Another PM complains of ‘State within a state’ in Pakistan

Another PM complains of ‘State within a state’ in Pakistan

January 9, 2018

It seems that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, is now speaking out about the role of Pakistan’s ‘state within state’ –the ubiquitous and widely detested intelligence services. The PM believes that the intelligence agencies are behind the recent political upheaval in war-torn Balochistan that has resulted in the resignation of the provincial Chief Minister, Sanaullah Zehri.

According to Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty  “Abbasi told Pakistan’s independent Capital TV on January 10 that in an effort to find out what prompted PML-N lawmakers to move against a coalition administration headed by a leader from their party, he discovered many had not acted on their own volition. “People told me about being pressured by intelligence agencies. Some people told me about receiving phone calls [from intelligence operatives],” Abbasi said. “Someone said they saw people [lawmakers] confined to compounds where vehicles of the FC (Frontier Corps) were parked,” he added while naming a paramilitary organization that is tasked with border security, counterterrorism and aiding the government with law and order in Balochistan.”

Here is the link to PM Abbasi’s interview in Urdu.

The PM’s remarks come almost 9 years after an earlier Prime Minister had expressed similar sentiments.

In May 2009, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had stated that a “state within a state” would not be allowed.

Two years later in December 2011 Premier Gilani again repeated similar yet stronger words:

“In one of the most audacious speeches by a sitting prime minister in recent memory, Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday unexpectedly let loose a barrage of accusations and reservations against the country’s all-powerful military establishment. First at an exhibition, and later on the floor of the National Assembly, Gilani not only voiced concerns over ‘conspiracies being hatched against the incumbent government,’ he questioned the credibility of the armed forces over the Osama bin Laden (OBL) debacle that resulted in questions being asked on the global stage about Pakistan’s sincerity in battling terrorism. The premier, in a direct reference, hit out at the military establishment, and said that a “state within [a] state will not be acceptable,” referring to the military’s dominance in the country’s affairs. The premier set out to clear that there are no sacred cows, and that the intelligence agencies cannot absolve themselves in the OBL debacle. “We are being asked by the judicial [Abbottabad] commission about issuance of visas (to Americans). But I want to ask how Osama bin Laden lived here for the past six years? On what type of visa was he living here,” Gilani asked. Up next, he took on his own admission of weakness – the defence ministry’s response to the Supreme Court wherein it claimed that military’s operational matters do not come under its domain. “If they say they are not under the ministry of defence, then we should get out of this slavery,” Gilani said. “Then this parliament has no importance, this system has no importance, then you are not sovereign.” After pathos, Gilani resorted to logos. “They are being paid from the state exchequer, from your revenue and from your taxes. All institutions are subservient to parliament, and we have made them accountable to parliament”, the premier said. His conclusion was terse. “If somebody thinks they are not under the government, they are mistaken. They are under the government and they shall remain under the government, because we are the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan.” Gilani reiterated past events where, he said, the government stood by the armed forces at the bleakest of hours – over a storm of American pressure after the OBL raid, the Nato attack at border posts on November 26, 2011 and the 2008 Mumbai attacks. “The democratic government has always emboldened and motivated the image of security forces on all issues,” the premier said. Realising the sacrifices of our soldiers for the cause of the country, the government raised their salaries by a hundred per cent, he added. The ire was directed not just at the military, though. Gilani also addressed the judiciary, reminding the judges that he ordered their release moments after his election as prime minister, and his government reinstated them to their offices later.”

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