By Brigadier (r) Hissamullah Baig
A lot of hue and cry is being raised over a statement issued by the ISPR on poor governance particularly with reference to Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was a complete package which included decimating the power of the militants and establishing the writ of the government. It did not only mean an operation for the former. While the Armed forces are nearing the completion of their task in the operation i.e. decimating the militants, the other organs of the state are far from doing their bit.
The government is responsible for the rehabilitation of the IDPs. The judiciary is responsible for ensuring the militants are meted out exemplary punishment. How many of the perpetrators of militants and their accomplices, who have either financed them or have given them moral and material support, have been brought to book.
True there are military courts but how many decisions of these military courts have been implemented. There are stays against executions, there are mercy petitions lying in the corridors of power. Are the armed forces expected to perform the role of the judiciary and executive also?
True also that this statement should not have come from the ISPR. Every one, thinking our version of democracy is at grave risk, appears to have jumped on the wagon to criticize this statement, but has any one pondered to think why this may have appeared. It clearly shows a trust deficit existing between the top brass of the armed forces and the government. And not without reason. To recall just a few incidents:
• General Asif Nawaz Janjua, COAS died under certain dubious circumstances. It was even stated that he was poisoned. Who was the Prime Minister at that time?
• If we look back the PML (N) government is notorious for its back-tracking. In 1998, the then Prime Minister asked the COAS General Jehangir Karamat to resign over a statement made by the latter at the PN War College. The statement by then COAS should not have taken the PM by surprise. Had the same not been conveyed to the PM months before the General’s talk at the War College? Because of inaction at the governmental level, the COAS voiced his opinion at a military forum which so irked the PM to the extent that he denied any existence of information to the effect.
• Take the example of the Kargil episode. Had the Prime Minister of the time not been briefed fully at GHQ on the operation? Of course later denied by the PM.
• When Mr. Nawaz Sharif went into exile under a deal brokered by the Saudi government, did he not after that deny existence of any deal. When confronted with the facts by a foreign dignitary he accepted it but said it was for 5 years and when clarified by the same foreign dignitary he accepted that fact.
• What happened during the PAT and PTI sit-ins in Islamabad. Was the COAS not requested by the PM to talk to both sides. Again only to be denied later by the PML (N) stalwarts and not a word out of the PM.
• Did the same PML (N) government in Punjab not make public statements for the Taliban to spare the province of Puunjab. Was the operation Zarb-e-Azb not accepted and owned by the PML (N) government as fait accompli.
There are numerous more examples – some old and some more recent. Trust deficit has existed between governments particularly PML (N) and the armed forces. This time too this trust deficit is amply exhibited.
It is the armed forces of Pakistan who have borne the brunt of casualties in the operation. They are the ones who have lost their colleagues, either in death or maimed with injuries, in this operation.
The extension of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in Sindh, Karachi in particular and Sindh in general has yielded positive results. The PML (N) government defended these actions as necessary for elimination of terrorism. Now that the same operation appears to be creeping to their home-base, sudden outbursts from all and sundry are sounded.
The prevailing circumstances justify the issuance of the statement by the ISPR.
The PM’s bigger problem appears to be the public confidence gained by the Army under General Raheel Sharif. This public confidence comes in the way of the PM’s desire to cut down to size the Army. This is causing him frustration and he has his minions to voice his opinions – this too is a matter of convenience for him so that he could back track on it should the situation so demand.
Therein lies the actual problem.
In the context of GB, please recall 2010 Attabad disaster, announcement of a relief package of rupees 100 million, release of the amount by the government of Punjab into the account of disaster relief commissioner Punjab, and its unknown utilization?
SADIQ and AMEEN:Article: 62 Qualifications for membership of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)
(f) he is sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law;
I leave it to the judgment of readers, if they deserve this category of rulers?