Raising questions over the role of Pakistan’s powerful military in the Pathankot terror attack, former Pakistan high commissioner to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi has said that the Army does not appreciate Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s attempts to decide on the country’s policy towards India.
Qazi’s comments come in the wake of Pathankot attack and a simultaneous attack on the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan just ahead of the foreign secretary-level talks between Indian and Pakistan, scheduled for January 15.
Qazi said the attacks could be the establishment’s way of telling the PM who is the boss in Pakistan. “It is not yet clear what our military’s attitude was to (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s stopover in Lahore. We know that Kargil happened after (prime minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee’s visit to Lahore in 1999; Mumbai occurred after progress in the back-channel talks of the mid-2000s; and now Pathankot takes place after another Lahore yatra (trip),” Qazi said in an article titled “Pathankot and power plays” in Dawn newspaper.
“Has our prime minister once again been ‘reined in’ by ‘the boys’ (a term used to describe military establishment) to let him know who is boss? The participation of the Chief Of Army Staff (Raheel Sharif) in a meeting chaired by the prime minister to consider the information provided by India is to be welcomed. However, it does not necessarily mean the military appreciates the prime minister’s attempts to wrest exclusive control over Pakistan’s India policy,” he wrote.
Supporting India’s claims on Pathankot attack, Qazi said India has provided Pakistan ‘actionable intelligence’ and Pakistan’s international legal obligations require it to follow up on these leads.
Qazi served as high commissioner to India from 1997-2002.