Vol. I Issue. 33
Kayani reasserts army's supremacy
07 November 2012
Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani made it clear that the army will not accept any civilian authority dictating terms. Increasingly under pressure from political leadership and judiciary, the Army chief rebuffed attempts to contain the Army's role in the country. He said "no individual or institution has the monopoly to decide what is right or wrong in defining the ultimate national interest". The army chief's obvious reference is to the judiciary which has been quite critical of the army in the recent past. What riled the Army most was the Supreme Court's judgment on ISI's political role in a recent case about the army paying huge bribes to political leaders to defeat former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The court's directives and arguments on the disappeared persons case have also not gone down well with the GHQ. A day after Kayani made his statement, the Supreme Court called for official papers on the Abbottabad raid in which the US Special Forces killed al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in May 2011. The army has maintained that it was not aware of the raid. These events have set the army and judiciary, two powerful institutions in Pakistan, on a path of collision with serious consequences for the stability of the country in the near future.
Text of Gen. Kayani's speech on November 5, 2012 at GHQ, Rawalpindi
As a nation, we are passing through a defining phase. We are critically looking at the mistakes made in the past and trying to set the course for a better future. An intense discussion and debate is natural in this process. No individual or institution has the monopoly to decide what is right or wrong in defining the ultimate national interest. It should emerge only through a consensus, and all Pakistanis have a right to express their opinions. The constitution provides a clear mechanism for it.
We all have a great responsibility to shoulder. We should learn from our past, try to build the present and keep our eyes set on a better future. We all agree that strengthening the institutions, ensuring the rule of law and working within the well defined bounds of the constitution is the right way forward. Weakening of the institutions and trying to assume more than one's due role will set us back. We owe it to the future of Pakistan, to lay correct foundations, today. We should not be carried away by short term considerations which may have greater negative consequences in the future.
Armed Forces draw their strength from the bedrock of the public support. National security is meaningless without it. Therefore, any effort which wittingly or unwittingly draws a wedge between the people and Armed Forces of Pakistan undermines the larger national interest. While constructive criticism is well understood, conspiracy theories based on rumours which create doubts about the very intent, are unacceptable.
The integrity and cohesion of the Armed Forces is essentially based on the trust reposed in them by the people of Pakistan. Strengthening this trust will ensure better security of the Country. Equally important is the trust between the leaders and the led of the Armed Forces. Any effort to create a distinction between the two, undermines the very basis of this concept and is not tolerated, be it Pakistan or any other country.
While individual mistakes might have been made by all of us in the Country, these should be best left to the due process of law. As we all are striving for the rule of law, the fundamental principle; that no one is guilty until proven, should not be forgotten. Let us not pre judge anyone, be it a civilian or a military person and extend it, unnecessarily, to undermine respective institutions.
All systems in Pakistan appear to be in a haste to achieve something, which can have both positive and negative implications. Let us take a pause and examine the two fundamental questions; One, are we promoting the rule of law and the Constitution? Two, are we strengthening or weakening the institutions? In the ultimate analysis, all of us would have served Pakistan better if history and our future generations judge us positively."
Pak-Australia defence talks
General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and his Australian counterpart, General David Hurley, Chief of Defence Forces Australia, began the sixth round of Pakistan - Australia Defence and Security Talks and the third round of Pakistan - Australia 1.5 Track Security Dialogue on November 3 in Sydney. The participants discussed issues of mutual concern, including the situation in Afghanistan and the consequences of the withdrawal of international forces by 2014. The defence and security talks first took place in 2006. The 1.5 Track dialogue followed in 2010. General Wynne led a delegation of representatives from all three Services, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior.
General Wynne warns of new form of war
General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), warned a new batch of Army officers about a new form of dangerous war facing the country. He said "during the past few years, we have witnessed rapid changes in the international environment resulting in a wave of internal instability in our country. We have been subjected to a new form of war with dangerous consequence for our liberty and independence. We must prove to the world that we are a resilient nation and cannot be undermined by extremists". He made these comments at the Passing out Parade of 126 Pakistan Military Academy long course.
The General said "we are living in an era of rapid technological advancement and future military leadership will find themselves at a loss if they fail to keep pace with evolving trends".
Admiral Asif Sandila new Navy chief
Admiral M Asif Sandila took over as the 19th Chief of the Naval Staff at a Change of Command Ceremony of Pakistan Navy held at PNS ZAFAR Naval Complex Islamabad. Addressing the officers, the new chief said "I am fully conscious of my duty to ensure that resources and assets which the nation provides us at the cost of many other important needs, are put to best use for achieving maximum Operational effectiveness. The contemporary security environment is complex and challenging and our responsibilities, both at sea and ashore, have increased manifold. Therefore, it is our prime duty to discharge these responsibilities to the fullest satisfaction of the Government and the people of Pakistan". He took over from Admiral Noman Bashir.
Naval exercise with Turkey
A Pak Navy contingent, with a multi-mission frigate 'PNS Shamsheer' and P3C Orion aircraft, is participating in a week-long joint exercise 'Mavi Baline-12' with Turkish Navy. The exercises are being held off Aksaz Naval Base Marmaris and Antalya harbour from 5 to 14 November.
PNS Shamsheer is Pakistan's second ship of SWORD Class frigates and with a Z9EC helicopter considered as a mainstay. Shamsheer, F22-P frigate, was constructed by China at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard at Shanghai and handed over to Pakistan Navy in January 2010.
The ship will stay at Aksaz Naval Base from November 5-8 and at Antalya from 12-14 November. The vessel is a multi-mission frigate and embarks a Z9EC helicopter.
PNS Shamsheer is the second ship of SWORD Class Frigates and forms mainstay of Pakistan Navy surface combatants. Installation of state of the art weapons and sensors onboard makes her an extremely versatile warship with tremendous firepower to effectively thwart possible threats at sea.
Mavi Balina exercise is fast transforming into an important regional forum to promote Collaborative Maritime Security and interoperability.
In a statement, the navy said it was " actively involved in maintaining peace and stability in the region from Gulf of Aden to Gulf of Oman, including North Arabian Sea. Pakistan Navy ships are vigorously operating and participating in all peace keeping missions. Pakistan Navy joined the Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan (CMCP) after 9/11 incident and had so far commanded the Coalition Task Force-150 five times. Due to Pakistan Navy's proactive stance and operations, not a single terrorism related incident has occurred in its area of operation."
Pak Special Forces in Sri Lanka
A contingent of Pakistan Special Forces Group took part in a two-week joint Military exercise 'Cormorant Strike lll - 2012' at Sri Lanka Army Camp in Minneriya. More than 2000 Sri Lankan tri-Service personnel besides officers from Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Maldives and India participated in the exercise. The exercise involved amphibious landing followed by operation on land under simulated combat action. The exercise was witnessed by observers from from Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, India, Maldives, Indonesia, Malysia and Myanmar.
Pakistan Air Force
Kayani calls for Army-Air Force collaboration
Army chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on October 24 called for synergy between Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force to meet the emerging challenges facing the country. Addressing a graduation ceremony at PAF Academy Risalpur, Kayani said "I can say it with full confidence that never before in our history did we achieve jointness as we have today. It should be our effort to improve it even further. It is the real force multiplier." The ceremony was attended by Chief of the air staff, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt among others.
Kayani said 'jointness' was key to the success of any military operation. He pointed out that "joint exercises like PAF's High Mark and Pak Army's command level exercises Azm-i-Nau, have helped us a great deal to synergize the efforts of Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force."
Exercise Saffron Bandit
Pakistan Air Force carried out the sixth Exercise Saffron Bandit 2012-2013 last month with the aim of enhancing the combat skills of PAF combat elements. Launching the exercise, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt said the Exercise was planned to integrate and synergise "all available and futuristic capabilities and weapon systems for practicing, evolving and validating current and modern tactical concepts in a near war like environment."
He said "PAF is the most potent element of the state defence, and as always, has to maintain its posture, to thwart any threats to the motherland. As all of you are aware, that while the traditional threats have not disappeared, new challenges with much uglier faces have surfaced, therefore besides evolving new and consolidating the established employment concepts, PAF has to keep this non traditional adversary in our sights as well". Exercise Saffron Bandit is a triennial exercise initiated over 20 years ago and is conducted by the elite Combat Commanders School (CCS).
JF-17 Thunder to participate in Chinese air show
Pakistan is sending a team of JF-17 Thunder multi-role all weather combat fighter jet, jointly produced with China, to the forthcoming Zhuhai Air Show in China from November 13-18, 2012. The light combat aircraft has already participated in several other air shows in the recent past, including the Farnborough Air Show in UK in 2010. The aircraft is being produced at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra in Punjab jointly with China Aero-technology Import Export Corporation. The first aircraft was handed over to Pakistan Air Force in November 2009. The air force has already raised two JF 17 squadrons and is likely to raise a third one by the end of the year. The air force had also plans to sell the aircraft but an accident in 2011 near Mansar town close to Kamra halted any further progress.
(This monitor is prepared by Wilson John, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation)