“Is it not our own Armed Forces…”
By Zia Siddiqui


Some two and a half thousand years ago, great Chinese Philosopher and Strategist Su Tzu said, “without harmony in the state, no military expedition can be under taken; without harmony in the army, no battle array can be formed”.

I think we in Pakistan either do not read and understand the precept of Sun Tzu or do not want to understand things that have direct relevance to our environment today. Let us dissect Sun Tzu’s quote. ‘Harmony in the state’, one does not need to belong to any political party, any ethnic or sectarian group to accept that one of the most worrying dimension of Pakistan’s national security at the moment is lack of harmony in our beloved country. Be it among the state institutions or the federating units, be it among the political parties or different ethic groups, be it among the religious organization or even between different sectarian groups; there is a total lack of harmony, and attitude or space for accommodation for each other. Within the state institutions, there is an alarming level of distrust and misunderstanding which keeps surfacing in the media every now and then. A lot can be written on the missing links of a harmonized society in our country, but back to Sun Tzu. The next in line is that “no military expedition can be undertaken”. Absolutely, because as Sun Tzu has said that “Warfare is a great matter to a nation, it is the ground of death and of life -------, and must be examined”. If the state institutions lack harmony, and do not support its own military in its endeavors to defend the motherland from the known and unknown enemies, how do we expect that the military commander would risk the lives of his soldiers to a cause which does not have an ownership by state. If our media which is not only an state’s institution, may be owned by private entities, but a pillar of the state keeps targeting own military for the misadventures of the past committed by few individuals, how would today’s officers and soldiers go on the front to take the bullet on their chest; for which cause and for which state institution. Who will recognize their effort and sacrifices, and who will award them medals for their actions during which they could lose their lives. Please think about it, and back to Sun Tzu, “Without harmony in the army, no battle array can be formed”. No one can have any doubt to what this all time great strategist have said about the need to have harmony, discipline and high morale in an army. Notwithstanding the need of discipline, high morale and harmony in ranks and files of any army during peace, it becomes exceedingly important that these attributes are further strengthened during crises and conflicts. As we know armies don not fight alone, whole nation is to stand behind it with al its resources and resolve. We do not have to go too far to accept this reality and look deep into the handling of Swat and FATA operations. Till such time the Swat operation was not backed by the parliament, nation and media, the Law Enforcing Agencies (LEA) were losing and suffering huge losses. However, no sooner Armed Forces got the mandate of the nation through the elected institutions and media changed its course, the victory was not an issue for our armed forces who showed great courage, valor, unity and wholesomeness in their joint planning and execution. Pakistan Army and Pakistan air Force came together as instruments of any unified command to quickly achieve the assigned tasks. It is my firm believes that if Sun Tzu’s recipe of waging a war i.e harmony in state, is followed in true letter and spirit, Pakistan Armed Forces, given the task by the government and backed by whole nation, would Insha Allah Taala, defeat this hidden enemy within its entire territorial limits of Pakistan. But, first our media should stop bashing own Armed Forces, so that the soldier on the front knows that he will be buried with full honors if he is martyred in the performance of his duties.