Servants, not masters!
May 26, 2011 § 5 Comments
While the wounds of Abbotabad’s ‘imperial insurgency’ were still fresh, a debate was going on in the GHQ. For the first time in the history of Pak Army, the Chief was vociferously questioned by the officials who were briefed by him about the entire operation. Some of them went as far as to suggest resignation for the entire top echelon.
The interesting part, however, is that all the questions thrown to the Army Chief General Kayani revolved around the violation of national sovereignty and about the drone attacks. The officers demanded immediate bans on drone attacks and wished to know how could US violate international regulations and launch an attack on our land. Sadly, not one of the officials asked the chief or seemed concerned about the possible presence of OBL. None even commented about it and the entire gathering, in general, didn’t seem to give a damn about whether or not OBL was here – what they were more worried about was US.
The recent operation has opened a Pandora box of questions about the role of army and ISI in Pakistan. Some analysts have bitterly criticized the competence of our equipment and personnel. Yet others have questioned the possible double-game that has been part of our intelligence’s shady politics. And the allegations of later have always stayed with us, especially during the Musharraf era when the war on terror was launched. It is also being rumored that someone very influential in the current democratic setup tipped US about Musharraf’s insincere raids and false intel. And that, more than anything else, smoothed a way at White house for a regime-change consideration.
Whereas army’s role still remains in question, and its competence further in jeopardy after the post-OBL attacks targeting primarily military facilities, what we need to ask ourselves and our army is: what exactly is its role in policy-making and whether or not that’s the right role. For long, the debate has been side-lined and this time, too, the efforts to do so are underway. Huge billboards could be seen erected in nearly all major cities presenting ‘salam’ to the Pak army. And a number of demonstrations have been done thus far commending its role. But perhaps this once, it would be lot more difficult to thwart the critique.
While those officials in GHQ heatedly debated the future of war against terrorism, they never had the slightest clue that they never really were hired for the purpose. Army’s role, as per the constitution, is to guard our borders and ascertain national security. Policy-making was never legally among its jobs. But for so long have we deviated from these definitions that army now considers it a right to define and devise national policies. And to top it, these are done mostly without taking the political government into confidence.
The first thing that should have happened right after the Abottabad operation was to probe that was our army really playing a double-role. Or whether or not there existed rogue elements in ISI. Although these questions were raised, none of them were given much air-time by the popular media which, as always, was in a frenzy of anti-US propaganda. Although N-league yet again danced to the tune of party politics, one of the very positive proposals from it’s end was to bring all things military within the net of accountability. So far, no progress is seen as to that. GHQ continues to live in the delusion of being the rightful policy-maker, it’s officials so very concerned about changing policies. But it’s high time for army to realize that it is an institution to play the servant, not master. It is being paid heftily out of our budget for the sole cause of protecting us. And for deciding policy affairs, we elect people to a different institution called parliament. Once the generals at GHQ realize this, life would be lot more normal and smooth both for the army and an average Pakistani. It’s for the political government to decide whether we have to go on with the war on terror or continue the shady policies that army is famous for. And the army should concentrate more on it’s actual function and stop worrying about national policies. We have enough of those concerned about us already!