Living in Denial
By Umar Cheema: the News, June 7, 2007
ISLAMABAD: Instead of inviting suggestions on the prevailing judicial crisis, President Pervez Musharraf told the participants of Monday’s National Security Council (NSC) meeting: “I am not worried about it.”
The meeting participants were surprised because they thought the president would take them into confidence over this issue and discuss his plans to handle the situation.
Background discussions with a number of participants of Monday’s meeting revealed that no interactive session took place that could aim at getting their views about the judicial crisis that has plagued the government.
Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar, who was present in the meeting, also confirmed that the crisis was not discussed in the meeting. However, he was reluctant to divulge details.
Although the NSC is supposed to be the highest consultative body with the services chiefs, the chief ministers, the National Assembly speaker and the Senate chairman as its members, it has not been consulted on the prevailing crisis, The News has learnt.
A cabinet source was surprised to learn about the type of consultation at the NSC, what to speak about the corps commanders meeting.
The News has learnt that none of the services chiefs asked a question about the prevailing crisis and its likely outcome. “Neither the COAS-president invited their suggestions, nor they offered any," said an official.
According to a minister, who attended the meeting on special invitation, Musharraf slightly touched the judicial crisis in his opening address. “I am not worried about it,” he said. Musharraf said that the issue had gone out of proportion, but added, “Let the court verdict come. Let the court decide it.”
According to sources, Musharraf was more concerned about the spread of Talibanisation in the settled areas of the NWFP and that it was the only agenda item discussed in the NSC meeting.
The role of Lal Masjid brigade was also discussed in the meeting. Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao said the government was trying to resolve it through political means.
Detailed discussion on Talibanisation left no time for taking up rest of the agenda items that included Madrassa reforms and Reconstruction Opportunities Zones (ROZs).