Sultan M Hali
ONE of the most alarming repercussions of our blind trust in the information disseminated via social media is the flagrant distribution of fake news with total disregard to authenticity or veracity. Many commentators, motivated by their own biases and in some cases, acting as tools of detractors of Pakistan, target Pakistan’s armed forces, which are the last bulwark protecting the sovereignty of Pakistan. Disinformation is being spreading on social media hinting Quaid-i-Azam issued orders for Ayub Khan to be superseded, thereby, implying that the Army started its interference as early as during lifetime of the Quaid.
Relying on the Chanakyan principle of repeating a lie so often that it appears to be the truth, the protagonists are proliferating adverse but baseless stories to besmirch the good name of Pakistan Army’s first Pakistan Commander-in-Chief. The conspiracy stories range from Ayub Khan being reprimanded by none other than the Quaid-i-Azam himself. No evidence is produced but the lie is continuously repeated. Critics claim that Ayub Khan’s military career was not particularly brilliant and although he had not previously held a combat command, he was promoted over several senior officers with distinguished careers. They surmise that Ayub Khan was quite keen to interfere in politics. The detractors go to the extent of stating that Ayub Khan had received a bad Annual Confidential Report from his bosses prior to the partition of India and had become a General through machination.
The truth is that Pakistan Army has emerged as a battle-hardened force, which has successfully battled against terrorism and vanquished terrorism. Enemies of Pakistan, who went to the extent of aiding and abetting the terror groups to wreak havoc and destabilize Pakistan are rattled by the defeat of their mischievous conspiracies, so they are spreading fake news to denigrate the Armed Forces of Pakistan. Some pseudo intellectuals, who pretend to be liberal, join the bandwagon of bashing the defenders of Pakistan, end up becoming the mouthpiece of forces hostile to Pakistan. The war on terror has taken a huge toll of the armed forces of Pakistan but the battles have been won with blood, sweat and grit of these sons of the soil, who do not demur from making the supreme sacrifice of their lives in the defence of the motherland. It goes to the credit of Pakistan that while the mothers of the martyrs, proudly bury the mortal remains of their gallant sons, declaring that they will not refrain from sending their other children to the armed forces and achieve martyrdom if required.
The enemy can never ever defeat such a resolute adversary, where every household has sacrificed a son, a father, a brother, a daughter or sister in becoming an impregnable wall of defence to protect Pakistan. Like wily conspirators, the adversary is trying to gnaw at the roots of Pakistan by spreading deceitful tales to besmirch the armed forces. The crafty foes comprise fake liberals, who in the garb of defending human rights, sometimes target military courts, the rights of terrorists, who are responsible for genocide and slaughter of innocent children, women and civilians and claim that the armed forces indulge in business enterprises and write books filled with surreptitious statistics of profit and gains. Such ignoble critics have never been to Combined Military Hospitals, whose wards are inhabited by soldiers and officers whose limbs have been amputated by being exposed to frostbite on the chilly heights of Siachen or who became victims of Incendiary Explosive Devices (IEDs) and mines. They have not visited the graveyards with freshly dug graves of young officers and men who fell in the line of duty defending Pakistan from the heinous plots of faceless enemies.
These so-called “conscientious objectors” have never been to the houses of young widows, who lost their spouses who embraced martyrdom so that we may thrive and prosper as a free country. These widows have to lead their lives bringing up orphaned children, eking a living of the measly pension. If Army Welfare Organizations offer relief and means to a decent living, detractors of Pakistan find it offensive. Where is the compassion of the ilk of Ayesha Siddiqa, Asma Jahangir, Manzoor Pashteen, Mohsin Dawar, Ali Wazir, Ayesha Gulalai, Marvi Sermad, Afrasyab Khattak, Bushra Gohar, Hussain Haqqani et-al. These “conscientious objectors” establish NGOs, Human Rights Commissions like South Asians against Terrorism & for Human Rights (SAATH), where they vilify the image of Pakistan, sometimes at the behest of foreign intelligence agencies. Besides organizing seminars, writing scathing articles or appearing on Indian TV channels in a slander campaign against the army and Pakistan.
The premise that Army started its interference as early as during lifetime of Quaid Azam is created by the opponents merely to qualify the narrative that the Army is still interfering in the political affairs. Pakistan Army stands as a disciplined force made up of souls that can look beyond any background, faith, sect or origin. The army has a truly national outlook based on regimental spirit. An educated, hardened and patriotic Islamic army with both conventional and unconventional abilities is certainly a sore in the eyes of many evil forces who are frantically finding ways to break this institution. The Pakistan Army is much grudged by its enemies and its ill-wishers; trying to malign it futilely. The spirit of sacrifice of the army and their families is a pain in the hearts of its adversaries. Let it be known to our enemies that the Pakistani nation firmly stands behind its Army who are its best protection of democratic norms.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.