ISLAMABAD: There is no major change in the composition of the new key body, the Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS), which has replaced the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC).
The DCC was headed by the prime minister and so does the new forum. The objective of conversion of the DCC into the CCNS was not spelt out in the official statement.
However, way back in 1996 after dismissing the Benazir Bhutto government, Farooq Leghari as president established during the caretaker period a Council for Defence and National Security (CDNS), obviously on a prodding from the military establishment. He installed himself as its chairman.
Nawaz Sharif, who became the prime minister after the following general elections in 1997, let the CDNS die an unceremonious death as he never convened it because he was always opposed to having any such body. He despised the body. He had also sought the resignation of General Jehangir Karamat as the chief of the army staff after the top commander had publicly called for the establishment of a National Security Council.
Leghari had included 10 members in the CDNS, four from the armed forces and six from the civilian realm, including the president, who was its chairman. The armed forces were represented by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the chiefs of staff of the army, air force, and navy. The civilian side was represented by the prime minister and ministers of defence, finance, foreign affairs, and interior.
The CDNS was created to provide a formal mechanism for the senior military officers to keep a watch on all matters concerning national security. Its establishment sought to formalise the troika arrangement. The CDNS met three times during the tenure of the caretaker administration. internews