Pakistan military officials brief lawmakers on national security

This file photo shows Pakistan’s Army Chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, during the handover ceremony in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Nov.29, 2016. (Pakistan Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR)/Handout via REUTERS)
Updated 19 December 2017
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Pakistan military officials brief lawmakers on national security

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, briefed the Senate Committee of the Whole House in Islamabad on Tuesday on matters pertaining to national security. It is the first time in six years — since the US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad in 2011 — that the country’s military leaders have addressed Pakistan’s lawmakers in the Senate.
The military’s top brass, including Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Naveed Mukhtar, accompanied Bajwa amid tight security to brief the Senate Committee, chaired by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, in a four-hour meeting which was also attended by members of Parliament.
Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor told media that Director General Military Operations (MO) Maj. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza had informed the whole house about the military’s approach on security matters which affect the nation. The army is expected to provide further details of the discussion at a press briefing this week.
The briefing was also intended to bridge information gaps between lawmakers and the armed forces, while also addressing concerns about the role of the armed forces, Ghafoor added.
Defense analyst, and retired brigadier, Haris Nawaz, told Arab News: “The purpose of this briefing is that the army believes in civilian supremacy and accepts democracy. The Senate is the right forum to brief them on the prevailing geopolitical and geostrategic environments, and on what the army is doing to safeguard Pakistan’s interest in the region.”
The military’s unilateral decision to take lawmakers into its confidence comes amid Washington’s policy change toward Islamabad, ongoing skirmishes at the Pakistani-Indian disputed border and the volatile situation at the Afghan border.
Insiders quoted Bajwa as saying that his visits to a number of countries in recent months were intended to strengthen military diplomacy against the backdrop of regional geostrategic change, and his meetings further cemented bilateral understanding between Pakistan and its neighbors and allies.
“We cannot ignore the changes that are taking place in Afghanistan,” the chief of army staff reportedly said. “Border management is necessary to protect the Pak-Afghan border.”
Nawaz said that Bajwa briefed the House on his trips to Iran, China, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The army’s top brass explained that, since 2015, the military courts had passed judgment on 274 terror-related cases, sentencing 161 people to death. Since Bajwa took command of the army, the courts have received 160 cases and, so far, 56 convicts have been executed.
Pakistan’s largest broad-spectrum security operation — Radd-ul-Fasaad (Elimination of Discord) — was launched in February to eliminate the threat of terrorism and consolidate the gains of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which was launched in 2014 as a joint military offensive that resulted in thousands of raids, said Maj. Gen. Mirza.
The efforts, he reportedly told the Senate, have resulted in 1,249 operations in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the restive Tribal Areas, with 31 major operations in the region. In Punjab, that number was 13,011 with seven major ops, and in Baluchistan 1,410 including 29 major ops.
Maj. Gen. Mirza added that 18,001 operations were executed based on intelligence sharing, in which 19,993 weapons were confiscated and a total of 4,983 search operations were conducted.
An estimated 8,780 suspects have been remanded in police custody since the paramilitary operation began in 2013 in Pakistan’s commercial hub of Karachi, Maj. Gen. Mirza said, from whom 1,948 terrorists have been captured and 154 kidnappers have been arrested, leading to the recovery of those kidnapped.
Nawaz said that, apart from the two military-led operations, the army chief discussed the visits of US officials to Pakistan and told legislators of their expectations from the US, which wants its non-NATO ally to eliminate terrorists from its soil.
“He also highlighted the Indian intelligence and Afghan intelligence agencies fomenting terrorism in Pakistan, especially in Baluchistan,” said Nawaz, who believes that this briefing will have addressed the concerns and questions of the Senate about the army’s activities.


Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib to be questioned by anti-corruption agency

Updated 25 September 2018
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Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib to be questioned by anti-corruption agency

  • Rosmah was first questioned in June in connection with the investigation
  • A source familiar with the investigation said Rosmah would be questioned in connection with the 1MDB probe

KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, was summoned on Tuesday for questioning by the anti-graft agency in its multi-billion dollar corruption probe at state fund 1MDB.
It was the second time Rosmah, 66, has been called in by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) since the shock defeat of Najib in the May general election.
Rosmah was first questioned in June in connection with the investigation, which is looking into allegations of corruption and misappropriation in state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Her husband has pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust.
The former first lady was served with a notice on Tuesday afternoon to appear before MACC the next day, her lawyer K.Kumaraendran said, adding that she was asked to assist with investigations under the anti-money laundering act.
A source familiar with the investigation said Rosmah would be questioned in connection with the 1MDB probe.
After filing fresh charges against Najib last week, Azam Baki, the deputy commissioner of the anti-graft agency, said more charges could be brought against individuals over 1MDB.
When asked if Rosmah could face charges, he said: “I’m not denying that.”
Rosmah’s penchant for designer handbags, watches and jewelry raised eyebrows in Malaysia, with opponents asking how she was able to afford the luxury items on her husband’s government salary.
She has drawn comparisons to Imelda Marcos, who left behind more than 1,200 pairs of shoes when her husband Ferdinand Marcos was ousted as president of the Philippines in 1986.
Najib and Rosmah have both been barred from leaving the country since the former’s election defeat, and their home and other properties linked to them have been searched by the police as part of the 1MDB investigations.
The haul seized from the properties included 567 handbags, 423 watches and 12,000 pieces of jewelry.
Najib has said most of the seized items were gifts given to his wife and daughter and had nothing to do with 1MDB.
The US Department of Justice has alleged more than $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB and that about $680 million ended up in Najib’s personal bank account. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.