Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has warned that no individual or institution has the right to decide what is right or wrong when it comes to defining the ultimate national interest.
In what appeared to be a quite hard tone, the military chief stated that any effort to create a divide between the people and Armed Forces undermines Pakistan’s larger national interest.
A press release by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, “The 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.”
The statement quoted him saying, “We are critically looking at the mistakes made in the past and are trying to set the course for a better future.”
“It should emerge only through a consensus, and all Pakistanis have the right to express their opinions. The Constitution provides a clear mechanism for it.”
He said that while individual mistakes might have been made by everyone in the country, these should be left to the due process of law, and the fundamental principle of “not guilty until proven” should not be forgotten.
The army chief said that the nation should learn from the past, try to build the present and aim for a better future.
The military chief stated, “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.”
Calling for public support for the armed forces, Kayani said that national security was meaningless without public support, and any effort which draws a wedge between the people and the armed forces undermines the larger national interest.
“While constructive criticism is well understood, conspiracy theories based on rumors which create doubts about the very intent, are unacceptable,” he added.