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No individual or institution can determine national interest: COAS

Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on Monday said that any effort to create a divide between the people and Armed Forces undermines Pakistan’s larger national interest.
He said no individual or institution has the monopoly to decide what is right or wrong in defining the ultimate national interest.

“The Armed Forces draw their strength from the bedrock of the public support. National security is meaningless without it. Therefore, any effort which wittingly or unwittingly draws a wedge between the people and Armed Forces of Pakistan undermines the larger national interest,” said the Army chief according to a press release by the army’s PR wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Speaking to a group of officers at GHQ Rawalpindi on Monday‚ he said it should emerge only through a consensus‚ and all Pakistanis have a right to express their opinions. He said the constitution provides a clear mechanism for it.
Chief of Army Staff said as a nation‚ we are passing through a defining phase. We are critically looking at the mistakes made in the past and trying to set the course for a better future. He said an intense discussion and debate is natural in this process.
General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said we all have a great responsibility to shoulder. He said we should learn from our past‚ try to build the present and keep our eyes set on a better future.
He said all are agreed that strengthening the institutions‚ ensuring the rule of law and working within the well defined bounds of the constitution is the right way forward. Weakening of the institutions and trying to assume more than one’s due role will set us back. He said we owe it to the future of Pakistan‚ to lay correct foundations‚ today. He said we should not be carried away by short term considerations which may have greater negative consequences in the future.

Army Chief said Armed Forces draw their strength from the bedrock of the public support and national security is meaningless without it. Therefore‚ any effort which wittingly or unwittingly draws a wedge between the people and Armed Forces of Pakistan undermines the larger national interest. He said while constructive criticism is well understood‚ conspiracy theories based on rumours which create doubts about the very intent‚ are unacceptable.

General Kayani said the integrity and cohesion of the Armed Forces is essentially based on the trust reposed in them by the people of Pakistan. Strengthening this trust will ensure better security of the Country. He said equally important is the trust between the leaders and the led of the Armed Forces. Any effort to create a distinction between the two‚ undermines the very basis of this concept and is not tolerated‚ be it Pakistan or any other country.

He said while individual mistakes might have been made by all of us in the Country‚ these should be best left to the due process of law. As we all are striving for the rule of law‚ the fundamental principle; that no one is guilty until proven‚ should not be forgotten. He said let us not pre judge anyone‚ be it a civilian or a military person and extend it‚ unnecessarily‚ to undermine respective institutions.

Chief of Army Staff said all systems in Pakistan appear to be in a haste to achieve something‚ which can have both positive and negative implications. Let us take a pause and examine the two fundamental questions; One‚ are we promoting the rule of law and the Constitution? Two‚ are we strengthening or weakening the institutions? In the ultimate analysis‚ all of us would have served Pakistan better if history and our future generations judge us positively.

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