Didar Ali Khan
In war, soldiers fight to save lives of their other countrymen. They fight to keep their friends alive. Why they sacrifice their lives, it is to save the lives of others. They are heroes; it is because of heroics, where what is necessary to save lives of other human beings.
In fact, it is the faith and patriotism or the combination of the two that gives soldiers the edge they stay calm under extreme conditions. A soldier performs a duty with a mindset of defending his homeland. This sharpens his passion the degree to which he is able to perform duty, even with little or no sleep.
The men of armed forces are considered as exemplars or heroes. But a decline trend can be seen recently. Many of us believe that soldiers fight for those who order them to fight, and they have dreams because it is usually the lack of job opportunity in their community that motivates them to join military. This moral decline could lead to a loss of cohesion and combat effectiveness in the armed forces with deleterious implications, for national security.
Pakistan is placed within some of the most controversial regional boundaries which share disputes and have many-a-time military tension. Afghanistan to the north-west, Iran to the west, the People Republic of China to the north and India to the east, Pakistan has been a hub of activities of great powers for last 20 years. A few decades back the country has witnessed intervention of the three great powers i.e. British, USSR and USA.
It is my opinion that the geography of Pakistan has been the most consequential factor in shaping our country. Our nation cannot afford to ignore what goes on in our neighboring countries. Even though every nation strives for peace and security of their citizens, conflicts are often times, inevitable. The geopolitical location of Pakistan therefore needs a strong military. The country that domestically feels like their military must be capable of defending the Pakistan-held areas of Kashmir and defending the borders with India and other countries. In order to be able to achieve these objectives simultaneously, Pakistan finds itself in need of creating and maintaining a powerful army.
This is just a perception that Pakistan spent a large amount of budget for the military purpose. As compare to the neighboring country India wish is, in fact, a harsh rival of Pakistan, the budget allocated for a military purpose is far less. Out of the total GDP, the amount spent on the military is only around 3.5% ($ 6.14 billion budget for the army out of a total of $210 billion economy). Whereas, India spent around $36 billion for military purpose.
The country is in war for many years. The increasing number of militant attacks both on military and civilians inside the country, and tension on borders has created significant challenges. This is the time to show our love and support for the armed forces again. These men of honor have proved their mettle in the past and would still do the job well. Our soldiers need our moral support. After all they are doing it for us; they do not have any personal gains attached to this. Moreover, it is good to have deep understanding of ground realities prior to critics. Those who are always arguing about the military budget or military performances should realize that shedding blood for the homeland is not an easy job.
The Writer is a Research Scholar at International Islamic University Islamabad