Significance of APC’s resolution
Like many developing countries, ruling and opposition parties in Pakistan have variegated views. Since the government has to formulate a common policy acceptable to great majority of the people, it enters into dialogue with those advocating different policies with a view to creating unanimity. It is indeed a stupendous task to bring different thinking minds, traversing different paths, operating on different wave-lengths on one focal point. In a functional democracy, it can be achieved through dialogue, persuasion and appealing to the intellect of the opposition for common goal. However, when the contradictions become irreconcilable, recourse is made to coercion. Max Weber had said: “A state is a human community that claims the monopoly of the use of physical force within a given territory”. Of course, force should only be the last resort when that state has to deal with the situation of chaos and anarchy. It has to be mentioned that no government worth the name can tolerate those challenging the writ of the state.
Nevertheless, political parties unanimously passed a resolution on 9th September at the All Parties Conference (APC) at prime minister’s house, stating that negotiations with the militants should be pursued as the first option to counter terrorism. Of course, this has been the stance of the political parties in previous APCs held on the issue of dealing with the militants. The draft resolution drawn up at the end of the conference was carefully worded and not even a hint was given about the use of force in case the negotiations fail. The purpose was that the militants do not reject the peace offer once again. After the introductory two points of the Resolution, under the third point it expressed uneasiness over non-implementation of the recommendations relating to national security contained in declarations of APCs organized from 2011 to 2013 by the PPP, ANP, JUI-F and the Resolution adopted by the Joint Sitting of Parliament and recommendations thereon of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS).
The resolution passed in this APC has significance in another way. In para 5 (a) of the resolution passed by the All Parties Conference attended by almost all political parties in the parliament that represent the 190 million people of Pakistan have expressed their full solidarity and support in overcoming any challenge to national security or threat to our national interests. The excerpt from the resolution is reproduced: “We reaffirm our complete trust and confidence in our valiant Armed Forces and assure them of our full solidarity and support in overcoming any challenge to our national security or threat to our national interests”. Pakistan’s armed forces have indeed given tremendous sacrifices including supreme sacrifice, as they are the defenders of the frontiers and saviors of nation. They are prepared to defend Pakistan’s frontiers and always ready to protect citizens when the nation is hit by floods, earthquakes and other natural calamities. They are presently fighting to eliminate the menace of terrorism and are sacrificing their lives to save the nation from terror attacks.
Countless nation-building projects undertaken by Armed Forces especially in Balochistan are reflective of their commitment and devotion towards national cause and sense of duty. Soldiers have done great service in the uplift of people of Balochistan, KPK, GB and other far flung areas of Pakistan by completing development works well in time. They deserve appreciation for all these good deeds. Unfortunately, some media men, analysts and panelists believe that to prove media is independent they have to criticize, cast aspersions or badmouth the military – the defenders of the country. COAS Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in his briefing to the APC stated that some journalists are trying to create confusion. Media analysts who criticize soldiers must realize that their comments will negatively impact the fighting spirit and morale of troops. In April this year, a delegation of 75 military officers from the Command and Staff College in Quetta expressed their concerns over the perceived humiliation of the military during a meeting with members of a committee of the Senate or upper house of parliament.
The armed forces have indeed played remarkable role in fighting the menace of terrorism and have successfully cleared terrorists’ strongholds in Swat, Bajaur, Malakand and South Waziristan. But unfortunately, some media men and analysts including a few politicians are wittingly or unwittingly advancing agenda of Pakistan’s enemies. Security lapses and intelligence failures are taking place even in the US and other countries, but they try to take measures to strengthen the security apparatus. In Pakistan, be it May 2 incident or terrorist attack on Mehran Base, our media did not have the patience to wait for outcome of the inquiry by the commission. Having all said, members of the ruling elite should put their act together to eliminate the menace of terrorism, whether through the dialogue or if talks fail by use of force. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is right in saying that growth of economy hinges on elimination of terrorism.
Media must realize that any criticism of own soldiers will only help the enemy to achieve its goals of demoralizing Pak Army and reducing the combat efficiency of Pakistani soldiers. So far as present military leadership is concerned, it has conducted itself within the ambit of the constitution, and never tried to undermine the elected government. Even in the All Parties Conference the COAS said that government and armed forces are on the same page. One can infer that he meant that armed forces would abide by the decisions of the government. Therefore it is not fair to criticize the present military leadership. Politicians have an obsession and fears because of three Martial Laws in the past. But they should understand that scathing criticism is not the way to stop military intervention. It is universally acknowledged that the only way to check military’s intervention is the people’s power, which can come by delivering i.e. controlling ever-rising prices, alleviating poverty and providing basic facilities of health and education to the impoverished sections of the people.