Lengthy civil-military huddle

PRIME Minister Imran Khan, accompanied by some ministers, visited the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Thursday where he received a comprehensive briefing on all aspects of national security and defence. According to an ISPR statement, they were given detailed briefing on security environment, threat spectrum and response, Army’s campaign against terrorism, Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, Karachi situation as well as Khushhal Balochistan programme.
It has been a routine with heads of government to visit GHQ as well as Joint Staff Headquarters after assumption of power with the obvious objective of getting necessary briefing on all aspects of internal and external threats. However this was perhaps the longest civil-military huddle, as it continued for eight hours that speaks volumes about issues involved and serious nature of discussion. The brain-storming session assumed all the more importance as the PTI government is comparatively less experienced and it needed to acquaint itself about intricacies of national issues and how best to handle them. This is particularly so in view of the fact that on some of the foreign policy issues, the nascent government apparently faltered especially in the context of Imran-Pompeo telephonic conversation and misinterpretation of the language used by Indian Prime Minister while felicitating his Pakistani counterpart on assumption of his office. The briefing was also timely in the sense that a US team consisting of military chief and Secretary of State is coming to Pakistan next week for first formal dialogue with the new government and there was need of understanding on all the issues involved.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary’s remarks after GHQ visit reflect civilian leadership satisfaction over what transpired at the briefing and it has also conveyed an impression that civil-military leadership was on the same page for the sake of national interest. Pakistan has suffered immensely due to tension and mistrust among institutions and it cannot afford continuity of the past practice. There are serious challenges that have to be tackled by the new government and that requires peace of mind and sincere support from all institutions and organs of the state. It is also quite obvious that challenges in the realm of security, defence and foreign affairs can best be addressed if Pakistan was economically strong, which would mean safeguarding national interests in the face of arms-twisting and pressure tactics. Political stability and continuity of policies are fundamentals to achieving that cherished goal.

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