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Senators hail COAS briefing as 'historic day for democracy, civil-military relations'

Senators hail COAS briefing as 'historic day for democracy, civil-military relations'

Briefed the lawmakers on the action taken by security forces under Operation Raddul Fasaad, the DGMO said that 18,001 intelligence-based operations and 4,983 search-based operations were conducted in the country and as many as 19,993 weapons were recovered since the launch of the countrywide effort. After the presentation, the army chief personally answered the questions asked by the legislators that touched upon all areas of national interest and security.

"Gen Bajwa made it clear that army was not against democracy at all", a source quoted him as telling the senators.

However, he admitted that the army officer should not have signed the agreement between the government and the sit-in organisers, but added that the sit-in would not have ended without his signature. He held a meeting with Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani in the latter's chambers before the two proceeded to the Senate hall.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Jawed Bajwa has said the Pakistan Army only followed the instructions of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to diffuse the escalating situation in the face of Faizabad fiasco in the federal capital last month.

Reports in local media also quoted the army chief as saying that the money distributed by Punjab Rangers Director General Maj-Gen Azhar Naveed among the freed protesters was in line with the PM's instructions. He said Gen Bajwa stated that the army was "subservient" and "answerable to the public" and the institution had to act according to the law.

PML-N Senator Asif Kirmani said that the "informative briefing" was a very important step from both, the Senate and Army's end.

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Later, Major General Asif Ghafoor told journalists that the Director-General Military Operations briefed the Committee of the Whole for one hour.

The committee was constituted on the motion "to prepare policy guidelines in the light of emerging regional realities and the role of United States".

He said the situation could have aggravated had the military not played its part. If this is how it was to turn out, the Senate might as well had allowed media to cover the developments.

Rabbani said they all were satisfied with the in-camera briefing, whereas PPP's Senator Abdul Rehman Malik chanted "Pakistan Zindabad" (Long Live Pakistan) when his comment was sought about the event.

Pakistan also strongly condemned Trump's recent decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The COAS is set to brief a Senate committee over the country's security situation and the region on Tuesday.


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