Executive, judiciary & the military

Mukhtar Ahmed Butt : The writer is a freelance journalist and defence Analyst.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is not the first prime minister to be called in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Three Prime Ministers have already appeared in the SC. PM Nawaz Sharif was the first one followed by Yousaf Raza Gilani who refused to write letter to Swiss authorities against Asif Ali Zardari and removed by SC on contempt of court charges and Raja Parvez Ashraf took over as PM who implemented the orders of the SC and wrote letter to Swiss authorities to avoid contempt of court action.IK perhaps is the only Prime Minister who at a very short notice appeared before the SC three member bench headed by CJ Gulzar Ahmed on a suo motto case pertaining to terrorist attack on APS on 16 December 2014 in which more than 134 children were martyred besides killing and wounding many. The court summoned him to know what the government was doing to punish official responsible for security lapses that led to the attack on Army Public School in 2014.Why he was called raises many questions because his government came in to power in 2018.Before we come to reply by Prime Minister some related facts must be stated. A matter that took place in 2014, inquiries were held by the government people involved were punished, some facilitators of terrorists were also executed. Nawaz Sharif was the PM at that time and Gen Raheel Sharif was the COAS. What was the need of taking suo motto after 7 years is not understood at all. All the families have been compensated, naturally money is no alternative to human lives but that is how the business goes on. Coming to the reply of the PM he replied that he was not PM at that time, the CJ asked him what his government has done in three years to redress the grievances of the families of the victims. Khan told CJ you issue the orders we will take action he further added that relatives of the victims were compensated. The CJ remarked that the parents want their children and not the compensation. (This is applicable to all the murders that take place in Pakistan on daily basis). The court informed the PM that victims parents want action against officials who were posted on high ranking positions at the time of attack. Such specific questions appear to be slightly biased against the army that should have been avoided. When the debate got heated PM said find out how 80000 people were killed and also find out who is responsible for 480 drone attacks taking place in Pakistan, to which CJ responded that you are the PM it is your job to find out. The apex court directed PM to attend concerns of victims and action should be taken against anyone whose negligence was proven and asked the government to send report duly signed by the PM.
There are two perspectives of this case. The first one is attack on APS on 16 December 2014 and secondly PM’s counter question who is responsible for 80000 people killed and the drone attacks. But why he forgot to mention that our soldiers manning check posts in border area are being attacked with regular intervals killing our officers and soldiers and they all have parents who can bring back their sons, brothers, fathers, husbands etc. We all know even GHQ was attacked therefore this has to be seen in its true perspective. Undoubtedly it was a massive intelligence failure on the part of KPK government and the top management running APS. Knowing full well that war on terror is on therefore proper security should have been ensured due to its vulnerability. Since it was army’s domain therefore an inquiry was held and action taken but not given in the press. However terrorist’s facilitators were arrested and also executed. As per in built system of accountability in the armed forces actions taken by army are not released to the press therefore it will be wrong to presume that action was not taken. PM’s answer was absolutely right when he said he was not the PM in 2014. But when he remarked what about action against those who are responsible for 80000 people died in war on terror. It was Gen Musharraf’ tenure, these casualties were over the years. His decision to be part of war on terror was right as there was no other option, he could have said no and Pakistan would have been pushed in to Stone Age or made Tora Bora of Pakistan. We can never afford to match and fight with the super power. A small fire in the building in big cities and people crying for help we cannot rescue them imagine the rain of missiles and carpet bombing would have played havoc so let us not criticise the good work done by the general in saving Pakistan from destruction. Even otherwise extra ordinary situation demands extra special measures to tackle the situation. It is very easy to criticise anybody but difficult to handle the situation that too under unfavourable conditions. What is needed is to take extra security measures keeping in view the threat. We should avoid blame game as it will serve no purpose. Past is to learn mistakes unfortunately instead learning from past mistakes we normally repeat the mistakes hence the mess continues. We are still in war conditions after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. The PM’s straight reply to US “Absolutely not” is the main issue. Things have changed, we have now a PM who is not interested in war and past rulers were also not keen to go to war, but when wars are imposed you have no choice. All wars ultimately make you sit across the table to sort out your differences. We have a living example of Super power who spent trillions of dollars and fought very long war for 20 years and ultimately had to agree to negotiations. It is not that why Biden has not called to IK, it is the script that is being followed. The unrest, PDM activities are all part of script but it will not deter the PM, he would prefer to quit rather than compromising on principles not understood by many.
The turn around of events continue to shape new realities and the government seems to be adamant to stand up to all sorts of opposition and condemnations. Nothing matters more than the security and survival of the state and that can only be guaranteed through political stability and a powerful military.

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