AT a time when a surge is being witnessed in terrorist incidents and Pakistan Army is expressing its determination to deal with the threat firmly as before, there is an increase in the unfortunate tendency of Army-bashing for petty political gains. Pakistan Army and the country’s premier intelligence agency – ISI – have always been an eye-sore in the eyes of the enemy and any attempt to malign, defame and discredit them would be harmful for the cause of peace and security of the country.
It is deplorable that attempts to drag Army into political affairs are being made despite credible media reports that the leadership of the institution has decided to distance it from political matters. There have also been repeated statements from the Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa that the Army would not interfere in political issues. In this backdrop, naming of the military leadership in public meetings was uncalled for as it amounted to provoking the institution but the leadership acted wisely and demonstrated utmost restraint. We have been emphasizing in these columns that national institutions must not be made controversial as they are the strength of the country. Pakistan Armed Forces earn huge appreciation and command respect among masses because of their contribution to nation-building and the role they play during natural calamities. People always look towards defence forces whenever there is a national emergency or threat to peace and security of the country and they never disappointed people as they have the capacity and the will to deliver. The Opposition might have some grievances but there is an elected government in the country and political issues should be sorted out through political means and discourse. No attempt should be made to cast aspersions on national institutions in public meetings and rallies as this would be a violation of the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the law, which prohibit ridiculing or maligning defence forces and judiciary. Apart from some figures in the Opposition, some spokespersons of the Government especially Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad are also to be blamed for keeping the Army in focus as far as political discussions are concerned. His frequent comment that he too was a product of GHQ Gate-4 is an indirect accusation against the Pakistan Army and he needs to stay away from acting as a self-declared spokesperson of the Army.