By Sajjad Shaukat
It is regrettable that in the recent years, instead of appreciating Pak Army and Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayan, some pseudo-intellectuals, political entities and media anchors have been acting upon a negative campaign against military and its top leadership. By showing unrealistic approach, these detractors have manipulated various cases like Memogate Scandal, Mehrangate Issue, case of the missing persons etc. including deteriorating law and order situation of Balochistan.
In this regard, let us take the example of Balaochistan. By taking advantage of the judicial activism, these internal entities have been exploiting this case. While the truth behind human rights violations, the missing persons and aggravated law and order situation of Balochistan is that foreign-backed militant groups which have been fighting for secession of Balochistan kidnapped and massacred many innocent people and the personnel of the security forces. Many persons in the province have also been killed in suicide attacks and bomb blasts, planted by these outfits. On a number of occasions, these insurgents groups claimed responsibility for their criminal activities.
A majority of the disappeared individuals are also in the detention centres (Farrari Camps) which are being run by Baloch feudal lords (Sardars) who are fighting for their so-called prestige, status and influence, and want to continue old system of feudalism in the province. However, these separatist elements which have brought about unrest in Balochistan have tried to create rift between the top leadership of Army and the Judiciary.
Nevertheless, services of military cannot be ignored, whose leadership has made strenuous efforts to develop the infrastructure in Balochistan, providing the people employment opportunities to bring the Balochis in the mainstream of the country. In this context, Pak Army has not only established schools and colleges, but also set up technical and industrial institutes in the province, besides giving military training to the youth.
Similarly, army has been called in aid of civil power to conduct counter-insurgency operations and maintain order. Countless nation-building projects undertaken by the armed forces speak of their commitment and devotion towards national cause and sense of duty. Soldiers have done great service in the uplift of people of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Gigit-Baltistan, and other far-flung areas of Pakistan by completing development works well in time. They deserve appreciation for all these good deeds.
No doubt, Pakistan’s armed forces have been the redeeming saviours of nation under all circumstances. They are prepared to defend Pakistan’s frontiers and always reach out to all citizens of Pakistan during catastrophic period, especially when the nation is hit by floods, earthquakes and natural calamities. Every year, when rainy season comes, people look towards army soldiers who remain on rescue missions to save their lives and property. During the recent floods, the emotional episodes and heart-shaking stories, covering tragic scenes of rescue missions undertaken by troops of Pak Army are still haunting us all.
It is mentionable that Gen. Kayani did not interfere in Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s case. And during Swat and Malakand military operations, he proved his professional qualities, by ejecting the Taliban out of Swat, Dir and other affected areas.
Besides, during many crises like Dr Tahirul Qadri’s long march, Osama episode etc., these detractors spread rumours that martial law could be imposed in the country, but Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani remained firm on his principle of non-interference in political process. It was first time in Pakistan’s history that a new precedent has been made, as an elected government completed its tenure.
As regards civil-military cooperation, stressing upon national unity, Gen. Kayani said on June 9, 2011, “Any effort to create division between important institutions of the country is not in national interest…the people of Pakistan whose support the army has always considered vital for its operations against terrorists.” In the recent past, he repeated similar views about media speculations of military operation in North Waziristan, while rejecting the US undue pressure in this respect.
Recently, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani repeatedly stated that the country was passing through a very critical phase and “is pitched against an amorphous enemy, while the conventional threat has also grown manifold.” He explained that internal challenge like terrorism could be defeated through collective national efforts, and the armed forces had a pivotal role to play in harmony with other state instruments.
Notably, after obtaining consensus of the mainstream political parties in the All Parties Conference (APC), held on September 9, 2013, the government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had decided to start peace process with the militants, particularly of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
While, taking cognizance of the latest terror-attacks of the TTP, PM Sharif and Gen Kayani agreed to reject any pre-condition by the insurgents, which was disclosed in their statements. However, it shows coordination between civil-military relations.
Unfortunately, some internal entities have been distorting the image of Pak Army and Gen. Kayani by invalidating latter’s efforts, who has set a precedent to think positively—respect rule of law, help democracy to flourish, improve civil-military ties, restrain in the most tempting environment to interfere in government’s affairs, and to make the Army a professional outfit by disengaging it from civilian responsibilities.
But speaking in the tone of anti-Pakistan elements, our media have ignored the sacrifices of Pakistan’s armed forces regarding country’s security and against terrorism. The so-called media commentators who want to please some political stalwarts have not only been demoralizing the Army, but have also been misguiding the general masses, while setting aside the services of these forces in the country.
While, the entire nation is appreciative of General Kayani’s merited achievements, the critics seem to have developed some kind of acrimonious jealousy against him. Gen. Kayani who is soon retiring from his job, suggested to the entire politico-military leadership to improve civil-military relations in a balanced manner and concentrate on real issues to help provide relief to poor masses. Nonetheless, propaganda against the Army must be curbed, as civil-military cooperation must be encouraged in wake of multiple threats to Pakistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations Email: firstname.lastname@example.org