literature were confiscated. Why is it that nothing has been returned?

9- The MQM is the only political party to come out in support when the army took action against terrorists, and even took out a rally of one million people in support of the army.

10- People from political parties stormed the building of PTV but why is it that no one from the Rangers stopped them?

11- During the Rangers raids at Scheme 33, Faisal Subzwari was stopped from meeting the Rangers major. Do brigadiers, majors and captains of the Rangers have more dignity according to the constitution than elected representatives?

12- The army should tell Mohajirs what to do. Why can’t we be acceptable to the army despite that we have positive sentiments for them?

13- It has been more than 40 days but some parties continue to go into Red Zone and carry their sit-ins.

14- If the MQM announced to carry out a sit-in in Islamabad after one week, I hope the army and rangers will not take action.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2014.


COAS appreciates troops for combat readiness



RAWALPINDI: 

Army chief General Raheel Sharif visited Gilgit and attended the annual commanding officers conference held at the Northern Light Infantry (NLI) Regimental Centre Bunji on Wednesday.

Addressing the officers and soldiers of NLI Regiment, Gen Raheel appreciated the high state of morale, operational preparedness and vigil being maintained by troops along the ‘most challenging frontline’. He advised the officers and soldiers to continue working with army’s traditional unflinching resolve and utmost dedication in the service of the nation.

The army chief later met war veterans, inquiring about their well-being and commending their services for the country. He also pinned badges to formally install Lieutenant-General Ikramul Haq as the new Colonel Commandant of the NLI Regiment.

Earlier, on arrival, Gen Raheel laid a floral wreath at the Yadgar-e-Shuhada and paid tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the defence of the motherland.

Upon arrival at the regimental centre, the army chief was received by Commander Rawalpindi Corps Lt-Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Lt-Gen Ikramul Haq.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2014.


Petitions against prime minister, COAS dismissed



LAHORE: 

Several petitions relating to the political situation in Islamabad were heard by Lahore High Court last week.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah dismissed a petition seeking directions to restrain the chief of army staff from engaging in political issues, particularly playing arbitrator in the stalemate in Islamabad.

Lawyer’s Movement for Protection of the Constitution had filed a petition through advocate Abdul Basit.

The petitioner’s counsel said the Supreme Court in its July 31, 2009 order had already ruled that the army had no role in politics under the Constitution.

Disqualification of the prime minister

LHC also dismissed a petition seeking disqualification of the prime minister and certain members of his cabinet.

A writ petition was filed in the court seeking disqualification of Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ahmed for allegedly lying to the nation about intervention by the chief of army staff to end the deadlock at in D-Chowk.

Petitioner Gohar Nawaz Sindhu, senior vice president of Insaf Lawyers Forum, told the court that the prime minister had asked the chief of army staff to intervene but told the parliament that he had not asked him to mediate the crisis.

On September 2, the court dismissed the petition for being non-maintainable.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah ruled that the statement made by the prime minister on the floor of the National Assembly and a press release issued by the ISPR disputed the petitioner’s claim.

Section for treason

On September 4, Justice Mehmood Maqbool Bajwa of the Lahore High Court sustaining an objection of the registrar’s office dismissed a petition seeking constitution of a five member bench to try the 21 people nominated in the FIR for the June 17 Model Town killings.

Petitioner Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafri sought an order for the addition of treason in Model Town FIR according to the Section 6 of the Constitution.

He said he feared that a single-member bench at district court’s level might be influenced.

He said Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act had not been added to the FIR as requested by Pakistan Awami Tehreek.

PAT seeks recovery of workers

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) moved the court on September 4 against alleged illegal detention of party 72 workers in the Punjab.

Advocate Ishtiaq Chaudhry filed a petition on behalf of the PAT and said that the provincial government had been victimising its workers on political grounds.

He said the government had detained at least 72 workers of the party and was not producing them before a court.

The lawyer asked the court to set aside detention orders, if any, issued by the government against the PAT workers.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2014.

 


Proper forum: Plea to restrain COAS from interfering in politics dismissed



LAHORE: 

Lahore High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking directions to restrain the chief of army staff from interfering in politics and playing the ‘arbitrator’ between quarrelling political parties.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah ruled that the Supreme Court was hearing a similar petition and directed the petitioners to approach the Supreme Court.

Wukala Mahaz for the Protection of the Constitution – a lawyers’ association – filed the petition through Advocate Dr Abdul Basit.

The petitioner’s counsel said in its July 31, 2009, order the Supreme Court had ruled that the army had no role in politics under the Constitution. He said to act as arbitrator between the government and protesting parties was an unconstitutional step for the army chief.

The petitioner requested the court to restrain the COAS from playing the role of arbitrator and direct him to comply with the July 31 judgment. It also requested that the federal government be directed to resolve the crisis through dialogue.

The petitioner said the scope and interpretation of Article-245 of the Constitution needed to be reviewed to see whether the armed forces, once called in to secure civilian spaces, could direct disarmament of civilian forces.

He referred to a press release issued by the Inter Services Public Relations a few days ago.  He said the statements issued by ISPR violated Article-245 of the Constitution.

He said these announcements created the impression that an army take over was round the corner, leading to uncertainty in the country.

A deputy attorney general said the Supreme Court was already hearing a similar matter in the Supreme Court. The court dismissed the petition.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2014.


PM Nawaz meets COAS Raheel Sharif



Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday met Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to discuss the ongoing political situation in the country, Express News reported.

The meeting is still underway.

The PM Nawaz-led government is facing protests by members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek over alleged rigging in the last general elections that brought Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to power.

The premier has met the army chief several times since the protests started on August 14.

 


COAS summons Corps Commanders meeting on Monday



Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has summoned an emergency meeting of Corps Commanders at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Monday, Express News reported.

According to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), COAS would chair the Corps Commanders meeting at the GHQ on Monday.

Matters related to internal security and the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan would be discussed during the meeting.

Earlier on Saturday, Director General of Military Operations Maj Gen Amir Riaz briefed the participants of the National Security Conference about the operation and the status of objectives achieved so far, said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The conference was informed about the areas cleared by the armed forces, and that terrorists were on the run and their command and control system had simply crippled.

“The meeting was briefed that that during the operation and to handle the blowback of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, requisite legal and constitutional cover has been given to the Pakistan Army wherever it was required,” said the statement.


COAS leaves for China to discuss strategic issues



ISLAMABAD: 

Army Chief General Raheel Sharif on Monday left for an official visit to Beijing. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief will hold talks with top Chinese political and military leadership on strategic issues.

“During the visit, the COAS will call on China’s political and military leadership. The interaction will encompass Pak-China relations with particular emphasis on defence and security cooperation,” said the statement.

Sources familiar with the itinerary said that apart from bilateral security and defence cooperation, the army chief would discuss the current regional situation particularly in Afghanistan.

Both Pakistan and China are closely watching developments unfolding in Afghanistan ahead of the US drawdown from there by the end of this year.

The two countries are seeking a clear roadmap leading to long term peace and stability in Afghanistan.

General Raheel is also expected to brief the Chinese leadership about the steps Islamabad has taken to deal with the threat of militancy stemming from the tribal areas.

Beijing has been following developments in the ongoing infighting within the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) because it believes that some militant groups in tribal areas are linked to the separatist movement in its Xinjiang region.

The leadership in China has publically praised Islamabad’s efforts in the battle against extremism. However, privately it has urged Pakistan to eliminate militant outfits linked to stoking unrest in Xinjiang.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2014.


Pakistan-India relations: Shahbaz meets COAS



LAHORE: 

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday called on Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to discuss Pakistan-India relations in the wake of recent shift of power in New Delhi.

According to well-placed sources, both the CM Punjab and COAS discussed India’s prime minister-in-waiting Narindra Modi’s invitation to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to participate in his oath-taking ceremony on May 26 along with SAARC nations’ heads.

They said that both Raheel Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif agreed that in view of the advice of various stakeholders a high-powered delegation, instead of the PM, should attend the ceremony.

The sources said CM Shahbaz and Raheel Sharif discussed composition of the delegation and the possible issues the Pakistani delegation could face during its trip.

They said Shahbaz along with PM’s Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi and Adviser to PM on National Security Sartaj Aziz are likely to participate in the oath-taking ceremony.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2014. 


Kabul trip: COAS discussed security situation in Afghanistan with ANSF chief



The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif during his visit to Kabul on Monday, reviewed the security situation in Afghanistan along with the transfer of security responsibility to Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Furthermore, he discussed ways of enhancing Pak-Afghan bilateralism with emphasis on coordinated mechanism along the border.

The COAS was also part of a tripartite meeting with the Afghan army chief and ISAF Commander General Dunford.

The meeting extensively discussed bilateral and trilateral cooperation with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Gen Sharif said that Pakistan considers security and terrorism is the common enemy of both countries.

The Afghan Defence Ministry said Sunday that General Raheel Sharif will represent Pakistan in the trilateral meeting with Afghan Chief of Army Staff General Sher Mohammad Karimi and International Security Assistance Force Commander General Joseph Dunford.

“The Chief of the Army Staff will be going to Kabul on Monday for a day-long visit. He will hold important meetings with Afghan military and ISAF commanders” a text message from the army’s Inter-Services Public Relations said, confirming the visit.

General Raheel will be attending the trilateral meeting in Kabul for the first time, the Afghan Defence Ministry spokesperson General Zahir Azeemi said in a statement.


Tripartite in Kabul: COAS to discuss anti-terror fight with Afghan, NATO commanders



ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif is scheduled to travel to Kabul on Monday to meet top Afghan and Nato commanders to discuss cooperation in the anti-terror fight and overall security situation, say Afghan officials.

The Afghan Defence Ministry said Sunday that General Raheel Sharif will represent Pakistan in the trilateral meeting with Afghan Chief of Army Staff General Sher Mohammad Karimi and International Security Assistance Force Commander General Joseph Dunford.

A diplomatic source in the Pakistani embassy in Kabul also confirmed to The Express Tribune over the phone that the army chief will attend the trilateral meeting.

The army’s Inter-Service Public Relations has not replied to queries.

General Raheel will be attending the trilateral meeting in Kabul for the first time, the Afghan Defence Ministry spokesperson General Zahir Azeemi said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.

“The tripartite meeting is aimed at discussing cooperation in security and in fighting terrorism,” the Afghan defence ministry said.

The meeting is important as it takes place at a time when foreign troops are devising an exit strategy and Afghanistan and Nato need Pakistan cooperation to ward off any threat to Afghan security.

General Raheel Sharif’s visit coincides with recent tensions along the border in Balochistan.

Afghanistan claimed on Thursday that one of its border police officers was killed as clashes broke out with Pakistani troops along the border in southern Kandahar province.

The Afghan Interior Ministry had also alleged that Pakistani forces had started “construction of bunkers and check posts inside the Afghan territory” in the Maroof district of Kandahar.

The Pakistan Army had rejected these claims by Afghan officials and in turn accused Afghan forces of firing at a Pakistani post.

A security official had stated that the Afghan National Army troops resorted to unprovoked firing on Pakistani post in Loe Bund area near Qilla Saifullah in Balochistan province.

The Afghan interior ministry insists that no country can build any checkpoint and bunker four kilometers of the border under the tripartite agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nato.

They claim Pakistani forces have violated the agreement and dug bunkers and built posts two kilometers near the Zero Point along the border.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have nearly 2500 kilometers of a joint border and both routinely accuse each other of cross-border attacks.

Pakistan says that senior leaders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have regrouped fighters in the Afghanistan border region and frequently launch attacks on Pakistani border posts.

Officials also say that the TTP chief, Maulvi Fazalullah, leads his men in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province.

In February Pakistan said that the TTP executed 23 Frontier Corps soldiers inside Afghanistan. The FC men had been kidnapped from a check post in Mohmand agency in 2010 and were believed to have been taken to other side of the border. Pakistan had lodged a formal protest over the incident.