Friday, March 9, 2012

Military Establishment: Is it becoming our enemy also?

They loathe you, but we don't. We love you. Do you?

For years now Pakistan has hung by its teeth and every time a generation that faces   it, says that “things will change for better” only to see the next generation going through the same thing and they also repeating, “things will change for better.” But we are of the opinion that things will never change.

Our apologies to make it sound too pessimistic, but with the latest news of ISI meddling in the political affairs to an extent where they had a former chief of a local bank in Pakistan by his throat doesn't really help matters for us. The former chief of Mehran Bank, Younis Habib has admitted in a shocking revelation to the Supreme Court that he was forced by the then ISI Director Asad Durrani at the behest of Army Chief, Aslam Baig, to arrange for a whopping Rs 400 million in 1990 to distribute among anti-PPP politicians. This makes it a form of indirect rigging for the 1990 General Elections, if evidences related to direct rigging are inconclusive or inadequate.

This entire revelation leaves the entire institution as powerful as it is, in a whole new mess. Not to mention, the credibility of ISI and the Armed Forces also takes a serious blow among those – we included - who have considered the two institutions as good as anything.

There is no doubt that a jawan of Pakistan Armed Forces has made, is making and will carry on making sacrifices for his people and his country. And there are only few who do not value this enormous duty every Pakistani soldier does without a whine or a grudge. Unfortunately, by the looks of things there seems to be a segment within the Army that doesn't value either these sacrifices.

There is a segment within the army that seems to have set out on its own agenda, an agenda that is ambiguous, murky and seriously questionable. The behind-closed-doors meetings between elites and military officers have become a norm, thanks to military dictatorships. But it wouldn't have been much of an issue had those meetings meted out something in favour of Pakistan. Furthermore, we believe there is a gap that is creating between the top elite of Armed Forces and among the lower level of officers and soldiers also.

Some evidences that came into fore are like the on-going operations – Rah-e-Nijaat and Rah-e-Rast – in the tribal regions that predominately has Pushtoon population. At the start of the operation, it didn't had Pushto-speaking soldiers in the military unit. Some reports have it that Pushto-speaking soldiers plainly refused to take part in the operation as they knew, when things become ugly then they would be forced to bomb their people, indiscriminately. And this was very much that happened with many fleeing families who met this fate in this operation as they were trapped in their homes due to curfew and ended up dying due to army's bombing. There are also reports that soldiers are experiencing shallowness as they had never dreamed of fighting a war within Pakistan against Pakistanis. And there are enough reasons to believe the growing discord between the top military leadership and the ones below them. Sadly enough when it comes to statistics also, it is true that Pakistan Army has this dubious record of killing more Pakistanis than the Indian Army has. The question is, in the name of what are these Pakistanis being killed?

Having read a book long time back, it talked about how Pakistan Army top leadership is somewhat ignorant of Islamic teachings and it talked of how Pakistan may experience a bloody civil war which would be between the Army and the people of Pakistan. It further said that the Pakistan people won't be alone in the struggle as they would be aided by those faithful followers within in the Army that would defect from the Army to join hands in the struggle. Are these recent operations just a light glimpse of what the book talks about?

The revelation made by Younis Habib might not come as a surprise to many as it has always been known to people that it’s the military establishment that calls the shots in Pakistan. And the majority of the people didn't had much of a problem with it either because they considered the military more loyal, less corrupt and more disciplined than some of our dimwitted politicians. Now though, opinions are changing, and perspective is on the verge of a shift.

We haven't set out demonising the Pakistan Army as done by foreign media as well as by our own Pakistani media, as they always have had a parti pris that is understood by every common Pakistani. But what we want from our military leadership is to come clean on matters pertaining to our sovereignty and security, even if meant that they have to admit their own mistakes. The Pakistani people love their Army more than they do themselves because they value their sacrifices and blood that they have put in for Pakistan. With operations on civilians and questionable stances, it would just distance a common person from his beloved Army. And the result of that distance may well be a bloody civil war. If not us, then at least our enemies want that for sure.

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