South Asia Research and Analysis Studies

Stop demoralising the nation
Mohammad Jamil

Enemies of Pakistan use every ruse and subterfuge to demoralize the nation. International media for quite some time have been trying to raise doubts about the security of Pak nukes.

They also questioned the ability of the armed forces to decimate terrorists’ strongholds and safeguard the integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan. After US Special Forces operation in Abbottabad on 2nd May 2011 and later terrorists’ attack on Mehran Naval base, there has been onslaught on Pakistan’s military. Of course, there should be investigations and inquiries, which reportedly are being held, as the armed forces are keen to understand to take remedial measures. But unfortunately our political class is recklessly politicking on these gravest issues. Even on the formation of commission on the May 2 American adventurism, which should have been a calm and serious affair, has been turned into a blistering controversy. Of course, the government should have formed the commission with the consent of the leader of the opposition. But the government has taken the position that with Chaudhry Nisar’s letter recommending the names of proposed commission including the name of Justice ® Fakhruddin G Ibrahim was part of the consultative process, as it had included his name in the commission.

There could be no greater curse on a people to be foisted with a worthless leadership in their hour of dire vicissitudes, as we are presently. The nation is confronted with gigantic challenges, both externally and internally; and its economy is in dire straits. America is tightening screws on it and sending ominous signals of extending its war in Afghanistan to Pakistan. Internally, the nation is facing vicious terrorism involving a multiplicity of terrorist forces including foreign proxies and homegrown militants, sectarian fanatics, ethnic firebrands and criminal thugs. To extricate the nation out of this morass, Pakistan needs visionary leaders with creative ideas. Instead, we have pygmies and dwarfs and devoid of courage and wisdom. Leaders of both the major parties have an image problem for one because of general perception and secondly because of corruption cases filed against each other during their tenures in 1990s. The PML-N top leaders have been talking about politics of principles, yet they promoted lotacracy by seeking support of the unification bloc to stay in power in Punjab. They also have been ranting irrational talk about formation of commission to punish those who were responsible for security lapse.

After 2nd May episode, it was hoped that politicians across the divide would put their heads together, as did the 9/11 episode to America. Unfortunately, that has not happened. It has to be mentioned that no heads rolled after 9/11, but their political and military leadership worked out a strategy that helped save America from any disaster during the last 10 years. Some of our political eminences, analysts, and ‘brilliant’ panelists have chosen to malign the armed forces. PML-N leaders are asking for accountability of those responsible for the security lapse vis-à-vis attack on Mehran Naval base or inability to unearth Osama bin Laden. They are not coming out with some concrete suggestions to put in place a strategy that could ward off any possibility of such happening in future. On the other hand, our print and electronic media has started onslaught on the military and intelligence agencies of Pakistan. Our media men are on self-infliction course perhaps with a view to proving that they are independent. It is true that the government’s procrastination on coming out with the statement after 2nd May episode caused concern to the people, but the fact remains that the government, military and the ISI were taken by surprise.

In the past, whenever the military adventurers had promulgated Martial Laws, it was perfectly justified to criticize and condemn the violation and subversion of the Constitution. However, it should be noted that after promulgation of every Martial Law, there were celebrations because people were fed up with the internecine conflicts of the political parties. Political parties had formed alliances to get rid of the elected government. All those who claim to be champions of democracy have at one time or another supported, aided and abetted Martial Law dictators. Now when the military has confined itself to its role as defined in the Constitution, some politicians and media men have taken recourse to scathing criticism. On TV talk shows, anchorpersons and panelists relish Pakistan-bashing, military-bashing and agencies-bashing not realizing that something sinister is being played around Pakistan. Cyril Almeida, columnist of renowned English daily in Pakistan wrote in his column: “If we didn’t know bin Laden was in Abbottabad, we are a failed state; if we did know, we are a rogue state”. These are almost the same words of chief of the CIA Leon Panetta.

No democrat or anybody in his right sense would support a military dictator. If in the past the politicians, judiciary and people in general supported the dictator, there must be some reason. However, armed Forces of the country besides performing basic task of defending the motherland have always played a significant role in various other nation-building projects and specially disaster management in the wake of earthquakes and floods. Under the Constitution and law, the services of the Armed Forces can be acquired to act in aid of the civil power and for maintaining law and order situation. And in the exercise of such powers, the Armed Forces in the times of natural calamities played commendable role in the rescue and relief operations, which was always admired, whether it was the devastating earthquake in Kashmir, Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa and Islamabad in the year 2005 or the recent flood catastrophe. Since the civil administration is not geared to fight such calamities, such magnitude of rescue and relief operations could only be undertaken by the organized and discipline forces. If the Armed Forces would have not responded promptly and effectively to these catastrophes, the destruction in term of precious life and property would have been more severe and painful.

In April 2011 while addressing a delegation of officers of Command and Staff College Chief Justice of Pakistan Chaudhry Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said: “Our Armed Forces successfully maintained the writ of the government in different parts of the country, sacrificing precious lives of many Officers and Jawans while fighting terrorism and restoring normalcy and maintaining peace in the country. I am confident that keeping in view the role of the defence forces in the past against external aggression, you would live up to your traditions, whenever you were called upon to defend your country”. People should listen to the Chief Justice of Pakistan and not anchorpersons who are immature and inexperienced, media men and those who are playing in the hands of Pakistan’s enemies. Perhaps some of them may have sold themselves out to malign the armed forces. Some commentators pass remarks which the US and the West wish to listen and read. It should be borne in mind that this is the first phase of weakening Pakistan and efforts are being made to create wedge between the armed forces and the people. And in case they succeed in their nefarious designs, we all stand to suffer. The nation should not listen to them and keep their morale high.