Solidarity with defence forces

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THE National Assembly on Thursday did what Parliament should have done much earlier in the backdrop of slanderous campaigns against the defence forces of Pakistan and other national institutions.

Putting its weight behind the country’s defence forces, the National Assembly, through a unanimously-passed resolution, expressed its “complete solidarity” with the army urging the government and the state to take action and make the “group of misguided people” an example.

The resolution surely reflects the will and aspirations of people of Pakistan, who have been expressing their extreme dismay and anger over a malicious campaign against national institutions as it amounted to weakening the very foundation and strength of the state.

Subtle criticism of and references to the institutions have always been there and these were taken in the positive spirit but the tendency turned into a venomous and sustained propaganda during the last few months when names were called and wild allegations were levelled without any proof or evidence.

The institutions normally do not publicly defend themselves and the job is left to the Government and the political leaders but the intensity and ferocity of the allegations forced senior officers of the institutions to hold a press conference, explain background as well as facts around some serious issues and developments as part of the effort to put the record straight.

They did so as the propaganda was harming national prestige and unity and a straight forward explanation of the situation was due.

The resolution of the National Assembly rightly declared that honour and prestige of Pakistan is a red line for the nation.

It is the need of the hour that those elements crossing their limits and becoming a tool in the hands of enemies of the state should be made an example which is in the best interest of the nation and Pakistan.

The sentiments expressed by Parliament are understandable as personnel of the defence forces have been rendering great service both in times of war and peace.

Everyone knows the role that the defence forces and our security agencies played in the unconventional war against terrorism and extremism, which helped restore the much-needed peace in the troubled regions of the country.

If today we see a semblance of economic activity and normalcy, it is mainly because of the sustained efforts and sacrifices of the defence forces, security agencies and the police force.

The nation also witnessed the dominant role played by personnel of the defence forces during rescue and relief operations in the wake of recent rains and floods in the country.

One must also salute the meticulous work being done by our premier secret agency, the ISI in foiling not only the designs of the enemy on the external front but also taking concrete action against all those who are trying to undermine the strength, unity and progress of the country internally on their own or under the influence of their foreign masters.

Similarly, there is absolutely no justification to malign the judiciary or the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

There is an unfortunate tendency to praise them when decisions are in favour and make them targets of scathing verbal attacks if adverse judgements are delivered.

As for allegations against the Pakistan Army, the ISPR had also called on the government to investigate the matter and initiate legal action against those “responsible for defamation and false accusations against the institution and its officials without any evidence whatsoever”.

Now that a similar demand has also been made through the unanimous resolution, we hope the Government will initiate substantial actions to take the process to the logical conclusion.

The practice of dragging the defence forces in politics must be discouraged and shunned, especially when an institutional decision has been taken by the Army to remain apolitical.

This is not mere rhetoric as the leadership of the Army proved this by flatly refusing to become a party in political controversies.

Fortunately, the President of Pakistan, who is also supreme commander of the defence forces, has also been instrumental in efforts to help avoid confrontation with the Establishment and the situation demands he should continue his mission even if his efforts bear limited success because of political complications.

We also hope that like the National Assembly, the upper house will also adopt a similar resolution expressing solidarity with the defence forces at this critical time.

 

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