Benazir wants Parliament, not President to control armed forces

November 14th, 2007 - 2:01 am ICT by admin  
“Under the present military-doctored Constitution, the armed forces are under the President’s command. The political parties would need to unite to bring control of the armed forces back to the Parliament for reforms to take place,” Benazir said in an interview to the Inter Press Service (IPS).

“The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has signed a Charter of Democracy calling upon political parties to make the members of the armed forces answerable to parliament, on par with Washington, London and Paris, for greater transparency and accountability,” she added.

Commenting on Lt, General Ashfaq Kiani, Benazir said that he is “a professional officer, which the armed forces and Pakistan need”.

Benazir said that if she returns to power, her priority would be to prevent the dysfunctional democracy of the 1990s coming again to the fore.

It is important to do away with the powers of the President to dismiss an elected Parliament on his discretion; the Daily Times quoted her, as saying.

“These issues (of changes) are part of our negotiations and will take place in phases. Some steps have already been taken, like the arrangements to shed uniform, the counting of ballots, stopping horse-trading by preventing arrest of parliamentarians without permission of an Ethics Committee, end to political victimisation and national reconciliation,” Benazir said.

“I hope other issues like the eligibility of Prime Ministerial candidates and balance of power between the Parliament and Presidency will also be resolved in due course,” she added.

Talking about her way of running the country, if re-elected, she said, “I would seek reconciliation, peace, ending militancy, eradicating poverty, building institutions of civil rule and democracy, spreading education and providing hope to the people of Pakistan for a better future.” (ANI)

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