ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties have welcomed the instructions, issued by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani to Army officers for staying away from political activities and observing distance from politicians. They said these instructions should be implemented in letter and spirit. Politicians were of the view that they had no quarrel with the Army. The difference of opinions emerged due to interference in politics by the Army. They further said that the COAS’s steps would lead to restoration of people’s trust in the Army.
Meanwhile Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) leaders said that the purpose of setting up the national government would be to accommodate the political powers. It said it would be much better for Pervez Musharraf to step down. Chief of Jamiat Ulema Islam (F) Maulana Fazl ur Rehman, Chairman Pakistan Muslim League (N) Raja Zafar ul Haq, Naib Ameer Jamaat-i-Islami Liaqat Baloch and former ISI Chief Lt Gen (Retd) Hameed Gul expressed these views while talking to SANA.
JUI (F) Chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, while welcoming the General Kiyani’s instructions to the Army Officers, said that these were good instructions by the COAS. He said this is a good step to reroute the Army officers towards their professional duties. He said it had been our long demand that Army should have no role in the country’s politics. He said that politicians should also not contact the Army officers.
Fazl said that the step by Gen Kiyani would lead in restoration of people’s confidence in the Army. He said whenever the Army came into the politics, it created a gulf between the nation and the Army.This, he said, hurt the Army as national institution. He said in his view, the Army should maintain its dignity and should stay away from politics.
Chairman of PML (N) Raja Zafar ul Haq while welcoming the new instructions said that it was a positive step for bringing back the Army towards its professional duties. He hoped that more similar steps would be taken to maintain dignity of the Armed forces. He said that the Army should not become a party in the politics.He observed that Army had received a setback because of policies adopted in the last two years.
He said that the Army was used against its own people which bore bad and negative results. He lauded the determination of the Army Chief for improving the things.Naib Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Liaqat Baloch said that the COAS had declared the 2008 as “Year of Soldier” and these instructions could be a part of that. However, he said that the announcement could help improve the bad impression about the Army. He said that Army’s reputation had injured due to eight-year rule of the former COAS.
He said a gulf had been created between the people and the Army. “The Army reputation had also been affected due to suspension of the constitution, sacking of judges and restrictions on media by Pervez Musharraf,” he said adding that Pervez Musharraf had been given a safe passage by agreement between MMA and the government.
However, he said, Pervez Musharraf lost this opportunity. He demanded that Pervez Musharraf should resign and added that there was no provision of the national government in the constitution. Former ISI Chief Lt Gen (Retd) Hameed Gul welcomed the letter by the COAS. He said when Gen Kiyani had assumed the charge of Army Chief, the challenge he was facing was to bridge the gulf between the Army and the people. He hoped that his action would help restore the people’s confidence in the Army.
He said people of Pakistan loved their Army. However, when this institution was used against its own people, it multiplied the problems, he added. He said the Army was facing a challenge to restore its image. He made it clear that the US had no interest in Pakistan. Instead it had interest in only one person, he added.-SANA