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Lawmaker for probe into 'wars with India'

PML-N's Khawaja Asif said that an inquiry panel to evaluate the wars with India would expose the pathetic performance of the armed forces.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2006 13:09 IST

A Pakistani opposition lawmaker has questioned the role of the army and demanded a national probe into "wars with India since 1947".

Khawaja Asif of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) said in the National Assembly on Wednesday that an independent inquiry commission to evaluate the wars with India would "expose the pathetic performance of the armed forces".

He contended that Pakistan-administered Kashmir was not "liberated" by the Pakistan Army but by tribal people, the Daily Times said.

The PML-N leader said thousands of billions of rupees had been spent on the armed forces since 1947, but they had delivered very little.

The lawmakers of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the PML-N have been strident in their criticism of President Pervez Musharraf, reflecting the emerging coalition between their respective leaders, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif - both former prime ministers and long arch-rivals.

However, Musharraf has come in for praise from representatives of the third major party, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).

Declaring a "revolt" against the continuing domination of the country by army generals, Asif said: "If generals are feudal lords and civilians their subjects, I, being a peasant, announce a revolt against the feudal lords to get back my rights."

Asif's speech in the National Assembly drew applause from his colleagues and stunned silences from the treasury benches.

Asif, who alleged that the generals were following the old feudal tradition of keeping their subjects from being educated, was however challenged by treasury MNA Ali Akbar Wains.

Wains pointed out that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif once had close relations with the military establishment.

Asif said he had as much respect for the armed forces and generals as they had shown for the constitution and democratic institutions.

He said the politicians of the country had paid for their mistakes, receiving lashes, jail, hangings and exile.

"The generals are yet to pay their debt to the nation. And the people of Pakistan will soon get them to pay every single penny they owe," he said.

Asif said that Musharraf had a lower stature than any of the 342 MNAs. "You are taller than him because you are the elected representatives of the people. He requires his military uniform to remain in power."

He said history would never forgive Punjab if it stayed silent about what was happening in Balochistan. He said that Punjab had remained silent in 1971, which led to the secession of Bangladesh.

First Published: Jun 15, 2006 12:11 IST