The Convergence between Institutions
Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani while addressing a group of officers at GHQ on 5th November 2012 highlighted the need for every state institution to function within the framework provided by the constitution of the country. He proposed that instead of acting in haste each institution must take a pause before initiating an action to examine whether that will promote the rule of law and constitution and strengthen the institutions or otherwise. These remarks are general in nature and must have been triggered by host of the factors rather than any single incident. But as the luck would have it, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also spoke to the members of National Management Course the same evening.
While highlighting the importance of the role played by civil servants in uplift of the masses and managing state affairs he remarked that, ďgone are the days when stability and security of the country was defined in terms of number of missiles and tanks as a manifestation of hard power available at the disposal of the stateĒ rather it is measured in terms of the prosperity of the people.
The timings and the contents of the speeches provided media with an opportunity to blow the event out of proportion portraying it as a confrontation between the institutions. That also provided media an opportunity to resort to military bashing; something that has become a fashion in the recent past. NLC and Asghar Khan cases provided sufficient material for the purpose. In doing so what people in general and media in specific fails to understand is that defense forces of a country are different from other institutions of the state. In military edifice generals and soldiers represent two ends of the continuum which in routine is managed through rules and regulations but essentially is tied through the notes of mutual trust, discipline and faith in the righteousness of the cause. People those who have fought 1965 or 1971 wars and even in Kargil and FATA will bear me out that it takes an infinite amount of character to rise at the start line and to charge on to enemy position in an attack. Those few minutes happen to be the longest time of their life. These men in uniform lay down their lives for the defense of their motherland only if they have absolute faith in the sincerity of their commanders. This relation between men and officers isnít robotic as displayed in military drills rather it is that of comrades hinging on trust and mutual respect. Even a semblance of breach of trust would weaken bondage between commanders and troops ultimately effecting their performance in the field.
What we have witnessed in the recent past is that Army has been continuously blamed for all the ills prevalent in the society. This institution canít be blamed for the adventurism by few of its members. At the first place opportunities to impose military rule were presented by the civil leadership owing to their lack of administrative abilities. Nevertheless in these anti-Army environment its members are displaying relatively higher moral and ethical standards. The ex-generals have confessed their wrong doings in the SC of Pakistan presenting themselves for accountability while most of the political leaders have denied receiving money to support their election campaigns in 1990. To address NLC scam Army is conducting court-martial of the involved generals. The present military leadership has distinguished itself by supporting democratic process in the country. Has done marvels by defeating terrorists in Swat and South Waziristan. By undertaken developmental works in these areas to support local population; an activity beyond the call of duty. All this had a cost; army lost over 3000 individuals. A fact that is little known is that officers to men causality ratio was about 1:12, implying that for twelve men one officer laid down his life. A ratio that is undoubtedly highest in the world. In second world war officers to men casualty ratio of proud German Army was 1: 44. Our list of officers those who embraced martyrdom includes general officers and brigadiers also. That clearly reflects on the metal of officers corps and it plainly manifests that they have been leading their men from the front. This relation of trust and mutual respect is critical to the success of Army in future ventures and needs to be preserved and respected.
Since independence, Pakistan had turbulent political history. Extra judicial gaffes were committed to varying degrees by the members of each institution of the state. It is important that these follies must be corrected so as to prevent such deeds in future. But in doing so we must strengthen the institutions rather than weakening the same. That would re-enforce correction process and would guaranty that these acts of omission arenít repeated again.