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July 24, 1999
Support for National Security Council grows in Pakistan
The proposal to set up a National Security Council in Pakistan has been revived following a growing feeling in ministerial circles that lack of co-ordination and in-depth discussion had resulted in the Kargil debacle.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief is being criticised by Pakistan People's Party leader Benazir Bhutto and other political opponents for the decisions taken by him during the Kargil crisis.
Some ministers are expected to broach with Sharief the idea which when first mooted by the former chief of army staff, General Jehangir Karamat, had raised many eyebrows.
Former federal minister and prominent Pakistan Muslim League leader Begum Abida Hussain revived the idea during the discusssion on Kargil in the legislature.
It found acceptance with Ejaz-ul-Haq, son of the late Gen Zia-ul-Haq, and others from the ruling PML. No dissenting voices were raised during discussion in the House.
Even a few ministers in Sharief's Cabinet are not averse to the proposal. "There is no harm in having a forum where highly sensitive defence and strategic matters of prime national importance could be discussed," one of them said.
"It was proved beyond doubt that there was a lack of co-ordination and in-depth deliberations were missing among different organisations before and after the eruption of the dangerous situation in Kargil," said another minister.
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