The President of Pakistan has signed the bill of National Security Council adopted by the act of parliament through simple majority. Pakistan has fallen among nearly 50 countries of the world, which have National Security Council playing important roles. The National Security Council [NSC] will include 13 members, four military members, besides General Musharraf who will chair it. Other council members include Prime Minister, the four Chief Ministers of the provinces, the Speaker of National Assembly, the Opposition Leader and the Chairman of the Senate. Matters of national security, sovereignty, integrity, defence, security of the state and crisis management will be thoroughly discussed in the NSC. The council is aimed to serve as a forum for consultation between the president and the government. Any proposal on an issue deemed to be of national importance requiring implementation would be referred by the NSC to the National Assembly or the Senate for appropriate action.
At last the big armed forces chiefs and ruling parties have agreed to have NSC in the country. The government of Prime Minister Zarafullah Khan Jamali has said that the NSC would have only an advisory role in politics, and would include provincial governors, members of the opposition and senior military officers. But the opposition counters that the NSC, to be headed by Musharraf, will be used to run the country and override civilian leaders. The creation of the NSC comes soon after the United States rewarded Musharraf as an ally in the "war on terror" by declaring Pakistan a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally.
The NSC would strengthen democracy; end once for all and for all conspiracies to weaken democratic institutions in the country. The issues of democracy and weakening of democratic institutions would not possibly arise under the purview of the NSC. After a comparative study of national security decision making processes of countries like USA, UK, France, Germany and Israel, what strikes one is that keeping in mind our own requirements and experience, Pakistan needs to inherit experiences from USA & France.
Many intellectuals and most of the opposition parties in the country are opposing the formation and establishment of the NSC. According to them it is against the democratic spirits. It is supra constitutional body which will ultimately sack the powers of the parliament. Some say it will instrument to prolong the rule of General Musharraf the president of Pakistan. All the members of the ruling party i.e. the Muslim League (Q) and its allied parties/partners have totally convinced that the NSC will be beneficial to our shaky democratic system. It will also provide some kind of forum where all the important issues of national and provincial levels will be discussed to provide macro socio-economic stability and political continuity in the country.
The recent composition of the NSC is quite different from the original shape of the NSC created by executive order by Musharraf in July 2001.
General Musharraf the President of Pakistan itemized the objectives of the National Security Council in July 2001 as under:
1). Rebuild national confidence and morale.
2). Strengthen federation, remove inter provincial disharmony and restore national cohesion.
3). Revive economy and restore investor confidence.
4). Ensure law and order and dispense speedy justice.
5). De-politicize state institutions.
6). Devolution of power to the grass-roots level.
7). Ensure swift and across the board accountability.
At that time, membership would have been restricted to the armed forces and the governors of the provinces. Now, membership will consist of nine civilians who are elected representatives and four acting army chiefs. Instead of it becoming part of the constitution, as was originally intended in 2001, it was agreed to have it passed by an Act of Parliament. All the opposition parties especially MMA launched protest in both of the houses of parliament and invited other opposition parties on the issue of the NSC. At last ambiguity has been removed and the majority of the members of the National Assembly and the Senate approved the composition and formation of the NSC. The NSC has, a purely advisory capacity and can only make recommendations to the President and government.
Some experts of comparative political sciences and international politics say that Pakistan’s NSC has Turkish Wine Taste. Our military leaders have repeatedly wished to model Pakistan’s NSC on the Turkish NSC. The powerful role of military is now tradition in Turkey and its political system, constitutional mechanism, and democratic wisdom has formally recognized the troika of ruling elites i.e. the President, The Prime Minister and the Army Chief. But even now the parliament of Turkey has, under pressure from the European Union, sought to balance its military and civilian membership more evenly to include Turkey in the EU. Ours NSC is also different in many ways from Indian’s NSC. The Indian’s NSC, includes many federal ministers and is chaired by the Prime Minister not the President as in case of Pakistan.
Our political and constitutional history is full of contradictions and controversies. In the words of late president Iskandar Mirza, "Some underdeveloped countries have to learn democracy and until they do so they have to be controlled” and many military coups in the country has proved that junta of some greedy & corrupt politicians, religious thirsty crows, vultures of leftiest parties and monkeys of major pressure groups always made easy for the army to take over the reigns of the successive governments in the country. Conspiratorial politics has badly damage investment-friendly image of the country due to continued breakage of political system in the country. India has achieved remarkable economic development due to its strong believe in democratic spirits and continuity of the political system.
Critical Analysis of Political and Constitutional History of Pakistan
1). Governor-general Ghulam Muhammad sacked Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin who was enjoying the support of the majority in the legislature.
2). The dismissal of the first Constituent Assembly in retaliation to its move to curtail the powers of the governor-general is another prime example of sabotage on democracy. Only during the premiership of Z.A. Bhutto and the second tenure of Nawaz Sharif parliament did remain independent of the control of the president
3). In the 1956 Constitution, one of the clauses empowered the president to sack the prime minister, which president Mirza invoked, or threatened to invoke, on several occasions to bring the prime minister to his heel.
4). The 1962 Constitution being presidential, there was no need for such a clause. The 1973 Constitution in its original form did not have any provision, which could enable the president to control the prime minister or the legislature.
5). Article 58-2b was incorporated into the Constitution giving the president the discretionary power to dismiss the parliament and the prime minister. From its birth in 1985 to its repeal in 1997, the Article became a lethal weapon in the hands of successive presidents to control and destabilize parliamentary institutions.
Our past national and regional experiences indicate the personalized conduct of foreign policy, major shift in national macro socio-economic policies and geo-strategic tactics were not discussed at any level in the country. Pakistan like Israel could also learn extensively from USA about the "Crisis Management" structures and functioning of the NSC. The Unites States has the most highly developed, formal NSC system in the world. In particular what Pakistan needs to note is the imperative to bring about a legislated existence of NSC, NSA. Legislation should like USA, stipulate that the NSC is a statutory body. France has two or three unique mechanisms not found in any other country and which our policy makers and legislatures need to consider like the Estate-Major particular [EMP] and the Institute des Hautes Etudes de Defense National [IHEDN]. The former is an elite group of high-ranking military officers located in the President’s office to advise him. The latter is a prestigious think tank whose findings are not publicized but available to the French NSC equivalent.
COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE NSCs OF TURKEY, INDIA, USA, AND PAKISTAN
In the presidential system of USA the NSC is chaired by the President, and in parliamentary democracies like India, the Prime Minister heads the body. Pakistan has mixture of two systems with an overwhelming presidency and role of the armed forces. In some countries like Israel the nominee of the Prime Minister heads the NSC, who is to report to the Prime Minister. The mandate of the NSCs differs from country to country. Now Pakistan has the most elaborative system in the world. Besides, USA, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Israel, Sweden, Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Brazil, Singapore and South Africa have NSCs.
The attraction of the Pakistani military for the Turkish military’s institutionalized role in politics through a body such as the NSC is old and abiding. It stems from the days of general Zia ul-Haq in the late 1970s, if not earlier, because of close interaction between their military brasses as Cold War allies of the US.
Troika To Create Democratic Equilibrium and Continuity in Political System of Pakistan
– The Parliament, PM
– The NSC
– The President
A Brief History of the NSC In Pakistan
1). The idea of the NSC was first introduced as Article 152-A by late General Zia-ul-Haq the solider of Islam in his Revival of Constitution Order of March 1985. It was, however, dropped from the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which contained the RCO, in the course of bargaining with the party-less but elected Parliament later that year.
2). A National Security Council was also set up by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan by his own Executive Order on General Zia’s death in August 1988. It did not function and was probably meant to deal with some contingency that never arose. It formally ceased to exist on transfer of power to the first Benazir Bhutto government later in 1988.
3). A Council for Defense and National Security was set up by President Farooq Khan Leghari after the ouster of the second Benazir Bhutto government and dissolution of the National Assembly on November 5, 1996, by amending 20-A of the federal government rules of business. It was upheld by a division bench of the Lahore High Court but only as an advisory and temporary adjunct to the then caretaker set-up. The Council became defunct on the revival of Parliament in February 1997. President Farooq Leghari, under military prodding, issued a decree in January 1997 creating an NSC on the Turkish pattern, but Sharif, on being elected in 1997, allowed it to lapse.
4). The idea of a National Security Council was once again floated by the Army Chief of Staff General Jehangir Karamat in October 1998. Addressing Navy cadets at the Pakistan Navy War College, Lahore, General Karamat said that in view of the polarization in the country’s politics, a National Security Council should be established to institutionalize decision making. He added that the NSC may be backed by a team of credible advisers and a think-tank of experts.
5). It re-emerged on November 6, 1999 on the orders of General Musharraf the President of Pakistan to be reconstituted by the National Security Council Ordinance 2001.
History of the NSC In Turkey
The NSC came into being in Turkey after a military coup in 1960. The new 1961 constitution transformed the earlier inoffensive National Defense High Council into the National Security Council. The president of the republic, instead of the prime minister, was made its chairperson, and the council of the army, navy, air force and the gendarme became its members, apart from the prime minister and four other important ministers. The council now became a constitutional body and offered crucial information to the Council of Ministers, cabinet concerning the internal and the external security of the country.
After constitutional amendments following the 1971-73 military intervention, it submitted its suggestions to the Council of Ministers. The 1982 constitution, a less liberal product and the result of the 1980-1983 military intervention, further strengthened the NSC’s role by obliging the Council of Ministers to give priority to its recommendations. Threats from the military members of the NSC had made premier Suleyman Demirel resign in 1971, and the first-ever Islamist premier, Necmettin Erbakan, was forced to resign in 1997, thus avoiding direct military takeovers.
The Turkish Troika
– The PM
– The CGS (Chief General Staff)
– The President
The Turkish armed forces enjoy total autonomy in their affairs. The chief of general staff [CGS] ranks after only the prime minister, and along with the president forms the troika that rules the country. Since the 1960 coup, Turkish politicians have slowly worked out a working relationships and functional democracy between the political system and the chief of armed forces. After the 1971 Turkish coup, with the top military command’s views expressed in the NSC, putsches by colonels, tried a few times in the 1960s, disappeared in Turkey. The 1971 intervention was a result of pressure from middle-level officers. Since 1923, except for president Celal Bayar ousted in the 1960 coup, all Turkish presidents had been retired military chiefs. But first Turgut Ozal (1989-1993) and then Demirel (1993-2000) strengthened civilian ascendancy by getting themselves elected as presidents. The current president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, is a former president of the Supreme Court.
In Pakistan, the position of the army’s CGS, originally based on the British colonial model but customized after 55 years of understanding since independence in 1947, during which the military has directly governed for more than half the period, is even more influential and definitely more subjective than the Turkish equivalent. In mooting a NSC in 1998, with a say for the armed forces in decision-making, General Jehangir Karamat was only stating a political reality, which might have avoided unsavory confrontation. Now it will legalize the de facto position of the military and make its role more predictable and even accountable. Like Turkish politicians, Pakistanis will have to work out functional and amicable relationships with the armed forces in order to avoid any kind of break in the political system in the country.
Turkish politicians roll back role of armed forces. Ironically in Ankara, taking advantage of Turkey’s desire to join the Europe Union, Turkey’s parliament passed a harmonization package in August 2003 which will help bring the country closer to EU norms in preparation for a decision towards the end of this year on Ankara being given an accession date to talk about joining the body. The package rolled back the hitherto decisive political role of the Turkish armed forces, almost to the levels of the 1950s. While the armed forces could not oppose it openly, the move left them very agitated. The Turkish military considers itself the guardians of the secular republic and custodians of the legacy of Ataturk.
The reforms reduced the military’s hold over the NSC, and the measures stress that the council will in the future be strictly an advisory body, with no executive powers. The number of times that the council meets is now limited, and a civilian is allowed to head its secretariat, rather than a general. Further, greater parliamentary scrutiny of military expenses was introduced.
Not surprisingly, the armed forces remain unhappy with the reform package. For the time being the critical situation in Iraq has kept tensions between the politicians and the military from boiling over. Turkey, even 80 years after Ataturk’s sweeping reforms and a secular constitution in place since 1923, is still vulnerable politically. The ramifications of the constitutional amendments carry with them the seeds of deep political turmoil, although, should the AKP and the armed forces not take extreme positions, there are signs that democracy can further evolve in the country. Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, is an example where the military continues to exert influence beyond traditional democratic processes.
Salient Features of India’s New National Security Council
The Indian Government’s National Security Council [NSC] architecture has evoked mixed reactions. The timely initiative in filling up a long-felt lacuna has been welcomed. The apex six members NSC headed by the Prime Minister, the NSC comprises of a Strategic Policy Group [SPG], a National Security Advisory Board [NSAB] and a Secretariat whose nucleus would be provided by the existing Joint Intelligence Committee. In addition there would be the National Security Advisor [NSA].
Past inadequacies in Indian national security management arose from:
1). The absence of long-term thinking and planning due to preoccupation with day-to-day crisis management and short-term compulsions of the ruling party.
2). The shyness of fresh thinking and a coordinated approach to national security issues due to the undue influence of narrow departmental mindsets.
3). The absence of a watchdog set-up, uninfluenced by departmental loyalties, to monitor the implementation of the national security decisions and remove bottlenecks caused many multidimensional geo-strategic and socio-economic problems.
A Government’s one-person nodal point on national security issues, whether it is called the NSA as in the US, Russia and many other countries, the Chairman, JIC, as in the UK or the Secretary-General, National Defence, as in France, has to perform four roles:
1). Coordinate crisis management activities in the country and give the best advice to the government.
2). Identify and assess short, medium and long-term threats to national security
3). Facilitate a coordinated flow of intelligence, assessments, intellectual and operational inputs to the political decision-makers of the NSC
4). Help them in formulating an adequate policy and/or action response.
5). Watch over the implementation process to identify and remove bottlenecks and departmental feet dragging.
In the US, Russia, France and other countries, the importance of a full-time NSA to be able to pay adequate attention to all these roles has been recognized right from the inception of the post. In the UK, the Lord Franks Committee, appointed in 1982 by the then Prime Minister, Mrs.Margaret Thatcher, attributed the failure of the Government to anticipate and forestall the Argentine occupation of the Falklands to the absence of a full-time adviser on national security.
National security has many facets, political, military, economic, energy, science and technology, communications, information technology, psychological and intelligence capability but, when the chips are down, in the ultimate analysis, it is the military which includes the other security forces too such as the Police and intelligence capabilities which would determine whether national security is effectively maintained or not. Thus, the armed forces and the civilian security bureaucracy have an important role in the NSC architecture in any country.
An important aspect of the NSC’s work in India would relate to determining the optimum strength of the military and the security bureaucracy in the medium and long-terms. The NSC architecture, with a predominant role for the military and security bureaucracy, might over-assess threats in order to justify more than an optimum strength. The military and security bureaucracy are trained to assess what is necessary and work for it. Considerations of feasibility and acceptability to public and political opinion do not generally enter into their calculations. But, in peacetime, the political leadership cannot afford to ignore such considerations and has to constantly harmonise the necessary with the feasible and the acceptable to public opinion. The effectiveness of any NSC architecture would depend on the professionalism and open mind of its permanent staff, which, in Indian case, would be the JIC.
INDIA’S NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL A CRITICAL REVIEW
The evolution of an Indian National Security Council [NSC] should have been a natural corollary, which should have been raised by India’s Political leadership in the first few years of Independence, as military disagreement and civil contention emerged simultaneously with the partition of India into two separate nations. Politically India’s first Prime Minister intentionally prevented this evolution. Nehru had a misperceived distrust of the Indian Armed Forces arising form the then contemporary developments where military dictatorships emerged in many countries, which had recently won freedom from colonial rule. Nehru completely sidelined the Indian Armed Forces from any effective participation in national security decision-making. Here the civil bureaucracy, too, had a convergence of interest with the political leadership, in that they did not want the emergence of a rival elite with direct access to the political leadership.
Subsequent political leaderships for similar reasons continued this policy. Even the 1962 debacle, which brought into focus, India’s lack of effective national security decision making, could not prompt the Government to evolve a National Security Council, while many changes were made in the structure of the Armed Forces. Later on, attempts by the V. P. Singh, Narasimha Rao governments to bring into existence a National Security Council, which all advanced democratic countries have in their systems, were effectively scuttled by opposition from the civil bureaucracy.
Fifty years down the road when the BJP Government announced on 19 November, 1998 the creation of India’s first structured National Security Council in fulfillment of its electoral manifesto National Agenda, the decision was mercifully welcomed and it also raised high expectations. However, a year and a half of its setting up, expectations stand belied and it seems that the creation of the NSC has been an exercise in futility.
Nuclear weaponisation of South Asia, the proxy war in J & K, the turbulent regional security environment and the rising internal security threats dictate India’s NSC to be an effective instrument of national security decision making. The issues and problems attendant therefore, need to be reviewed once again in their entirety. The most glaring shortcoming in this field is the lack of strategic culture in India’s polity and civil bureaucracy. This has run through right from 1947 to 1999 i.e. the Kargil War. The lack of strategic culture in India stands commented upon by independent observers from abroad, namely the more commonly read views of George Tanham in the RAND study for the US Department of Defence. Further to borrow Henry Kissinger’s views in another context, it can be said that neither education nor exposure nor incentives existed for the Indian political leadership and civil bureaucracies to think in strategic terms or appreciate matters military. India’s national security decision-making processes so far have been archaic and anarchic. The military high command stands divorced from national security decision-making and the structure of the newly created NSC reflects this deficiency.
In all advanced democracies like USA and Britain the appointment of Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of Defence Staff exists at the apex of the military hierarchy. He provides an institutionalized link between the political leadership and the Armed Forces in terms of higher direction of war and also as an agency for institutionalised contingency planning on behalf of the nation. Successive Governments in India have refused to consider this imperative due to opposition from the civil bureaucracy, who fear that this would marginalize their roles.
The United States National Security Council: Apex of all the NSCs
The National Security Council was established by the National Security Act of 1947 amended by the National Security Act Amendments of 1949. Later in 1949, as part of the Reorganization Plan, the Council was placed in the Executive Office of the President.
Essential Qualifications for the Membership of the National Security Council
The President chairs the National Security Council. Its regular attendees both statutory and non-statutory are the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the statutory military advisor to the Council, and the Director of Central Intelligence is the intelligence advisor. The Chief of Staff to the President, Counsel to the President, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy are invited to attend any NSC meeting. The Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget are invited to attend meetings pertaining to their responsibilities. The heads of other executive departments and agencies, as well as other senior officials, are invited to attend meetings of the NSC when appropriate.
Key Functions of National Security Council in USA
The National Security Council is the President’s principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. Since its inception under President Truman, the function of the Council has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President’s principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.
Since the end of World War II, each administration has sought to develop and perfect a reliable set of executive institutions to manage national security policy. Each President has tried to avoid the problems and deficiencies of his predecessors’ efforts and install a policy-making and coordination system that reflected his personal management style. The National Security Council [NSC] has been at the center of this foreign policy coordination system, but it has changed many times to conform with the needs and inclinations of each succeeding chief executive.
The structure and functioning of the NSC depended in no small degree upon the interpersonal chemistry between the President and his principal advisers and department heads. But despite the relationships between individuals, a satisfactory organizational structure had to be developed, for without it the necessary flow of information and implementation of decisions could not occur. Although a permanent staff gradually began to take shape, the main substantive work occurred in the departments.
Historical Comparison of the NSC Under the Different Presidential Regimes in USA
1). President Truman’s NSC was dominated by the Department of State.
2). President Eisenhower’s predilection for the military staff system, however, led to development of the NSC along those lines. The NSC staff coordinated an elaborate structure for monitoring the implementation of policies. The NSC’s Executive Secretary became an assistant to the President, but was sufficiently self-effacing not to conflict with a powerful Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles.
3). President Kennedy may have initially looked to a strong Secretary of State to take charge of foreign policy-making, but turned to other strategies when it became apparent that the Department of State did not have sufficient authority over other departments. Kennedy, who preferred policy-making with ad hoc groups, dismantled Eisenhower’s elaborate NSC machinery and allowed the Special Assistant for National Security Affairs and his staff to assume the primary coordination role. Kennedy’s freewheeling style tended to erase the distinction between policy-making and operations that President Eisenhower’s regimented staff system so carefully observed.
4). Under Presidents Nixon and Ford, Henry Kissinger’s expanded NSC staff concentrated on acquiring analytical information from the various departments that would allow the National Security Adviser to put before the President the best possible range of options for decision. This system was in perfect accord with President Nixon’s preference for detailed written expositions rather than interpersonal groupings
5). Under President Carter, the National Security Adviser became a principal source of foreign affairs ideas and the NSC staff was recruited and managed with that in view. The Department of State provided institutional memory and served as operations coordinator.
6). A collegial approach to government decision-making was emphasized in the Reagan administration. The National Security Adviser was downgraded, and the Chief of Staff to the President exercised a coordinating role in the White House
7). President Bush brought his own considerable foreign policy experience to his leadership of the National Security Council, and restored collegial relations among department heads. He reorganized the NSC organization to include a Principals Committee, Deputies Committee, and eight Policy Coordinating Committees. The NSC played an effective role during such major developments as the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany, and the deployment of American troops in Iraq and Panama.
8). The Clinton administration continued to emphasize a collegial approach within the NSC on national security matters. The NSC membership was expanded to include the Secretary of the Treasury, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, the newly created Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (who was also head of a newly-created National Economic Council or NEC, parallel to the NSC), the President’s Chief of Staff, and the President’s National Security Adviser.
For 50 years, 10 Presidents have sought to use the National Security Council system to integrate foreign and defense policies in order to preserve the nation’s security and advance its interests abroad. Recurrent structural modifications over the years have reflected Presidential management style, changing requirements, and personal relationships.
Main Duties of NSC IN USA
1). National security includes the defense of the United States of America.
2). Protection of constitutional system of the government and always abide by the constitutional norms in the country.
3). Advancement of the United States interests around the globe.
4). National security also depends on America’s opportunity to prosper in the world economy.
Justification of National Security Council in Pakistan: Logical Conclusion
More than 25 years army ruled the country. Continued failure our political system and frequent collapse in our democratic system forced the army to take over and saved the best interests of the country. Immature but conspiratorial politicians, utmost thirst for the rule, massive corruption, official malpractice, and above all denial of true an pure democratic norms always resultant the fall of successive governments in the country. The junta of politicians invited the army to take over and through away the ruling party in the country.
The army is the main armed wing of a State. It is a part of society’s political structure and an instrument of the policy pursued by the ruling classes in regard to internal and external affairs. In an antagonistic society, the army as a whole has been an instrument in the hands of the exploiting classes and has confronted the people as an alien and hostile force. The military power of the State against the armies of slaves led by Spartacus in ancient Rome and peasants fighting in peasant wars, uprisings in France and England in the 14th century, Germany in the 16th century, the armed workers’ detachments and militia bodies formed during the Paris Commune in 1871, and the first Russian Revolution of 1905 to 1907, etc are prime examples of military role in the human history of the world. The armies of the exploiting classes have invariably been formed for the single purpose of suppressing the enslaved classes and conquering other countries and nations.
Likewise, the armies of large countries in the world have always been in the forefront of promoting colonialism and neo-colonialism. In the course of four centuries, Britain, the oldest colonial master, unleashed more than 200 wars to seize foreign lands and enslave other peoples. The history of U.S. imperialism also abounds in wars and punitive expeditions to conquer foreign lands or to suppress local peoples. In the former Soviet Union, the Stalinist regime used its military to widen the horizons of its power and influence in neighbouring countries. Over the years, the role of the military has changed everywhere. Today the armed forces of imperialist states preserve and extend their domination, even in the area of national independence struggles.
The ascendancy of the army political power in many developing countries is a pervasive phenomenon. The army has had played a covert and overt role in the past, but the expansion of its role in the political arena, especially in the developing countries, has been overwhelming during the past three to four decades and it is quite true in case of Pakistan. A large number of countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America succumbed to military intervention or coup d’etats and countercoups. In these countries, the military either assumed power or it emerged as a formidable actor in political processes. But timely establishment of the NSC in Pakistan would minimize all the chances of army coups in the country.
Macro socio-economic conditions have been production of frequent political system in the country. The fruits of democracy so called divine necessity has had been distributed among the ruling elites and common people of the country remained poor, weak and kept deprived from the basic necessities of life. There should be a permanent forum where all the matters of national, regional and international levels should be discussed and no man either the President nor the Prime Minister should have discretionary powers to disturb the political system. Due to fast emerging geo-strategic trends in the region, and internal unavoidable compulsions of society and economy the proper functioning of the NSC is highly appreciable. It is not permanently subjugation of the political system to the armed forces; but an effective instrument for the continuity of political and democratic system in the country. I firmly believe that the NSC is necessary in order to prevent the armed forces from taking over the government time and again. The NSC is supposed to be check against any kind of martial law and is a better way to promote democracy by providing for a suitable forum where the armed forces can give their reading of situations.
Political wisdom says the army should be given a permanent political role in decision-making. The main idea behind the creation of the NSC in Pakistan is to protect the Prime Minister, ruling elites, continuity of political system and above all achievement of much needed socio-economic stability and geo-strategic cushions. If the army is an central part of the state and can be called for a limited time in natural calamities and national disasters of a country, elimination of poverty, revival of quick economic stability, drastic reduction in corruption and to provide speedy fair & free justice so why cannot they play a permanent role in the politics of a country? This participation would also end future issues like, uniform, dictatorship, and martial law etc. In this world of uncertainty, concept of solo fights is no more. Now nations are being established with the sincere collaboration of the politicians and the armed forces in the world. The Political leaders from Sikandar Mirza to Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Shari ruled this country as their family’s affairs. This country belongs to none, but 140 million people of Pakistan and every single loss of life and a loot of a single penny is totally unpardonable.
The army has never intervened on its own will. The political class dragged it. Between 1988-1998 there were four civilian governments. Not one of them could complete its full term. Each time the Army Chief was asked either to intervene or become an arbitrator in the dispute between Prime Minister and President. We do you want the same type of democracy again and by the grace of God the establishment of the NSC would be effective check against any kind of political conspiracies, instrument to block the occurrence of any military coup, functional democracy, and provide necessary equilibrium among the most important organs of the state and government i.e. The President, The Prime Minister, Parliament, and the last not the least The Army Chief.
Pakistan’s NSC needs to be functioned and structured in a manner which facilitates serious deliberation of strategic threats and problems in an independent and objective manner on a whole time basis. Strategic culture should be promoted in the formation of NSC. This should be left to the military hierarchy, strategic think tanks and a NSC Secretariat composed of professional, whole time strategic and intelligence analysts, even incorporated in a consultancy basis for specific projects. Appointment of full time authoritative national security advisor is the need of the hour. More experts of geo-strategic disciplines, professionalism should be invited to attend the meetings of the NSC. Sincere efforts should be made to build cordial and functional relationships between the politicians and the top military brass of the nation. On the behalf of the President the Governors of the four provinces should be chaired the important issues of provincial levels. We are passing through a very difficult time of our history.
Many unwanted geo-strategic alliances (India-Israel), emergence of anti-Pakistan’s government in Afghanistan, reunion of Talibans, deteriorating situation in Iraq, increasing pressure on Iran and our own improving bilateral relationships with India demands along with our internal compulsions and security risks like, increasing religious intolerance, terrorism, fastening ratios of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, wants the permanent legalized role of the army in our shattered political system so that there would be no more democratic system collapse and downturn economic growth in the years to come. The simple, true and functional NSC is necessary for Pakistan, democracy and political system. Now is the time for the politicians to grab chance of genuinely and openly joining hands together to invest their energies in evolving measures required to revolutionize the lot of Pakistan’s unfortunate nation. We should try our level best to make the nation as a progressive, liberal, vibrant and prosperous society, free from all sorts of terrorism and exploitation, beaming with religious toleration and accommodation in accordance with the true spirit of Islam