Bureaucracy out to stop withdrawal


GILGIT: Bureaucracy has succeeded in pouring cold water on a proposal to withdraw military officers from civilian organizations of Gilgit-Baltistan by pushing the matter under the carpet. The decision to withdraw all army officers and personnel from civilian organizations in the country was taken by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani soon after taking over as Chief of the Army Staff (COAS). It may be noted that a large number of army officers are deployed in civilian organizations of Gilgit-Baltistan since the military takeover of 1999. Sources say the caretaker setup had initiated steps to withdraw the army officers from their assignments in civilian organizations. According to reports, the caretaker minister concerned received a summary from the defence ministry seeking extension of the army officers’ stay in the civilian organizations. However, in light of the announcement of the new COAS, the minister concerned expressed his unwillingness to give further extension to the army officers. But powerful bureaucrats in the Ministry of Northern Areas and Kashmir Affairs pushed the summary under the carpet in order to delay the withdrawal of the army officers and give them more time in their present posts. The sources say all-out efforts were being made to make it sure that the armymen got further extension in their lucrative civilian jobs. These sources told Bang-e-Sahar that some opportunist political leaders were also backing the army officers’ further stay in the civilian organizations of Gilgit-Baltistan, saying that the region was sensitive on security point of view and the extension in the tenures of the military officers was in best national interest. The sources said the final decision in this regard would be taken by the new government but there were strong indications that bureaucracy would succeed in its objective to at least prolonging the matter by using red-tape and other tactics. People of Gilgit-Baltistan have expressed concerns over the reports and demanded the army chief, General Kayani, to make sure that his decision, which was in best national interest, was implemented in letter and spirit, and the withdrawal of the military officers and other personnel was completed by June, as visualized by the COAS. They criticized the bureaucracy for using different tactics to delay the withdrawal of the military officers from civilian.

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