Doha: Former Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar defended Pakistan’s civilian leadership and her government’s role in the country’s disrupted democratic process, saying that the US government’s preference of dealing with military regimes has resulted in the pre-eminence of military influence in Pakistan.
“The US government has had a long history of immense fascination with the military of Pakistan,” Khar asserted in an interview with Mehdi Hasan on Al Jazeera’s “Head to Head”.
Despite being pushed on this point, Khar refused to concede that the Pakistani military “runs the show”, though she admitted that the “military has historically played a much a larger role than the Constitution should permit”.
The US, she said, was complicit in causing a constant disruption in Pakistan’s democratic process by propping up one military dictatorship after another.
“When Ziaul Haq came in, when Musharraf came in, Pakistan got the best possible military and civil assistance ever possible,” she remarked.
Khar stated that a civilian-made constitution – one without any amendments – had only been applicable in Pakistan twice; once for four years after 2010, and another for two years from 1956 to 1958.
Khar’s term in president Zardari’s government was marked by reports of human rights abuses by the Pakistan military, stated the host. Khar was asked how she addressed these concerns, or if she merely “threw them in the bin”.
Despite her shortcomings in dealing with the military’s human right abuses, Khar maintained that she was always “fiercely independent” and was never pushed by the military to direct policy matters.
She added that she only consulted the military leadership in matters where they were “relevant stakeholders”.
“On issues on which I thought they were not relevant stakeholders, for instance trade with India, I didn’t,” she explained. “It’s none of their business”.