Firm resolve of COAS


CHIEF of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir Wednesday reassured troops that all those responsible for bringing shame to the nation on 09 May would certainly be brought to justice. Addressing officers and troops during his visit to the Sialkot Garrison, he said no one will be allowed to disrespect our Shuhada and their monuments, as they are a source of inspiration and pride for the rank and file, law enforcement agencies, government officials and the people of Pakistan. He underscored that the recently planned and orchestrated tragic incidents will never be allowed again at any cost.

General Asim Munir, who is otherwise known for his cool-minded approach to issues, is understandably deeply hurt from what the entire nation witnessed on 09 May when some misguided elements attacked army installations, buildings and personnel. The highly provocative actions of these elements sent shockwaves among rank and file of the Pakistan Army and as head of the institution it is the responsibility of the General to take all possible measures to restore the confidence and pride of his personnel. Pakistan defence forces have always offered huge sacrifices for the cause of the motherland despite various challenges and odds. They always frustrated designs of the enemy that seeks to create a wedge between the defence forces and people in pursuance of its nefarious objectives. In this backdrop, it is the responsibility of each and every citizen to stand firmly behind the defence forces in all circumstances. However, it is lamentable that some elements first indulged in a sustained propaganda campaign against the Pakistan Army and its leadership and then crossed all limits by physically attacking the symbols of the institution on 09 May. Arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan in connection with a corruption case was nothing extraordinary or new in Pakistani politics as a number of political leaders were nabbed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and prosecuted under the accountability law. It is also a fact that the top and senior leadership of other political parties, especially those belonging to PML(N) and PPP were sent behind bars during PTI’s own rule on charges that were never proved. Therefore, arrest of the PTI chief should not have come as a surprise for the party and prudence demanded the issue should have been handled perfectly within the bounds of the law and the Constitution. There was also no justification to indulge in violence when the judiciary was overwhelmingly supportive of the PTI, the leaders of which got instant relief in numerous cases. And above all, the arrest was a legal process that had nothing to do with the Pakistan Army and, therefore, statements against the Army leadership and attacks on army installations and facilities were beyond any imagination. Otherwise too, Pakistan Army, under the leadership of General Asim Munir was totally apolitical and any attempt to drag it into politics is regrettable. In fact, PTI is guilty of huge miscalculations on various accounts that have landed the party into deep trouble as it is now facing an existential threat. The no-confidence against the then Prime Minister was purely a constitutional process but it was portrayed as a foreign-inspired conspiracy and blame of the ‘regime change’ was hurled against a series of personalities. The PTI did not digest the reality of the democratic change and played all conceivable cards to destabilize the new government but its tactics including long marches miserably failed. It again erred by deciding to dissolve its own governments in Punjab and KP in the hope that the move would force the Federal Government to announce snap general election. The over-reaction that the party showed over the arrest of Imran Khan on corruption charges was a blunder of the highest order as its leaders, workers and supporters indulged in attacks against defenders of the motherland. The PTI leadership cannot absolve itself of the blame as it went to the extent of naming the Army Chief for the decision to arrest Imran Khan besides levelling baseless allegations of threats to his life. This berserk approach has clouded minds of a number of leaders and workers of the party, who are now deserting it expressing anger over May 09 attacks. No doubt, dialogue is the only viable option to come out of the messy situation but this remains elusive because of lack of sincerity. There are reports about attempts at damage control but their success is doubtful due to ifs and buts.