Ex Pak NSA Says, Army In-charge of Foreign Policy On India

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SRINAGAR: Pakistan’s former National Security Advisor General Mahmud Ali Durrani has said that Pakistan Army controls the foreign policy on India and Afghanistan  as the political leadership and the civilian institutions were weak and had to do more to “earn respect”.

“As far as our foreign policy towards India, Afghanistan and Iran is concerned, the military has a stronger role than the Foreign Office and [our] political leadership,” Durrani who was also Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington told Pakistani newspaper Dawn in an interview. 

“If political leadership and other civilian institutions are weak and the military is better organised, then the military will naturally dominate … It is all about the interplay of wisdom and strength of the institutions”.

Durrani who has been an active player in the India-Pakistan peace diplomacy, however, admitted that the Army was hampering peace efforts between the two countries.

“If it (Pakistan Army) is not a roadblock then why are things not moving the way that they should be moving?,” Durrani who retired as Major General asks in reply to a question. But he added that the roadblock was “too strong a word” to use.

“The military has certain views and it has a strong influence on society … It has some serious misgivings about India, about what India wants from us with regards to Kashmir, about how India wants to be a dominant power and how we should handle it”.

Durrani said that the peace with India would be impossible if Pakistan military  is not taken on board.

“Whenever I go to India, I take the military leadership into confidence. Peace with India will be almost impossible if we don’t take our establishment, particularly our military, with us,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the military has been very suspicious about India right from the beginning. Initially [India] said they did not accept the creation of Pakistan and would try to undo [Pakistan] given half an opportunity”.

However, Durrani added that Pakistan military is not as hard-line today on India as it was in 1948 or 1965. “Subtle changes have come about. I am a living example of diversity of opinions within the military. Since my retirement, I have been working on India-Pakistan relations and have also written a book on the subject,” he said.

Durrani has harsh words for the country’s civilian leadership, almost implying they weren’t worthy of respect and couldn’t be trusted with handling the relations with India. 

“My only request to our political leaders and our establishment is that they should maintain their dignity. Pakistan must have good relations with India, but being a doormat will not help. They have to show some strength and dignity in international relations. Wanting peace is good, but national interest should be their foremost priority. That should be the guiding principle,” he said adding the  military should respect the civilian leadership but then the civilian leadership should earn respect.

“How can one accord respect to an incompetent, useless thief?”

 

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