Civil, Military co-existence

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I feel sorry for those senior analysts, journalists, anchors, who have been predicting take over by army during PML N government. It caught momentum when PTI and PAT jointly gave historical Dharna in D Chowk Islamabad in August 2014.

That was the time when a special propaganda was launched against army as if they were planning to create problems for Nawaz Sharif.

The propagandists were disappointed when they saw that army chief gave full assurance to Prime Minister and the nation that no such thing shall ever happen, however the lobby working against army was successful in fuelling fire between government and the opposition parties that resulted in open confrontation and it continues un abetted.

It was 16 December 2014 when TTP targeted Army Public School at Peshawar in which over 140 innocent children were killed and all parties decided to go all out against TTP and Imran Khan also called off Dharna to show solidarity on the national issue.

An impression was created as if PTI is favorite of establishment where as it was not the case. But it is also true that Imran Khan would always talk about Umpire who is going to raise his finger, the umpire meant establishment, but no such thing happened. Earlier on also when Asif Ali Zardari was the President some TV anchors were deadly against him and tried to create an impression as if his days are numbered.

For five years Zardari remained under attack and he kept tolerating his character assassination but he never lost his nerves and kept cool and ignored them. So much so deadlines were given of his down fall but he completed his 5 years. Likewise PML N also faced similar situation and they have also completed their 5 years. But shameless have no shame. It is true there have been lot of problems from opposition specially PTI. But this is termed as beauty of democracy.

It is also a fact PMLN’s problems were self created and opposition only exploited them
During all these five years establishment has been under attack. Later on after Panama leaks judiciary also came under heavy attack. The custodians of democracy and the constitution violated norms of fundamentals of democracy and failed to perform according to the constitution that resulted in poor governance. There has been mega corruption scandals involving top leadership of the country, when questioned by NAB they blamed the establishment. Dawn leaks is classical example of mistrust between rulers and establishment, it was very serious issue but taken lightly by Gen Raheel Shareef and accepted sacking of minister and an advisor instead going against conspirators. This has been the greatest blunder on his part and should have never compromised as a matter of principle but to get NOC to head coalition force in Saudi Arab personal interest overpowered him
Out of 171 countries of the world, there are 10 countries without army. Out of 161 countries perhaps Pakistan is the only country where rulers openly criticized their own army and sought foreign assistance against own national army as happened in Memo gate Scandal. Had characters of Memogate given punishment Dawn leaks
Could never happen.

On Memogate Gen Kayani compromised as he got fresh term of 3 years as COAS but at what cost. It was again grave violation of constitution. The problem is that establishment cannot enter in to debate but when red lines are crossed they do move in to clarify as a last resort and DG ISPR holds press conference. But at the same time DG ISPR should stop explaining the chief’s position because he shall always be beyond comments, criticism etc in social media.

Pakistan is unique country where army is called to assist civil administration in those areas which are well established with adequate manpower and resources. Since they have not been trained therefore most of the time all those works are undertaken by the army. Someone has to fill the gap. Likewise what CJ of Pakistan is doing these days through suo mottos is exclusive domain of civil administration that has totally collapsed but again some has to fill the gap and CJ is doing it

For those who keep wasting time in criticizing the army and hold special talk shows, publish articles and make use of social media is doing no service to the country but certainly exposing themselves. Unfortunately some of them are also blue eyed of establishment reasons known better to them. A list of various tasks which army has to perform in aid of civil power for which fully fledged departments have been established but are incapable to perform their primary functions is ample proof of bad governance be it centre or provinces
For example to hold census- call the army, distribute wheat- call the army, rescue operation in floods- call the army, building collapse -call the army, extinguish fire- call the army, earthquake – call the army, heavy strike- call the army, breech of rivers- call the army, train accident- call the army, hijacking- call the army, stop ethnic riots- call the army, bhal safai- call the army, air crash- call the army, catch dacoits- call the army, catch kidnappers- call the army, control processions- call the army, heavy rains rescue operation- call the army, hold general elections- call the army, hold local bodies elections- call the army, control hydrants- call the army, security of players -call the army, hold exhibition- call the army, protect-installations- call the army, selling national assets to control employees- call the army, escort convoys-call the army, protect President & PM House –call the army, fight terrorists-call the army and many more duties can be listed But if something goes wrong-Blame the army.

Then we have a notion of restricting the army to its constitutional role within a crisis ridden capitalist system is nothing but sheer utopia. Article 245 empowers civil governments to call army in Aid of Civil power, that should be the extreme step but if you look at the tasks given to army it simply means that no effort has been made to build the institutions and entire burden of running the state is thrown on the shoulders of the army. Cry for rule of law, independence of judiciary, good governance, and smoothly running democracy are all the product of wishful thinking that totally ignores the socio economic realities and the horrendous crisis which Pakistani society is going through at this moment in time.

Military cannot be accused of doing less as much as civilians cannot be accused of doing more. The delicate balance between the power seekers both the military and the civil can be maintained if both agree to serve the state and the national security that is so vital to retain and maintain our independence. Being ex soldier I may be considered to have a biased opinion but I sincerely consider that civilians to lift their act up to match that of military for us to survive as a self respecting nation

The writer is a freelance journalist and defence Analyst.