Strategic challenges and policy shifts in external relations can have repercussions: Pakistan military tells political leadership

Pakistan’s military and intelligence leaders have called for avoiding divisive politics on issues of national interest as they cautioned that strategic challenges and related policy shifts in external relations could have repercussions for the country

Jul 02, 2021
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Pakistani military leaders

Pakistan’s military and intelligence leaders have called for avoiding divisive politics on issues of national interest as they cautioned that strategic challenges and related policy shifts in external relations could have repercussions for the country.

This was the crux of a briefing given by Inter-Services Intelligence (IS) Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security on the spectrum of possible threats and the regional environment — the situation emerging in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign forces from there and the stalemate in peace talks, the developments in Jammu and Kashmir, and US efforts to contain China, according to a source privy to the proceedings.

Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa also attended the session.

The government, the participants of the meeting were told, had taken a major decision on pursuing ties with other countries based on equality.

Moreover, a policy decision on not becoming part of any conflict had been taken, Dawn reported.

Islamabad had turned down a US request for setting up drone bases in Pakistan for future counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan had in his speech after the budget session said that Pakistan could be a partner with the United States in peace, but not in conflict, the Pakistani media outlet said.

The participants were told that external forces had already started exerting pressure on Pakistan. It was said that Pakistan was not only kept on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list despite implementing 26 of the 27 points of the action plan agreed with the illicit financing watchdog, but the goal post had also been changed.

Islamabad has now been told to additionally implement a separate six-point action plan given by the Asia Pacific Group, a regional affiliate of the FATF.

Proxies, the meeting was told, were also being triggered by external forces as was evident from the increase in terrorism in Balochistan province and last week’s explosion in Lahore, according to the source.

The International Monetary Fund, it was said, could in the coming days ramp up pressure on Pakistan and attempts could also be made to target China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. It was further apprehended that there could be efforts to scare away foreign investors from Pakistan.

“The participants were briefed on the internal fault lines that could be exploited by the hostile elements,” the source said.

The setting up of the National Intelligence Coordination Committee, the liaison body for the country’s spy agencies, the meeting was informed, would contribute to developing a wholesome National Intelligence Assessment.

The credit of the busting of the network involved in Lahore’s Johar Town blast was attributed to enhanced cooperation between intelligence agencies under the NICC.

The political leadership was told that given the situation it was critical to maintaining consensus on issues of national interest, while politics should be restricted to governance and related political matters.

(SAM)

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