PPP Leader Criticizes Pak Military’s Influence, Urges Improved India Ties

At the fifth annual conference of South Asians Against Terrorism and for Human Rights (SAATH), Pakistan People’s Party spokesperson Farhatullah Babar asserted that Pakistan’s military, driven by economic interests, undermines democratic principles, hindering accountability in the country.

Babar emphasized the need to redefine Pakistan’s relationship with India, suggesting that focusing solely on the Kashmir issue hampers progress. Drawing parallels with Sino-Indian trade relations, he advocated for improved Indo-Pak ties to foster democratic norms and civilian authority.

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He decried the “creeping coup” perpetrated by the military to safeguard its interests, citing protests in tribal regions spreading to Punjab, signaling discontent with army dominance.

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Babar criticized Pakistan’s parliament for failing to hold the military accountable, highlighting restrictions on media and freedom of expression as evidence of a hybrid regime waging war against Pakistani citizens.

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Mohsin Dawar, a member of the National Assembly, voiced concerns over the regime’s Taliban overtures and its impact on Pashtun unity. Dawar emphasized public discontent with military dominance, warning of potential resistance against dictatorship.

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Former parliamentarian Bushra Gohar echoed sentiments of burgeoning dissent among Pakistani youth, lawyers, and women against the oppressive regime. She questioned secretive talks between Pakistani military leaders and US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, urging demilitarization of Pashtun regions.

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The conference condemned enforced disappearances and erosion of freedom of expression, while critiquing political parties for compromising with the military instead of upholding civilian supremacy.

Co-founders of SAATH, Husain Haqqani and Dr. Mohammad Taqi, welcomed the formation of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, urging it to resist the establishment’s authoritarian agenda and prioritize civilian governance.