Let’s Not Engross Khakis
By: Sohail Parwaz
Pakistan is seeing the most crucial time of its history. As a matter of fact ever since the independence Pakistan has never seen an unwavering phase except for the initial two years. Our national peace departed with the departing of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The political mayhem produced vacuity thus paved way for the militarycracy. For quite long the military rule, or to please my friends I shall use the term military dictatorship, was condemned for derailing democracy in Pakistan. No one could show guts to ask that, which democracy? The one which took the life of a sitting national assembly speaker right in the house or the one for which Pandit Nehru very sarcastically said and I dare to quote that, “We do want to negotiate with Pakistan but the hitch is that to whom we should talk there? In every 24 hours there is a new government in Pakistan. The pairs of shoes changed by me are no way near to the number of governments changed in Pakistan”.
Contrary to that, the indisputable record clearly spells the amazing and noteworthy economic, industrial and business boom took place during the first military ruler of Pakistan Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan’s time. One may take it as an exaggeration but that was the time when, according to the old documents retrieved from the Ministry of Finance, in 1963, Pakistan provided 120 million rupee development loan, for 20 years, to West Germany, which was considered more flourishing and thriving as compare to East Germany at that time. During Ayub ‘the dictator’s’ era from 1958 thru 1969 GNP growth rates exceeded 6 percent on average throughout the period, which is 3.59 today during the tenure of a ‘democratic government’ with the tall claims and false promises. During 1960s, Pakistan was seen as a model of economic development around the world, and there was much praise for its economic progression. The capital (at that time) Karachi was seen as an economic paradigm around the world, and there was loud appreciation for the way its economy was progressing. Many countries sought to follow Pakistan’s economic planning stratagem and one of them, South Korea, copied the country’s second “Five-Year Plan”. One may like to know that Seoul, the capital of South Korea is modelled after inopportune city of lights (not anymore) Karachi.
Nevertheless, military rule was always condemned for valid and invalid reasons. May that be Ayub’s prosperous rule, Zia’s era aur Musharraf’s time. We may find hundred drawbacks and weaknesses in any military rule but we can’t deny those fifty odd good things done by them. Contrary to them, the political governments always came into power with a pledge to provide food, shelter and clothing to every Pakistani but despondently couldn’t fulfil their promises and claims. Finding themselves badly trapped, they would resort to typical modus-operandi of pressing the false alarm button about democracy to be in danger.
Having said so this, the question arises that where do we stand today? May be one uses diplomatic language or tricky words to tender a persuasive explanation but those who have a heart and of course a conscience they will speak straight from the heart that, “we are back to square one”. Sadly, we are affianced and entwined in the snake & ladder game where we have few privileged families and only they have the right to play the game of politics, turn by turn. If one is at the tail of a snake then the other will be found atop the ladder. This is your turn and the next is mine, is the rule of the game and that is what the new definition of democracy is these days, in Pakistan.
The army found a very simple solution to the problem after repeatedly performing the thankless job and that was to stay miles away from the politics, come, what may. General Aslam Beg was the pioneer of this code of belief. Unfortunately it didn’t work since the ‘adolescent’ political leadership, irrespective of class or clan couldn’t come up to the expectations and that suggested army to come forward with a new role, i.e. of a class monitor. General Jehangir Karamat was a decent and soft hearted man, hence instead of indulging into any controversy he preferred to leave the scene quietly but General Waheed Kakar was totally a different person; an upright, all along professional and absolutely patriotic. For him one could easily say that, “Don’t see the size of man in the fight, see the size of a fight in a man rather” and no doubt that he was a fearless fighter. Seeing the tussle between the President and the PM he tried a new formula aka ‘Kakar Formula’. Without wasting more time or making a mockery of Pakistan, internationally, both the gentlemen were nicely shown the door by him, although President Ghulam Ishaq was not at fault, nevertheless, the formula was applied across the board. Ever since then, it is felt that the army may not intervene or take the charge of political / national affairs directly but will not put up with the crucial and deploring law and order situation in the country, as the nation can’t afford such far-reaching losses.
Unfortunately, that unpleasant time has again come when the life in the country is at stand still and the political rout is back at square one or at least it appears so. The current political government is reaping what it sowed. No one else can be blamed for this turmoil and of all the people the armed forces are the least. It was a very healthy sign that no one could dare point an accusing figure towards the army for the political muck being kicked. Let’s not go into the details of how the government came in to power and how the election rigging was protested by many parties or how a party’s workers were ruthlessly killed in numbers, by the government forces but the fact remains that the talk about the army was nowhere; not in press, neither at the forums and nor did in the social media. It was the political elite that after spoiling the curry ran towards the ‘Chef’, when Chief Minister Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif and the Interior Minister Chauhdary Nisar frequently met the Army Chief; perhaps to disseminate the impression that the army too is a stakeholder. No doubt that army too, is a stakeholder but to the extent of country’s peace, stability and sovereignty. Existence of Pakistan is that redline where everyone else’s freedom ends.
The ugly and unfair game has started now, when after losing ground at every front, suddenly some unknown quarters have started talking about the army, as it was feared and expected after the government’s two key leaders’ met the COAS, few days back. Suddenly a insignificant section of press and electronic media toed the line and purposely started mentioning army vis-à-vis current political fiasco. Among them GEO is certainly the leading one, who, every now and then, tries to drag the army in, through talk shows or political reviews, without any rhyme or reason. It’s high time that the armed forces should be let live alone. They are wholly solely concentrating on the most crucial and sensitive survival-war of Pakistan’s history. At this point, only some anti-state elements will attempt to divert their attention from the core mission.
The media has played a very constructive, conscientious and nationalistic role throughout operation Zarb-e-Azb and it should not let this great image of media be tarnished by few reprobates. The best favour to the army, which can be done at this moment, is that we should avoid dragging her in our discussions at every forum. The army earnestly wants to stay away from political sewage as it had had enough already. The political elite and media should avoid crossing that redline, beyond which army abodes. Lets resolve or political or other issues ourselves and ensure our best not to engross the Khakis. Crossing that line would be our folly and it’s a known fact that when you err you pay. Let’s not ask for it because if we will ask some, we will get some and God forbid if it happens it will be due to sheer recklessness of few careless quarters of media generally and through the kind courtesy of our leaders’ political immaturity, categorically. The sooner we realise the better it would be.