Let’s strengthen national institutions


Dr Muhammad Khan

The Armed Forces of Pakistan are the backbone of national security, sovereignty, integrity and unity of Pakistan. Whether peace or war, the Pakistani armed forces have always proved its worth. A stocktaking of contemporary global armed forces would reveal that, Pakistani armed forces are at the peak of its professionalism and high moral. Besides, they are strongly backed by the masses of Pakistan, who always stood behind and love them. The professional competence of armed forces of Pakistan and the unity, this institution has instilled among the masses has enticed regional and global conspiracies against this strong outfit.
In this regard, the regional and international forces have joined hands to slander the institution of armed forces, especially the institution of Pakistan Army and its premier intelligence agency (ISI). Through a combination of non-kinetic warfare, hybrid warfare and 5th generation warfare, the spying networks of rival powers have started a direct and indirect war against Pak Army and ISI. This direct and indirect campaigning is aimed at weakening the institutions, which indeed serve the purpose of foes of Pakistan. The ultimate loser would be the state of Pakistan and the ultimate beneficiary would be the foes of Pakistan, who are waging this war.
Extension in the service of COAS has never been an issue in Pakistan. It has been made an issue by dragging this prestigious institution into Supreme Court of Pakistan. The ambiguity in the Constitution of Pakistan about the procedure of appointment, term and conditions of the COAS could have been tackled amicably through a legal advisory, between Supreme Court and the Government of Pakistan. SC was quick to take on the appointment of COAS as a matter of public interest, but it has taken no action against those violators of like PIC case, Model Town incident, Baldia Town incidents. There has been un-necessary trumpeting by making a non-issue as an issue. Constitution and amendments thereafter over time have been made by Parliament, not the military.
Therefore, Parliament could have tackled it without too much hue and cry. Both the Government and the prestigious court could have reflected high standard of magnanimity and prudence over this delicate issue. Award of death sentence to former President General Pervaiz Musharraf in absentia is yet another issue. The former President was awarded this sentence over the charges of treason, the 2007 imposition of emergency in Pakistan. This announcement was sequel to the stage-managed drama of COAS extension.
Not that, Pak Army took it seriously and issued a press release but the masses are perturbed over such consecutive activism. Paragraph 66 of the detailed verdict, stating “if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan and be hanged for 03 days.” It is very disgraceful addition to already discriminatory verdict. Whereas, the verdict in the cases of many declared offenders could not be announced in absentia, this is a clear discrimination in the case of General Musharraf.
How can General Pervaiz Musharraf be a traitor, once he has served Pak Army and Pakistan for over forty long-years? Declaring him a traitor is very serious charge, the special court levelled against him. The approval of Cabinet was not sought as needed in the High Treason Act and Special Law CLA 1976. Besides, the Government functionaries of that time were not included in this trail, which make it highly biased. 342 Statement of accused is mandatory which is bypassed by the Court. Gen Pervez Musharraf denied right to be represented by Defense Counsel of his choice. Application to form Commission and application to hear Defense evidence was dismissed. The Armed Forces of Pakistan and the masses expect that justice will be dispensed in line with Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The former President must be provided with the opportunity to give his view point over the imposition of 2007 Emergency. He was not alone in imposing the emergency act; there was a Government in place and judges, who later validated the emergency.
The distinguished British think tank, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), has boldly accepted the strategic nature of Pakistan Army through a research. RUSI concluded that, Pakistan Army has diversified its options for the defence and security of its motherland. This diversification in security matters has not come over night, rather three conventional wars with India and a number of unconventional wars have taught Pakistan Army a lesson for the reorientation in its military strategy. Indeed, apart from having the strategic arsenals, there has developed a strategic thinking in higher leadership of Pak Army, departure from traditional mind-set of dependency and notation.
A detailed analyses of the pattern through which the Muslim countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya were brought to current situation of devastation, one would learn that, their rivals forces created a rift between the institutions and brought a divide between the masses, governments and the military. These Muslim states had strong militaries of their times, supported by their masses. Today, these states have been tumble-down to maps only, literally without unified governments and established militaries. The masses of these countries are spending their lives miserably without basic necessities of life. These states had huge natural resources and were prosperous once upon a time.
Therefore, let’s strengthen the Military institution by defying the regional and global conspiracies against this God gifted institution. The professionally competent and strategically armed Military of Pakistan is indeed the centre of gravity of this ideological state. In fact, today, Pakistani nation need more unity, then ever before in its history. Let’s follow the famous quote, “United we stand, divided we fall.”
— The writer, a retired Brig, is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.