Nisar was conspicuous by his absence at GHQ huddle

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan tactfully skipped a high-level meeting of civil and military leadership at GHQ on Tuesday to dismiss the impression of military dominance in policy making especially related to internal and external security, it was learn.

Informed sources told Business Recorder that Interior Minister was also invited to the GHQ to discuss issues related to national security.

Senior analyst Lt-Gen Talat Masood (retd) stated that the interior minister may have deliberately avoided the meeting as it could have sent a negative message if the whole cabinet was present at the GHQ meeting.

But, he added, the meeting itself indicated that “more or less all the policies especially related to security and foreign affairs are in military control.

It is a well established impression that military leadership is running the affairs especially those related to foreign and security matters.”

Civilian sources on condition of anonymity argued that Chaudhry Nisar may have avoided the meeting after his recent criticism over the handing over of Angoor Adda border crossing facility in South Waziristan Agency to Afghan authorities; he also reportedly sent a letter to the Prime Minister expressing his reservations in this regard.

However those close to the Interior Minister stated that Chaudhary Nisar is widely considered close to the military establishment.

He holds meetings with the military leadership routinely; and, on several occasions he was accompanied by Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.

Meetings on issues of national importance usually take place at Prime Minister’s House and Tuesday’s meeting at GHQ was the first high-level interaction of the civil and military leadership on security related matters in the absence of Prime Minister, who is in London.

The press release which was issued by ISPR stated that the meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif and DG ISI Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar but did not mention who chaired the meeting.

It further stated that the participants of the meeting dwelt at length on various issues related to external and internal security situation of the country including threats to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The press release stated that the meeting expressed its concern on 21 May US drone strike in which Taliban leader Mullah Mansour was killed, saying it was a clear violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty affecting mutual trust and undermined the spirit of Afghan peace process under mutually agreed Quadrilateral framework.

The joint civilian/military leadership resolved to protect the core national interests and effectively countering any negative outside influence. –Business Recorder