Relieving Sartaj Aziz from the charge of NSA touched a very important subject concerning civil-military relations
KARACHI: Apropos your editorial “A shrinking domain” (October 27) that discussed the appointment of Lt General (retd) Naseer Khan Janjua, who recently retired as Corps Commander Balochistan, as the country’s National Security Adviser (NSA), relieving Sartaj Aziz from the additional charge of NSA, it has touched a very important subject concerning civil-military relations. No NSA of the past has performed any miracles while we continue to suffer and gradually get isolated from the rest of the world, with distances between friends increasing.
India has never had an NSA from the military. They were all career diplomats except for Ajit Doval and M K Narayanan who belonged to the police. Lt General (retd) Janjua has certainly been a good military commander but does not have any background of diplomatic exposure. Foreign policy is a specialised subject and can be tricky for those who don’t have the experience of serving as diplomats. Placing individuals with little relevant experience on such high-profile jobs exposes weaknesses on the part of the civilian government that continues to preach to other institutions to work within their domains. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision to retain the foreign and defence ministry portfolios for himself was an error; as a result, the performance of very important ministries have presented a sorry state of affairs that left the military with no option but to dominate the present situation. The civilian government’s voluntary surrender shall prove counterproductive and can never be a substitute for proper selection of relevant individuals with the requisite experience, which is a practice followed the world over.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2015.
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