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Civil military relationship

Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad

Pakistan inherited its share of forces, Army, Navy and Air Force from battle hardened and experienced British Indian Armed Forces at the time of independence soon after conclusion of Second World War. That provided a sound base to raise the national forces (we will refer it to military) for the new State of Pakistan. The role of military in any modern State is to defend the State from external and internal threats. It is ‘one’ element of State ‘Establishment’ and works under the government, the other elements being the parliament, bureaucracy, judiciary, other law enforcing agencies and the State employees. The ‘military’ keeps the governments abreast with its input on national security by carrying out threat assessment and response, a continuous process for the governments to take required decisions. The question of ‘civilian-military relationship’ should not come up in normal conditions. In our circumstances since the political situation remained mostly unstable, inviting interventions by military chiefs to remove civilian governments, this question is relevant and needs to be addressed.
During first decade of independence, demise of Quaid-e-Azam in 1948 and assassination of Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan in 1951 resulted in frequent changes in the government. Bureaucrats like Ghulam Muhammad, Mohammad Ali and Iskandar Ali Mirza took over control of the State. Army Chief was also inducted in the Cabinet as Defence Minister. There was no elected government during the time. After about nine years of deliberations the first Constitution was adopted in 1956. After another two years President Iskanadar Ali Mirza imposed Martial Law. He was removed soon by the Army Chief Ayub Khan who ruled Pakistan for about ten years, giving the country a new Constitution in 1962 introducing Presidential form of Government.
Later interventions by Gen Yahya Khan removing Ayub Khan in 1969, Gen Zia ul Haq removing Z A Bhutto in 1977 and Gen Musharraf removing Nawaz Sharif in 1999 were linked with external factors, the global forces placing their men to play assigned roles in global game in the region. The role of intelligence agencies is mostly confused with ‘military’. Our premier intelligence agency the ISI works directly under the Chief Executive of the country, the Prime Minister or the President as the case may be. It must be emphasised that ‘ISI’ is not ‘military’ as CIA is not Pentagon and RAW is not Indian GHQ. Pakistan military as an institution has played its assigned role according to the demands of the times. Military intervention to whatever scale have taken place were to fill the void/space created by civilian governments.
Under an honest and dedicated civilian leader as head of government, the military leadership would be most comfortable with and at ease to concentrate on its primary responsibilities, removing concerns and eliminating questions about ‘civilian-military relationship’”
We all are devoid of encompassing the ground realities, that free media and judiciary is unavoidable in this day and age and emerging realities forces us to rethink how to run Pakistan and army must pave way for truly elected leadership of masses to run the country under a closely monitored institutions and the job can be better done by media and judiciary to bridle the unbridled politicians of Pakistan who have looted the dreams from the eyes of newly born children of Pakistan who all are born with heavy debts on their shoulders. Institutions are crumbling, and this system on the pattern of colonial regime is not going to survive any longer, and we need to emancipate people and engage them to think for themselves, like they did when we achieved this statehood. This apathy is killing the original thinking of a man which is never preserved in Pakistan. We need to encourage people to say ‘no’ freely, rather than keep clapping on same old stories of turning Pakistan into a dream land, we neither saw street of Paris in last 60 years nor we have eliminated poverty and have brought revolution of education in the country and in this national crime we all are guilty as charged.
Musharraf regime failed bitterly when it came to delivery on his own set 7 points so miserable’s have added misery further. One thing for sure army rule can not be the future and only public rule is the way forward and how we achieve that is a national issue for all including politicians, civil society and army men of today and the past as we must not disappoint Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who must be thinking the very question why did we achieve Pakistan, was it to see people without flour, gas, oil, employment without education, health and above all at the mercy of only a few who were lords then and are lords now, and where does the working middle class fit that could never get out of their daily life worries. We must ponder as to why India is able to shelter so many languages, cultures and so many different people under one roof, is it on one man one vote principle which we ignored and free judiciary and media which we bashed & gagged. We must think why can’t we, if the country was made on the same principle. Just think for once and then vote.
–The writer is former Federal Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan and currently Chairman National Democratic Foundation