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Scrutiny of Finances And Working of Armed Forces Needed in Pakistan: Statement by Joint Action Committee (JAC)

13 June 2011

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JOINT ACTION COMMITTEE FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY (JAC) LAHORE

THE COUNTRY NEEDS SERIOUS RETHINKING OF ITS NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY AND SCRUITNY OF FINANCES AND WORKING OF ARMED FORCES

Joint Action Committee (JAC) for people’s rights expresses its anger on the recent events in Pakistan that have exposed citizens’ vulnerability to violence both at the hands of security forces and terrorists who are pursuing a vicious agenda of destabilizing the state. JAC believes that the policies and national security paradigm adopted by the security establishment, with fostering and nurturing “jehadism” at its core, has increased insecurity for its citizens and put the country into serious jeopardy. The security personnel have lost professionalism as well as the integrity essential for the performance of their duties., The domination of military and intelligence structures over delineation of security imperatives has brought alienation from the state, particularly amongst the people of Balochistan. The ever-increasing militarization of the state has dimmed the chances of political stabilization or economic growth that could benefit the people of Pakistan.

Reversal of the flawed security doctrine is vital to Pakistan’s survival and the well being of its people. People’s priorities and needs must be made essential to a changed national security paradigm. The military’s monopoly over ‘National Security’ and formulation of foreign and strategic policy must end: a complete overhaul of the existing paradigm vis-à-vis regional balance of power must be ensured, so that friendly relations are pursued with all neighbors and global forces and the self destructive policy of “strategic depth” is abandoned entirely. Military establishment must end forthwith its policy of supporting or funding militant non-state actors of any type and take transparent measures to reassure the population that such a turn-around has happened.

People’s grave concern over systematic killings of citizens by security forces, wherever they occur, must receive immediate response from government and the political elements if democratic dispensation is to be sustained. Such a response includes enforcing a recognition by the military of the dangers in pursuing the current course it has chartered both on external and internal security of the country. Military and para-military forces as well as all civil law enforcement agencies must be compelled to respect, without exception, the rule of law and the paramount obligation to protect and respect people’s right to life and liberty. The time to end impunity and enforce accountability for undermining people’s right to security and peaceful existence is now! It can no longer be deferred to any other exigencies.

JAC believes that a transparent scrutiny by the Parliament of military budget and spending must be one step in the direction of restoring the state to the people of Pakistan. JAC demands that proceedings of in-camera session of the joint house of parliament of May 13 be made public as an acknowledgement of people’s right to know and debate the imperatives, the options and the necessary steps to ensure their security. JAC appeals to everyone to support this demand for reform and accountability which, it is convinced, will set the country towards a rational, progressive future.