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A Leaking Senate?

by Newsweek Pakistan

Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Lawmakers’ publicizing of the Army chief’s in-camera briefing has helped the military’s prestige

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Wednesday rightly lost his cool over senators leaking details of an in-camera briefing by Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. What use is the word “in-camera” if the House is going to hit the town with details that were never meant to be made public? Some senators tried to point to the “leaking” done by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) but that was a lame cover, the ISPR briefing being of a general nature.

Yet, the leak has turned out to be benign and has disarmed suspicions all around. The image of the Army has improved, the commitment of the current Army chief highlighted by his sincere admission that the “interventions” of past Army chiefs will not be repeated. He asserted the subordination of the Army to the Constitution and the role it clearly defines for the armed forces. One must also bear in mind that the Senate is dominated by two parties that the Army chiefs of the past have not been kind to, booby-trapping their governments and derailing the judiciary from its designated role.

Consider. There was a “long march” and a “dharna” by Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf and Allama Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PTI) in 2014 against the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government, assisted, according to a senior leader of the PTI, Javed Hashmi, by the ISI through a retired officer, Brigadier Ejaz Shah.

Shah had shifted from his residence in Lahore Defense Society to a guesthouse in Islamabad to plan the assault strategy of the Khan-Qadri duo. Shah was connected to an earlier rumor that ex-ISI chief General Ahmad Shuja Pasha had visited Lahore. Pasha was also connected with the earlier “visit” of Tahirul Qadri to Pakistan and his party’s sit-in protest against the PPP government in January 2013. This was finally confirmed by Hashmi who disclosed to a TV channel that Shah had prepared the entire “script” of the party’s action-plan and had got PTI chief Khan to go to London to meet PAT chief Qadri secretly in the first week of June 2014. The cult of “dharna” since that year has brought Pakistan to its knees.

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