Twice former prime minister (PM) of the Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) region Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan has suggested that every chief of army staff (COAS) should be allowed to serve as the country’s president after retirement so as to enhance Pakistan’s foreign policy while keeping in view the defence and strategic significance of the country.
“Pakistan has a lot of enemies and our politicians are unable to realise that the country’s defence is a lot more important than economy or democracy,” he said while speaking to a private media outlet.
Ahmed said that the current parliamentary system had failed and it needed to be fixed while enhancing cooperation between different institutions. “Army’s help is sought every time the country faces any major challenge. The difference between help and interference must be made clear.”
He maintained that the constitution should be amended so as to help the executive branch and accompany any elected PM with a president who is an ex-army chief.
“I believe the chemistry between the serving and the now-president-for-four-years army chiefs would benefit Pakistan’s defence and foreign affairs,” Ahmed said and also cited the example of former United States’ (US) secretary of state Colin Luther Powell.
An American politician, diplomat and retired four-star general, Powell served as the 65th US state secretary from 2001 to 2005.
Ahmed also said such steps were needed to strengthen the constitution and not individuals.
While many differ on the ex-AJK PM’s statement, it merits a mention that experts believe the military is already continuing to shape Pakistan’s security and foreign policies.
According to a forecast report released by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and cited by Dawn in November last year, Pakistan Army was likely to continue shaping the country’s foreign and security policy while the government was expected to largely amenable to this arrangement.
While the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) boasts of civil-military relations in Pakistan being at their historic best — a claim verified by the military’s media wing as well — the report had also outlined Pakistan’s political and economic outlook for the period of 2020 to 2024 and forecast that the PTI would serve its full term while opposition parties would remain in a state of disarray owing to legal challenges facing their leaders.