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Asma wants military to be under civilian oversight

08 June, 2011

ISLAMABAD: President Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir speaks during a public seminar at National Press Club. APP

ISLAMABAD: Asma Jehangir, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), has termed the public representatives’ demand for military’s accountability a welcome development.

Addressing a seminar organised by the Awami Shehri Mahaz at the National Press Club on Tuesday, she said accountability was in the interest of the people and country. “We know about the Ojhri Camp and such incidents occur when there is no accountability and the Hamood-ur-Rehman report was also not allowed to be disclosed for long,” she added.

She said that for long, progressive elements had been described as traitors because they demanded that the military should be answerable to its people and events in the recent days proved that it was no longer acceptable that the military be treated as a ‘sacred cow.’

“I was traitor by birth, but Bacha Khan, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and others were also traitors,” she sarcastically said.

Asma Jehangir said that parliament must take the lead in the effort to bring the military under civilian oversight. She said that in the long run Pakistanis, cannot afford to keep subsidizing a bloated and repressive security apparatus and a movement to create a genuine welfare state must be started.

Commenting on the current protests by the PML-Q and PTI, she said that she was against the drone attacks because it were against the international laws. But the attacks started when the PML-Q was in power in the era of Musharraf and they never protested nor the PTI held protests, she said.

Speaking on the occasion, Aasim Sajjad of the Worker’s Party Pakistan said that there was now a plethora of evidence that public resources devoted to the military were not at all contributed to the welfare and safety of Pakistan’s long-suffering people.

He said that the military should be answerable to the taxpayers. He said, it also became clear that many internal conflicts that exist in Pakistani society are a product of too many years of undemocratic rule and the cynical use of religion by the establishment to secure its own interests.

Sajjad asserted that a perception had been cultivated within Pakistani society that India and other neighbouring counties pose an existential threat to the country. Now, more and more people are coming to realize that this threat has been expurgated, he said. “The real threat to working people comes from political and economic injustice.”


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