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Sunday November 28, 2021

Establishment not averse to inter-institution dialogue idea

November 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The establishment is not averse to the idea of the much-discussed inter-institution dialogue if it is initiated to enable all institutions to learn from their past mistakes.

A source with close links to the establishment told The News that the security establishment also realises that all institutions had made mistakes in the past and it is now time for everyone to learn from history and correct their mistakes for the benefit of the people and the country.

However, it is not yet clear who would initiate the move for holding any such inter-institution dialogue. Independent observers believe that Prime Minister Imran Khan should take the initiative. However, he continues to maintain an aggressive stance towards his political opponents and prefers not to sit with them even to discuss issues of national importance. Nawaz Sharif’s recent aggressive stance towards the army chief and DG ISI had raised many eyebrows and caused alarm. There were fears that the political situation would worsen because of his statements and could even threaten the entire system. However, despite his statements, the former prime minister too is said to be ready for a meaningful dialogue process.

In a recent talk with The News, former prime minister and Nawaz Sharif’s confidant Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had said that Nawaz Sharif would also be ready to be part of meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders, including the army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and DG ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed. Abbasi had said that Nawaz Sharif’s recent speeches were not meant to humiliate any individual but to identify the problems and fix them for the brighter future of Pakistan and in the interest of the people.

To a question, Abbasi had added that it is his personal view that an inter-institution dialogue is the only way forward. When he was asked if Nawaz Sharif would agree to such an idea, he responded in the affirmative and said that the former prime minister had no personal agenda or grudge with anyone but wanted to address the fundamental wrongs in the system, which could only be corrected through a meaningful dialogue process.

From among the other PDM leaders, it is said that Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto would also welcome such a dialogue process. However, Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s response could be unpredictable. Of late, the JUI-F’s top leaders had spoken against the dialogue option. The major hurdle though would remain the government in case Prime Minister Imran Khan does not change his current rigid stance.

Meanwhile, the ISPR press release issued on Tuesday regarding the Karachi incident was generally welcomed by the opposition and was seen as a rebuff to the federal government. The army chief had taken serious notice of the kidnapping of the IG by the Rangers and, following the oppositions’ protest against the incident, the army chief had ordered an inquiry.

The inquiry established to determine the facts into the Karachi incident has now removed the ‘concerned’ officers of the Rangers and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from their “current assignments” after it was established that they acted “overzealously” creating an “unwarranted situation” between the two state institutions, said the military’s media wing on Tuesday.

The outcome of the inquiry was expected to help avert a possible confrontation between the PDM and the military establishment. Tuesday’s development, it is said, could serve as a confidence building measure for the PDM, which is now expected to focus more on attacks on Imran Khan and his government.

Almost a week ago, Nawaz Sharif in a tweet had said: “Despite Gen Bajwa’s personal assurance, result of inquiry into abduction of IG/AIG Sindh & storming of Maryam Nawaz’s room hasn’t been made public. Does this nation have the right to know the reasons for delay? The matter wasn’t so complicated to have taken more than a few hours.”

General Bajwa has now delivered on his assurance. What has been the response? While Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, addressing a rally in Gilgit-Baltistan, welcomed the outcome of the inquiry, Nawaz Sharif has taken a hard line, rejecting the inquiry report and terming it a “cover-up.”

In his latest tweet, Nawaz said: “Inquiry report on Karachi incident is a cover-up scapegoating juniors & shielding the real culprits. Report ‘Rejected’.”Nawaz Sharif’s tweet appears to be the replica of how in a tweet the former spokesperson of the ISPR had “rejected” the Nawaz government’s notification on the Dawnleaks report. While the spokesperson’s tweet had soured the relationship between the civil government and the military, Nawaz Sharif’s latest remarks on social media are expected to inflame tensions and could cause rifts within the PDM.