Don’t demoralize custodians of security

Don’t demoralize custodians of securityMohammad Jamil
Military had been regularly briefing the previous government about its threat perception from the militants. COAS Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has more than once informed the present government also about the activities of the criminal syndicate of the terrorists, and at least once categorically stated that terrorism stalking the entire country is existential threat to the country. Some political parties believed the through dialogue they can persuade the militants to stop bloodletting and the heinous acts. If the past is any guide, it did not work in Swat and Malakand when an agreement was reached between Maulvi Fazlullah and the KPK government. A few months ago, the TTP had offered peace talks to the newly elected government, but after the drone strike killed Wali-ur-Rehman, the TTP withdrew the offer, though Pakistan condemns drone strikes and has protested vociferously. Now the spokesman of the banned organization has said that the TTP never made an offer for talks.

However, the All Parties Conference had passed a resolution that dialogue with the militants was the first option to bring peace to the country. Despite the good intentions of the PML-N government and gestures, militants continue with their killing spree. Major General Sanaullah Niazi, Lt. Col. Tauseef and soldier Irfan were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Upper Dir district on last Sunday after they were returning from visiting forward posts along the Afghan border. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed the responsibility for the attack. A unanimous resolution has been passed in the National assembly condemning the attack on Pak military officers saluting the bravery and courage of Pakistan Armed Forces. On Sunday, a twin suicide bombing killed more than 80 people and injured 130 others at a church service in Peshawar on Sunday in one of the deadliest attacks on Christians in the country. The attacks on minorities are against the Islamic injunctions and sayings of Quaid-e-Azam, which militants flout with impunity.

Some misguided elements and a few palmed-off media men, analysts and panelists have the penchant for criticizing the armed forces and intelligence agencies – the custodians of security and defenders of the country. By badmouthing the military and agencies, they try to prove that media is independent. Unfortunately, some from the political class also accuse military of interference in civilian matters, and their grouse is because of three Martial Laws in the past. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the reasons behind promulgation of Martial Laws and the role of the judiciary and politicians in legitimizing the military dispensations in the past. Anyhow, the conduct of present military leadership has been above board. However, whenever efforts were made to compromise sovereignty of the country vis-à-vis issuance of visas by Hussain Haqqani, then ambassador to the US whereby CIA agents and Blackwater’s operatives were running around in vehicles without number plates, and trying to gather information about our national assets, that military put its foot down to stop them.

Sometimes elected governments have had the ambition to bring the ISI under the ministry of interior. PPP-led government formed after 2008 elections had planned to bring the ISI under interior ministry at the behest of the US, and the plan was aborted with the resistance by the military hierarchy. Politicians may have grouses, and Bonapartism and praetorian adventurism are in any case indefensible; but at the same time the military cannot be kept completely out of the counsels in running the state. It has to be taken aboard on security matters and even on issues of foreign policy when related to security issues. This is how are the things all over the world, even in entrenched democracies where the civilian supremacy is puritanically valued and held inviolable in any conditions. And it has to be in our country; it is as simple as that. The elected government has to be fully aware of the security establishment’s viewpoint on security issues, which would help the government in thinking rationally and realistically about the initiatives the government intends to take.

Last year, before the Senate elections, some politicians, commentriat and analysts in print and electronic media had been forecasting that the military would create conditions to get the Senate elections postponed, and then overthrow the elected government. Since Senate elections were held peacefully and according to schedule, the political pundits and analysts were proved wrong; and they stood exposed and discredited in the eyes of general public. The COAS had then said that nowhere in the world are intelligence outfits maligned and discussed in the manner in which some people do here in Pakistan and especially when there is no evidence of the army’s involvement in the politics. Such allegations and other insinuations can have a demoralizing effect on the soldiers who are sacrificing their lives fighting terrorism and while defending the borders. It is now for years that the Pakistan military is fighting the criminal syndicate of terrorists, and has suffered immensely both in lives and material losses in this bloody campaign.

They have indeed positively contributed towards socio-economic uplift in Balochistan, as thousands of children are studying in educational institutions established by Armed Forces. They always come to the rescue of the people who suffer in flash floods and earthquakes; therefore they deserve approbation and not condemnation. They are prepared to defend Pakistan’s frontiers and always reach out to all citizens of Pakistan during catastrophes, especially when the nation is hit by floods, earthquakes and natural calamities. They are presently engaged in fighting the menace of terrorism and are sacrificing their lives to save the nation from terror attacks. Every year when rainy season comes, people look towards the soldiers of Army on rescue missions to save their lives and property. Countless nation building projects undertaken by Armed Forces speak of their commitment and devotion towards national cause and sense of duty. Our soldiers can face the enemy under adverse environment, but they feel disheartened and demoralized by the comments directed against them by our own media anchors and writers.

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