Tag Archives: Pakistan Army

BEST DEFENSE OF PAKISTAN LIES IN DEFEATING THE CORRUPT ELECTORAL SYSTEM

DEFENSE DAY OF PAKISTAN

BEST DEFENSE OF PAKISTAN LIES IN DEFEATING THE CORRUPT ELECTORAL SYSTEM10696210_813117245386573_4038857477483599702_n

On the Defense Day of Pakistan we pay tribute to our gallant officers and soldiers who laid down their lives for safety of their motherland. Our Armed Forces have always come up to the expectations of the nation in defending the country, both from external and internal aggressors.

No doubt our Armed Forces and their operational preparedness is vital for our survival and we can’t even think of living like a free nation without them. However the corrupt and inept electoral system of Pakistan is its biggest enemy. A foreign aggressor like India will attack and we will fight back. The battle will be of a fixed duration in which the enemy designs will be thwarted ad we have been dong from 1948 onwards. Similarly fighting the terrorists will also have some specific timelines and we will win at the end as we have done in Swat and S Waziristan. But the biggest enemy, the corrupt electoral system, which is taking our heavy toll for over six decades has yet to be encountered and defeated.

Our biggest and most devastating enemy, the electoral system, has made our nation a slave and subservient to a handful of exploiters, looters and greedy persons who have occupied the country in the name of democracy and constitution. This ruling mafia has dig its claws very deep in our societal fiber and has a very strong nexus with internal and international forces who do not want any positive change in Pakistan. People of Pakistan have awakened to bring this corrupt electoral system down and replace it with a transparent and free one, where people will be able to send their real reps to assemblies. Till that time the battles goes on.

The Defense Day of Pakistan demands an equal struggle against this corrupt electoral system exactly on the same lines as it envisages a strong defense against the external enemies of Pakistan..

Written by  Akhtar Malik on 4 Sept 2015

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Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif Vows to Protect the Honor of Pakistan Army

By Akhtar Malik : 8 Apr 2014

This is neither a threat to democracy nor a forewarning of any impending martial law. But the message given by Army Chief is laud and clear. The democracy is welcome, the judiciary is respectable and a vocal media is desirable but the institution of Army should not be taken for a ride. It has its vitality for defense, integrity and stability of country.

Many people will stretch their imagination to correlate this statement with different scenario. The fact is that it has linkage with Mush case, the dialogue with TTP and discussions on electronic media. Over the past about a decade a campaign has been launched in the country to defame and undermine Pak Army as an institution. This campaign is part of 4th Generation War that has been imposed on Pakistan by its enemies. Some of the TV channels have been purchased by enemies for transmitting poisonous propaganda against Army, Pakistan ideology and Islam.

The govt should take the situation seriously and thwart all the possibilities of a confrontation between civil and military establishment. As I said in an earlier post that the way Mush is being singled out in treason case, has the potentials of creating problems for the govt. Similarly dialogue process with TTP seems to be lopsided and tilted in favor of terrorists. There is no respite in uncalled for critique of Army on electronic media.

There is still time for the govt to rescue the situation before it becomes too late..

Akhtar Malik

Put an End to Family Politics for Better Democracy

By Akhtar Malik

998117_678388438855775_648361871_nPoliticians do not get tired of criticizing Pakistan Army. They should at least emulate the leadership and hierarchy system in vogue in Army. Politicians have turned their parties into ‘Private Limited Companies’ and have made their politics as ‘business empires’. This is against the spirit of democracy and is a big hurdle in smooth development / progression of civilian political paradigm. In all Western democracies there is never a monopoly of one family on a political party. This is the reason why two-party system is successful there and is a symbol of failure in Pakistan..

PAKISTAN FACES 4TH GENERATION WAR ON ITS SOIL

PAKISTAN FACES 4TH GENERATION WAR ON ITS SOIL
By Akhtar Malik. 14 August 2013

Pakistan%20amry%20soldiers%20praying%20at%20siachen%20glaciarThe fateful events of 9/11 placed Pakistan under immense pressure. Though no Pakistani was involved in any act of terror across the globe the whole world was made to believe that Pakistan is the actual source of terrorism. America’s war on terror pushed Pakistan in real terrific situation and has damaged us only next to Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not our war but when Pakistan became an ally of America the whole garbage of war was transferred to Pakistan. Pakistan Army as usual was on the forefront of this war and had bore the major brunt of its consequences. Despite all odds Army has fared well in this war also. Whatever task was given to Army it completed it with professional dexterity and devotion. May it be the cleansing of Swat from the occupation of the Taliban or campaign in South Waziristan to liberate this rugged country from terrorists Army has never disappointed the nation.

The question arises; why after all the Army has always been condemned is still the target of criticism? The Army had already distanced itself clearly from the politics and has suffered the worst kind of attrition while saving the nation from terrorists. But still Army and ISI remain the major scapegoat for all the ills that the nation is facing. Talk of any segment of society- the electronic media, the politicians, the civil society organizations, the NGOs, the human rights organizations, you will find them unanimous in criticizing and condemning Army on one pretext or the other. To find reasons we will have to slightly go back in history.

David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister commented on Pakistan as follows:

“The world Zionist movement should not be neglectful of the dangers of Pakistan to it. And Pakistan now should be its first target, for this ideological State is a threat to our existence. And Pakistan, the whole of it, hates the Jews and loves the Arabs. This lover of Arabs is more dangerous to us than the Arabs themselves. For that matter, it is most essential for the world Zionism that it should now take immediate steps against Pakistan. Whereas the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula are Hindus whose hearts have been full of hatred towards Muslims, therefore India is the most important base for us to work there from against Pakistan. It is essential that we exploit this base and strike and crush Pakistanis, the enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans”.
(David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister Jewish Chronicle, 09 August 1967)

The shocking statement of the founder Prime Minister of Israel has some cardinal points. One, Pakistan is an ideological state. Two, Pakistan is more dangerous for Israel than even the Arabs. Three, the world Zionist movement has been told to take action against Pakistan and four, India will be the base to used by Zionists to crush Pakistan.

The world in general is in the grip of Zionism. The Zionists control the economy, business, finances, media, journalism and even the politic of the world. The ruling political elite of most of the countries is being controlled by Zionists. The war and peace is also made in the world by this organization. So when the Zionist movement is told to fight against and crush Pakistan one can imagine how all the concerned actors across the globe would be operating.

1173849_565866110142425_2077566256_nA strong and stable Pakistan armed with nuclear weapons is just not acceptable by the Zionists. With the help of sole super power, the US, its allies the NATO and even its pawn in the Middle East, the Zionists have launched a well planned, well coordinated and well executed campaign against Pakistan which is called ‘Fourth Generation War’. America attacked Iraq on the pretext of locating and destroying weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which they didn’t possess. Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons and has declared it as such. So America could not possibly attack Pakistan the way they did in Iraq because of the fear of any unexpected reaction from Pakistan. Fourth Generation War was the only effective tool to deal with Pakistan. The sole aim is to neutralize the nuclear assents and render Pakistan as an insignificant country in the region.

Pakistan Faces Fourth Generation War on its Soil

Fourth Generation War is essentially a civilian (non-military) doctrine which is characterized by attack on ideology, culture and social values, small combat actions by non state actors, media and information warfare and psychological operations. In such warfare the media persons and journalists are purchased for propagating a set pattern of information and the target nation is broken into various segments on racial, sectarian and linguistic grounds. The target country is isolated on diplomatic forums and incapacitated in economic fields. The corrupt and compromised journalists, political analysts, media owners, TV anchors, advertising companies, sold out religious scholars / teachers and the fifth columnists form the frontline soldiers in this kind of warfare. The terrorist organizations are created, paid and trained to carry out sabotage activities in the country, the main targets are the military installations, defense and security personnel and intelligence setups, with an aim to demoralize/ incapacitate the fighting machinery of the country. Such war may not see a full fledge operation of conventional forces like army, navy and air force of the attacker but the enemy keeps its combatant forces in ready position for bringing them into action at short notice.

4th generation war started on Pakistani soil when America attacked Afghanistan in 2001 in order to topple the Taliban regime who was allegedly providing safe heavens to Al Qaeda leadership and Osama Ben Laden. It seems that real aim of America was not to eliminate terrorism while it attacked Afghanistan but was to create a foothold from where they could control the politics and economy of the whole region.

Before 9/11 the Taliban were not the enemies of America. Despite of their myopic view about Islam and crude way of governance they never attempted to carry out any terrorist activity against the West. It was a well known fact that after being attacked by American forces the Taliban will spill over to Pakistan territory for taking refuge. The restive tribal areas provided excellent sanctuaries to them both from geographical and social point of view. It was beyond the capability of Pakistan security forces either to stop the infiltration of Taliban or to evict them after they had infused with local population. America’s policy was to entangle Pakistani forces in a fight against Taliban in tribal area which they knew, was a mechanism of total disaster for Pakistan. They also knew that once Pakistan Army got involved in tribal area it will not be possible for them to extricate.

On the Afghan side the situation of war was that despite mustering forces from the whole world under the flag of NATO, America could not subdue the Taliban. Throughout the decade of war the Taliban had been controlling about 40 % of Afghanistan’s territory. They had been levying toll tax on NATO containers, holding press conferences and punishing offenders through ‘Sharia’ courts. The growth of poppy continued unabated right under the nose of NATO forces. The conclusion can be drawn that the US and allies never wanted to eliminate the Taliban. They just put that much effort which was necessary to maintain a semblance of conflict going on in the area. They had other agenda in their minds.

Nurturing of Militant and Terrorist Groups in Pakistan

ttp1When Pakistan Army got fully involved in tribal areas as per their plans, they created Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This group was funded, trained and given intelligence / logistic support by CIA, Mossad and later by Indian RAW. Other banned outfits from Pakistan like Lashkar e Jhangwi (LeJ) also assembled under their umbrella. This was the enemy which was ‘invented’ for us. Our new enemy wore Islamic attire, kept beards, carried flags having ‘Kalima’ on them and shouted slogans of ‘Allah o Akbar’. No doubt our nation was totally confused on this issue. Some consider them enemies and others call them ‘Mujahideen’. The population in tribal areas was the worst hit by this confusion. Not surprising that the nation has paid the price of 40000 lives including 5000 troops.

Pakistan was never allowed to make peace in tribal areas. All its efforts to negotiate with militants were thwarted by America by killing people like Mulla Nazeer. The drone attacks, the CIA /Blackwater operations on Pakistani soil, provision of safe heavens to our terrorists like Mulla Fazlullah, Brahmdakh Bugti, Harbiyar Marri and TTP leadership, all resulted in a planned attrition of our Army.

In Baluchistan BLA has been resuscitated by CIA with the help of Indian RAW and Russian ex KGB agents in 2002 which had gone dormant after the withdrawal of Soviet Union from Afghanistan in 1988. The aim is put pressure on Pakistan Army by involving it in counter insurgency and to weaken the hold of Pakistan government on Baluchistan so that it can be separated from Pakistan at an appropriate time. Baluchistan has some 45 to 55 training camps, with each camp accommodating from 300 to 550 militants. Based on the geographic spread of training camps there is a triangle of extreme instability in Baluchistan with Barkhan, Bibi Nani (Sibi) and Kashmore as three cardinal points. The terrorist leaders like Barahmdagh Bugti and Harbiyar Marri are on self imposed exile where they frequently get in touch with officials of CIA, RAW and get necessary funds / intelligence from them.

In Karachi the instability has been ensured through terrorism. Target killing, ‘Bhatta’ mafia, land grabbing mafia, kidnapping for ransom have been initiated and maintained through militant wings of various political parties who are being provided protection through politicization of police and inept / corrupt judicial system. These elements have now been reinforced by terrorists from banned outfits and underground crime gangs. The aim is to weaken the writ of Pakistan government in Karachi so that it can be separated from rest of Pakistan at an opportune moment.

Achievements of Army in War against Terror

Pakistan Army was plunged into American war on terror by Pervez Musharaf with a total disregard to our own security concerns. It was well known fact that Army was neither trained / equipped nor was prepared to undertake an unconventional war like this. But once Army was put into such a strenuous test it came out victorious. The terrorists had occupied Sawt by 2009 and were threatening to march on to Islamabad. It was sheer brilliance of military leadership and enormous courage of the officers and men of the security forces who turned the tables on our enemies once threatening to occupy Islamabad. No Army of the world can match the achievement of our security forces who in the Malakand / Swat Operation took so short a time to dislodge the militants who were entrenched on the heights in such a vast mountainous terrain and were in effective control of the area for some years.

The Army, whenever launched to undertake operations, has delivered beyond expectations surprising our enemies. The details of Swat operation are not likely to be known because of our apathy to accurately record events and making analytical studies of such operations. The results of this operation are however so obvious that one can confidently assert that no Army of the world today could have achieved such success in such a short time in so vast a mountainous terrain. No helicopter pilot in any other Army of the world could start his day at 4 a.m. and switch off by 11 p.m. ferrying troops to be placed on heights, drawing hostile fire in the process. This was a routine with Pakistan Army’s helicopter pilots during those operations.

Same was true for South Waziristan where Pakistan government had totally lost its writ. The Army not only restored the writ but also started developmental projects which the local population had seen for the first time in their lives. However it is unfortunate that no civilian government has ever been able to enforce its writ though Army had provided enough space for the civilian leadership in Swat, S. Waziristan and other parts of tribal areas. These areas are still under control of the Army and civilian administration is shy of taking responsibility anywhere.

Anti Army Role of Pakistani Media and Journalists

Despite immense sacrifices the Army bashing continues from different quarters. They are still blamed on the TV channels by media personnel, journalists and politicians for interfering in civil affairs ‘from behind the curtains’. They are held responsible for missing persons in Baluchistan and mutilated bodies. Not a single criminal / terrorist who were arrested for attacking GHQ, Mehran Naval Base, Kamra PAF Base has been punished by our judiciary. The irony is that Zain Bugti is caught red handed while transporting illegal lethal weapons and he is set free by the courts, but same courts are quick to order registration of FIR against Army personnel for the ‘murder’ of Nawab Akbar Bugti!

One will be astonished to see that many diverse segments of society are on the same page as far as Army bashing is concerned. People like Asma Jahangir who are known to be so-called ‘liberals’ are on the one side of extreme while TTP is on the other side of the extreme. But both are one and the same as far as hostility towards Pakistan Army is concerned. Asma Jahangir always blames Army and the ISI for missing persons, meddling in politics, hatching conspiracies against democracy etc. TTP along with its auxiliary outfits physically attacks Army and takes ‘revenge’ against America. How funny that a TTP leader is killed in American drone attack and the revenge is taken from Pakistan Army!

Electronic media is on the forefront in terms of Army bashing. Just listen to the talk shows and discussions conducted by anchors and journalists like Hamid Mir, Kamran Shafi and you will find how they spit venom against Army. They are performing their duties very well according to instructions issued by their masters. They will not miss a smallest chance to punch the Army and the ISI. They will ask embarrassing and leading questions from the guests and will only highlight the weak points of the Army. Have you ever heard them appreciating the role of Army in assisting people in natural calamities like floods, earthquakes? Has the Army ever been valued for their policies of non interference in politics for the last five years? So much so, that the coverage of the heroic deeds of our ‘Shaheeds’ and ‘Mujahids’ in the past and recent wars has been drastically cut down on the media. You will hardly find any commemorative programs on Defense Day (6 Sep) in praise of our defense forces. But you have to be very observant and have a keen eye and ears to feel their hatred against Army and Pakistan. The anti Army propaganda is so strong that even some ex Army persons – turned- intellectuals also do not remain behind anyone else to bash and criticize Army.

imagesMedia is an important tool in opinion building and creating awareness but you will hardly find any meaningful discussion on media that would address our security concerns. They will never highlight the colossal increase in Indian defense budget, rather will always be obsessed with even a slight increase in our defense budget. While sitting in front of Pakistani TV channels at times we have a dismal feeling as if we are watching Indian channels instead. Have you seen any TV programs which highlights Two-nation Theory and Ideology of Pakistan, particularly in the month of August? You will mostly find those guest speakers on TV channels who give their logic against the ideology of Pakistan. No one would focus on the need of promoting our ideology which draws its strength from injunctions of Islam. This deficiency was badly felt in the ongoing month of August which is marked by our ‘Youm e Azadi’. It was so obvious to see that no TV anchor wore the insignia of a Pakistani flag on the onset of August as was the practice in previous years. Moreover it was astonishing to learn that not a single national song (milli naghma) has been composed and sung in Pakistan in the last 10 years. Is this the way the ‘living nations’ survive?

The war against Ideology of Pakistan and Army is going on unabated on all fronts. The media persons, journalists and anchor persons have been purchased to propagate anti Pakistan, anti Army and anti Islam concepts. Judiciary has been instructed not to take any action against terrorists and black sheep in media unless ‘concrete proof’ is available, and government of the day has been ‘briefed’ not to take drastic steps against terrorists of TTP, BLA and Karachi gang war. This is the reason why the government has not yet declared BLA as traitors and has refrained from dealing with them accordingly. On diplomatic front the governments have been told not to pursue a policy that goes against the interests of India, America and some Arab countries, may it be at the peril of Pakistan. The government has been stopped from raising any question about TTP and BLA terrorists who are residing in safe heavens in Afghanistan, UK and Europe. In order to further squeeze Pakistan Army, India has been prompted to carry out violations on LoC so that further pressure is put on the Army to stretch its already depleted and meager resources.

International Zionist lobby is active against Pakistan in the light of the statement of Israel’s founding PM that Pakistan must be crushed by using India as a base. So it is not surprising that a close nexus exists between India and Israel. Army bashing in Pakistan must be seen in the backdrop of this scenario.

Akhtar Malik is a freelance writer and can be reached at akhterhayatmalik@yahoo.com

How Pakistan Army has been Abused by Politicians

THE USE AND ABUSE OF ARMY IN PAKISTAN
By Akhtar Malik  –  5 Aug 2013
“If you want to destroy a nation, just deprive them of two assets- their ideology and their armed forces”. Akhtar Malik

Latest-Pakistan-army-SSG-commando-wallpaper-and-pictureIdeology and the armed forces are vital for the survival of any nation. Ideology inspires will to survive and the armed forces thwart any external (and at times internal) aggression against the integrity of nation. Both these facets complement each other and one cannot survive without the other.

Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947 our enemies had been curiously working on the agenda to finish Pakistan. India had never accepted the partitioning of subcontinent and had always worked to dismember Pakistan. Nehru is on the record to have said that newly created state Pakistan will not survive for many years and will soon revert back to its ‘mother land’. The Indian-sponsored movements like Bengali nationalism, Sindhu-desh, Pakhtunistan and Azad Baluchistan were all meant to achieve the same aim.

Apart from attacks on the ideology of Pakistan there have been many lethal assaults on the armed forces of Pakistan, both from inside and outside the country. The analysts around the world had believed that the center of gravity of Pakistan lies in its armed forces, and no substantial gains against Pakistan can be acquired without damaging this prestigious institution of the country.

ZA BHUTTO CAMPAIGN TO HUMILIATE ARMY

The first ever well planned attack to undermine the armed forces of Pakistan was launched not by any foreigner but by one of our own political leaders- Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Being a young minister in the cabinet of President Ayub Khan he knew that he cannot achieve his aim of ruling Pakistan without decimating the Army. In 1964 Bhutto was instrumental in creating situation that led to India- Pakistan war of 1965. Bhutto was sure that Pakistan Army will not be able to endure a war with an enemy which was six times bigger and stronger. However Bhutto was baffled when Pakistan Army successfully beat back Indian attack on international border and emerged as the most respectable institution in the country. India was compelled to sign the Tashkent Declaration with Pakistan. The legendary tales of heroic deeds of armed forces have become the part of our folk songs and literature.

Duly frustrated by the failure of his scheme Bhutto quit the government, formed Pakistan People’s Party and launched a movement against President Ayub Khan. He told the nation that the President had sold the interests of Pakistan to India in Tashkent Declaration and that he will soon reveal the secret behind this deal- a promise which he never fulfilled.

General elections of 1970 gave another opportunity to ZA Bhutto to materialize his dream. The sweeping victory of Sh. Mujeeb ul Rehman from East Pakistan thwarted the ambitions of Bhutto to rule the country. He therefore acted in a very discordant manner by not accepting the mandate of Bengalis and prompted President Gen Yahya Khan to initiate military action against the ‘traitor’ Sh. Mujeeb and his party. The logical result of such action was the Indian military intervention and subsequent dismemberment of East Pakistan on 16 December 1971 and paved the way for Bhutto to rule the remaining part of the country. Pakistan Army was made to surrender in East Pakistan due to none of its fault, and the country was humiliated. The individual gallantry actions of our officers and soldiers who were made to fight a war under worst ever conditions will be written in golden words.

But Bhutto was as satisfied as ever. His body language and behavior would never show any resentment or dismay which a leader should display whose half of the country was lost. ZA Bhutto also took some other initiatives to molest the Army. He violated all the rules of merit and made Gen Ziaul Haq as Army Chief by superseding six general who were senior to him. Bhutto also opened a political cell in Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) thus paving the way for military interference in civilian politics- a practice that cost the nation heavily in times to come.

Bhutto committed rigging in elections 1977 in order to secure his rule. A mass agitation started against him. Bhutto refused to undo his mistakes and behaved in an arrogant manner. There is no doubt that Martial Law of Gen Ziaul Haq was an outcome of Bhutto’s apathy, lack of sensitivity fro people’s feeling and ineptness of his part to resolve crisis at national level. The result was that Pakistani nation had to bear with military rule for 11 years.

MISUSE OF ARMY DURING 1988-99

The period from 1988 to 1999 saw a musical chair play between Ms. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. As and when one party would assume power the opposition would start a campaign to overthrow the government through conspiracies. Both of them used the Army to destabilize the sitting government. A popular stance of the opposition would be to ask Chief of the Army Staff to interfere and play his role as the country was at the brink of destruction. The politicians in opposition would conduct secret meetings with COAS and try to convince him to topple the government. All the four civilian governments were terminated either by the President or by direct intervention of Army. This was a severe blow to democracy due to ineptness of the politicians but at the end whole blame was placed on Army who allegedly did not allow democracy to prosper.

During his 2nd tenure in late 1990’s Nawaz Sharif also committed the same mistake. He made Gen Pervez Musharaf as Army Chief by superseding many senior and more capable generals and thus set the stage for his own downfall. The ‘Kargil Operation’ was the turning point in his relations with Gen Pervez Musharaf and the Army. I am not a supporter of Kargil operation and feel that it was an unnecessary adventure but I am also against any apologetic attitude of Pakistanis once this even had taken place.

THE KARGIL OPERATION AND ARMY BASHING

Our analysts say that Kargil was an uncalled for and unjustified intrusion in India. I ask how many ‘uncalled for’ and ‘unjustified’ intrusions have India launched against Pakistan in the past? Was Indian intrusion in East Pakistan in 1971 justified? Was unilateral occupation of Siachen Glacier by India in 1984 justified? So once Pakistan Army had achieved a tactical advantage in Kargil over its arch enemy, it should be seen in the backdrop of the peculiar relations between the two countries since 1947.

While bashing Pakistan Army on Kargil issue our intellectuals forget to mention factors which led to this event. No one goes into the depth of reasons which forced the whole episode. No one talks of the Indian intentions and placing of Indian 70 Bde in Mashkoh Valley contrary to its usual deployment in Srinagar Valley during winters and our preemptive move. No one highlights the absence of move of our strategic forces which encouraged the Indians to move all assets up and achieve the 15:1 parity. The role of Indian Artillery and Indian Air Force is totally over bloated. It can be gauged from the facts that a total of only 12 individuals sustained injuries on gun positions on the entire front of 400 Km and the IAF could knock out only 16 individuals and some stores through over 1500 sorties. One can have long sessions on this issue, I’ll leave it at that. My heart goes out to all those brave men and officers who roughed it out in those trying conditions. It’s easy to criticize and in hindsight everyone becomes a thinker. We never lost although suffered few casualties in withdrawal. Indians have accepted their casualties as 587 in this Conflict and very heavy losses of equipment and ammo. The Indians were short of 155 mm ammunition and they purchased from South Africa.

As I remember, Kargil area was occupied by India in 1971. This was no violation from Pakistan but a reply at a suitable time. Even if we are convinced that Kargil operation was a mistake this mistake should have been owned by Pakistan and justified at political and diplomatic level. We should have told the world community in 1998 that this ‘violation’ is similar to that committed by India in Siachen. And if India wants us to vacate Kargil they should also vacate Siachen simultaneously. That was not a difficult option. Recall the event when Indian Prime Minister Rajev Gandhi during visit to Pakistan in 1990’s committed with Ms. Benazir Bhutto that India will withdraw from Siachen. But when Rajev went back he telephoned Benazir and regretted his commitment on the plea that his Army Chief was not agreeing to withdraw from Siachen. When Indian PM could give that much weight to his Army Chief why couldn’t our PM? It was a total political and diplomatic failure on the part of our civilian government of that time who could not handle the situation with courage and dexterity.

On assuming power in 1999 Gen Pervez Musharaf visited India. A brief interview was conducted by a female host of ND TV of India with Musharraf where she asked him, ”Do you have any regrets about Kargil, now that you are such a welcome visitor in India?” Gen Musharraf smilingly gave her a very apt reply, ”Do you expect me to ever say that ‘Yes, I regret it’ ? If somebody was to ask Indian Prime Minister ‘Do you regret having divided Pakistan and made Bangla Desh?’, would he say ‘yes, we are very sorry’? How would you expect that I would regret?” Leaving aside all criticism of his policies I like the way Gen Musharaf rebuts such questions of our arch enemy.

THE MUSHARAF RULE AND DEFAMATION OF ARMY

The era of Musharaf rule saw the worst kind of criticism being unleashed against Pak Army and ISI, mostly due to wrong policies of the ruler. During this period the war on terror was brought on our soil which has so far resulted in over 40,000 Pakistanis losing their lives, including 5000 troops. The country suffered heavy financial loss and was set decades beyond in terms of economic development. The war and the loss still go on unabated. Pakistan Army became unsafe on its own soil. Though the fateful events of 9/11 had placed Pervez Musharaf at a sheer disadvantage but we feel that he could still have saved the country from the colossal loss with little better diplomacy and strategy.

DEMOCRATIC ERA AND ARMY BASHING

When Nawaz Sharif was ousted from power, he also became a so-called ‘anti establishment’ leader. During his exile to Saudi Arabia and as an opposition leader after the Elections 2008, Nawaz Sharif always remained at dagger drawn with the Army. He could not distinguish between the armed forces as a state institution and an over ambitious Army Chief, who topples the civilian government and enforces martial law. He equated both of them in one bracket.

After Elections 2008 the dignity and respect of the Army was rescued to certain extent by Gen Kiyani as Army Chief when he disengaged the institution from politics. Though the Army virtually got itself detached from civil affairs but the criticisam against it continued with full force.

The PPP government under Zardari was no exception to this Army-bashing. Though Mr. Zardari apparently maintained good working relationship with Army, mostly with an aim to prolong his stay in power, he was no less an evil as far as damaging this institution is concerned. Whenever he felt that his grip was becoming loose on state affairs due to his inept governance, he would usually divert the attention of the people by saying that ‘There is a conspiracy of pen (judiciary) and bayonet (Army) cooking up against his government”. The notorious Memo-gate Scandal and behavior of Zardari after Abbottabad Operation of the US against Osama bin Laden, are clear indicators as to how the highest functionaries of the state, including the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces have been conspiring to decimate the defensive strength and capability of Pakistan.

The writer can be reached at akhterhayatmalik@yahoo.com

Who Will Become the Next Chief of Army Staff in Pakistan

By: Arshad Sharif, Uploaded: 2nd July 2013

“ISLAMABAD: In the first hundred days of his third stint as the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif has to take an important decision of making three new four star appointments, including  those of the Army Chief, Naval Chief and Chairman Joints Chief of staff Committee.

Holding the additional portfolio of defence minister, PM Nawaz Sharif will also be considering approving a major reshuffle in army top brass in the first week of October as CJCSC, General Khalid Shamim Wyne, and two Corp Commanders, Lt General Khalid Nawaz Khan and Lt General Muhammad Alam Khattak prepare to call farewell to arms.

This will set in a major reshuffle in the top military brass and lead to promotions for the posts of CJCSC and atleast five Corps Commanders before the retirement of General Kayani.
In a couple of detailed background meetings with journalists, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has ruled out taking any more extensions when his six year tenure as Army Chief comes to an end in November this year.

General Kayani is the only COAS who was given an extension of three years by a civilian government five months prior to his retirement in July 2010.
Aides close to PM Sharif believe the decision will be taken on “merit” and “seniority,” giving enough leeway to the government to pick the next COAS from amongst the top generals by considering the two criterions to judge the professional competence of the officer.
Sources in the PM Office say the matter of appointment of service chiefs is highly sensitive and all cards are being kept close to the chest by the PM.

However, discussions have taken place on the issue in close door quarters of the Sharif camp. Considering the way key appointments have been made in the civilian bureaucracy, it is doubtful if the PM has learnt any lessons of preferring loyalty over merit, with loyalty still being the top most priority for the Sharif brothers.

Loyalty was among one of the factors PM Sharif considered when his brother Shahbaz Sharif and trusted lieutenant Chaudhry Nisar advised him to overlook the seniority principle and appoint General Musharraf as the COAS in October 1998. The Sharif family had to pay heavily for the decision just a year later when his hand-picked general staged a coup d’état in October 1999 and put the then Prime Minister in the 16th century Attock Fort.
If the PM adheres merely to the seniority principle in appointing the next Army Chief, there is very little left to guess as to who will be the next Army chief.

If the seniority principle is applied sensu strictu, Lt General Haroon Aslam would be the senior most in October, followed by Lt General Rashid Mehmood.  Technically, any of the Lieutenant Generals could be appointed as the COAS but practically that is not possible.  The decision to appoint the COAS gets complex when seniority, career progression, professional competence, command abilities, general reputation and loyalty factors are considered in picking the next COAS.

Moreover, it might be under consideration if officers who have only five or six months left for retirement should be given three more years as COAS or officers who still have at least a year of service left should be appointed so that a new battle hardened cadre of officers run the affairs of the Army.

To better understand this decision making, following are the brief profiles of at least the top five senior most Lieutenant Generals, with the hope that the PM does not throw another surprise by going beyond the list of top five senior most three star generals in picking his next chief. If he follows such a course, it would set in a number of early retirements even for officers who have a few years of service left as they may not prefer to serve under someone junior to them.

1- Lt General Haroon Aslam: Lt General Haroon Aslam is a commando of the Special Services Group (SSG) of the Army who joined the Azad Kashmir Regiment in 1975 and the SSG in 1981.

Lt Gen Aslam enjoys a good professional reputation in the army. As GOC SSG in 2009, Lt Gen Aslam was amongst the first group of soldiers to land at the highest battle ground of Swat amidst heavy gunfire from militants. Leading from the front, Gen Aslam and his commandos managed to regain control of Taliban strong hold of Peochar in Swat after battles which could serve as lesson in world’s military history in high altitude mountain warfare.
Promoted as a Lt General in April 2010, he commanded the Bahawalpur Corps and was posted as Chief of Logistic Staff (CLS) in January this year.

His appointment CLS raised a few eyebrows in the drawing rooms where the most favouite past time of a few officers is to speculate about promotions and postings. CLS is generally considered to be an unimportant position to be elevated as the COAS, especially for someone who has been enjoying the limelight in all the important positions throughout his career, especially after October 1999.

In October 1999, the then Brigadier Haroon Aslam was serving as Director Military Operations and was part of the earlier meetings and plans to secure the PM House and the President’s House.

Like other officers who were instrumental in implementing the counter-coup, General Musharraf promoted Brigadier Haroon Aslam to the rank of a Major General in January 2005. Major General Aslam served as GOC Quetta and in April 2007 was given the important task of DG Rangers Punjab by Musharraf.  As DG Rangers Punjab, Lt Gen Aslam was instrumental in reaching a number of agreements with his Indian counterparts for release of prisoners and issues related to human and drug smuggling and coordinated patrolling of the international border.

If the decision to make CJSC or COAS is made purely on seniority principle, Lt General Haroon Aslam would top the list after retirement of Lt General Khalid Nawaz Khan and Lt General Muhammad Alam Khattak in first week of October.
However, the final decision will be made by PM Nawaz Sharif who is likely to hold the portfolio of the Defence Minister atleast till high level appointments are made in the defence forces.

Lt General Haroon Aslam is due to retire on 9th April 2014, approximately six months after October when the incumbent CJSC is due to retire.

2- Lieutenant General Rashid Mehmood: As far as promotions are concerned, Lt General Rashid Mehmood has been sharing the glory with Lt General Haroon Aslam on two important occasions, on the same day.

The then Brigadier Rashid Mehmood was serving in the United Nations when General Musharraf decided to promote him as a two star General in January 2005. Lt General Rashid and Lt General Haroon Aslam also shared the glory once again when General Kayani promoted both as three star generals in April 2010. However, similarity between the two top generals, who are being tipped to be the senior most in October for appointment as CJCSC and COAS, ends there.

Lt General Rashid is said to enjoy good reputation with the Sharif family, courtesy the former President Rafiq Tarrar and his stint as Corps Commander Lahore when he interacted with the Sharif brothers in official capacity. Lt General Rashid, who also served as Military Secretary to ousted President Tarrar, was given the strategically important post of Chief of General Staff (CGS) earlier in January.

Belonging to General Kayani’s Baloch Regiment, promotion of Lt General Rashid as CGS is being considered as Army Chief’s choice by the incumbent COAS as many an army chief was promoted from the same post including General Yahya Khan, General Mirza Aslam Beg, General Asif Nawaz and General Jahangir Karamat, to name just a few.

One of the reason given for Lt General Rashid being a hot favorite for the post of COAS is his stint prior to being the CGS as Corps Commander Lahore. The tenure as Corps Commander Lahore helped to create a good impression in the mind of Sharif brothers as junior Sharif frequently interacted with Lt General Rashid in his capacity as Chief Minister.

Prior to this, in the crucial and active phase of the war against terror, the then Major General Rashid Mehmood served as Deputy DG ISI to coordinate intelligence operations while some of his contemporaries were active on the war front and leading the troops from the front.

However, it is said that giving the important portfolio of CGS to Lt General Rashid, General Kayani has stacked the deck of cards favourably for an officer of his own regiment by giving him the prized position of looking after both military operations and military intelligence. In view of this, it is not difficult to guess the institutional recommendation might favor Lt General Rashid.

But it remains to be seen if PM Nawaz Sharif would decide to go by General Kayani’s choice and appoint Lt General Rashid as the COAS or pick his own chief for some other considerations of merit and professional competence other than the seniority principle alone.

Moreover, the PM will also have to consider the political fallout of appointing someone who served as Corps Commander Lahore when the same criticism is being faced in political and bureaucratic appointments.

Also, it is rare that two successive Chiefs are appointed from the same regiment. Till the PM takes the final decision, all the analysts are putting their bets on Lt General Rashid as the next successor to General Kayani or atleast to be the CJCSC. Lt General Rashid would still have five months of service after retirement of General Kayani on November 28, 2013.

3- Lt General Raheel Sharif: Third in the seniority list post October retirements, Lt General Raheel Sharif is younger brother of Nishan-i-Haider Major Shabbir Sharif Shaheed.
Promoted as a Lt General in October 2010, he was first entrusted to command the Gujranwala Corps and later appointed as Inspector General Weapons, Training and Evaluation. As a two star general, he commanded the 11th division in Lahore and was later posted as Commandant Pakistan Military Academy Kakul.

It was a surprise for some when Major General Raheel Sharif was promoted as a three star general as it was thought he had already reached the peak of his career.

However, some sources say, Lt General Raheel Sharif is known to Lt General (retired) Abdul Qadir Baloch, a close confidante of PM Nawaz Sharif.

If the PM consults his cabinet for the suggestions, Lt General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch is said to be favorable to an officer who served under him and is known as a simple career officer.

However, this relationship would not be given much weight when the PM takes the final decision based on considerations of merit, professional competence and dynamism to tackle the challenges of militancy and withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan. He is expected to retire in October 2014.

4- Lt General Tariq Khan: Winner of Sword of Honour in 55 PMA, Lt General Tariq Khan was promoted as a three star general in October 2010. An officer of Armoured Corps, he was serving as Inspector General FC Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before taking over as Mangla Corps Commander. Since his days as a Brigadier, Lt General Tariq Khan has an illustrious track record as a “fighting commander.”

Belonging to Tank in South Waziristan tribal Agency, Lt General Tariq Khan is credited with making significant gains in the war against militants in the restive tribal areas and making FC a fighting force to reckon with. He has tried to remodel the FC into quick reaction force commando units.

Officers and men hold him in high esteem for being with them on the battle fronts and his ability to quickly take decisions.

Anyone visiting the tribal areas and talking to army soldiers hears tales of valor of Lt General Tariq Khan, especially in routing out the militants from Bajaur, South Waziristan, Dir, Mohmand, Swat and Buner.

From 2008 onwards, when 14th Division was moved under his command from Okara to fight militants in Waziristan, the military made significant gains to reclaim the territory lost to militants.

Commanding the FC in the difficult operations to clear militants from Bajaur, Lt General Tariq Khan was found leading the operation from the front lines, standing with young Captains and Majors to clear Loi Sam and other areas in the militant strong hold on Pak-Afghan border.

In South Waziristan, he broke the myth of invincibility of militants and re-established the lost credibility of Army and FC as a fighting force in the area.

Prior to that, Lt General Tariq Khan commanded the First Armoured Division in Multan in 2006-2007 where he was posted following a successful stint as Pakistan’s representative in US Central command in 2004-2005.

Lt General Tariq is the only Pakistani Army officer in addition to General Kayani who was awarded the US Legion of Merit for his outstanding performance in joint Pak-US Operation Enduring Freedom. Prior to that, two Pakistani naval chiefs, Admiral Shahid Karimullah and Admiral Afzal Tahir had also received the prestigious award.

When it comes to pure merit, operational command, battle experience and professional work for uplifting the units, Lt General Tariq may be considered as a powerful choice by PM Nawaz Sharif.

If the PM decides to opt for Lt General Tariq, he would be able to ward of allegations and criticism of giving all important political and bureaucratic posts only to those who have some linkage with Lahore. Moreover, as the US and international forces withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, it would be beneficial to have a COAS who has hands on operational field experience of formulating policies to effectively deal with the menace of militancy and the larger issues involved in Afghanistan’s transition.

5- Lt General Zaheer-ul-Islam: Belonging to a politically well-established Janjua clan of Punjab, Lt General Zaheer-ul-Islam is currently the eyes and ears of the Army chief and the PM in his role as DG ISI. He has already served as Corps Commander Karachi before taking up the current assignment. Before being as Corps Commander Karachi,Lt General Zaheer-ul-Islam had served twice in ISI and also as Chief of Staff in Army’s Strategic Forces Command. Belonging to Punjab Regiment, Lt General Zaheer-ul-Islam would be fifth in the seniority list after the first week of October. It is doubtful if PM Nawaz Sharif would again appoint another ISI Chief as the Army Chief. However, the reports of his organisation may play an important role in helping the PM reach the important decision of appointing the new Army Chief.”

Remembering General Ziaul Haq and His Legacy After 36 Years of His Martial Law

Ziaul Haq
by Muhammad Hanif
 
Muhammad Hanif is the author of “A Case of the Exploding Mangoes” (2008), his first novel (language not always palatable), a satire on the death of Ziaul Haq.
 
 

images“What is the last thing you say to your best general when ordering him into a do-or-die mission? A prayer maybe, if you are religiously inclined. A short lecture, underlining the importance of the mission, if you want to keep it businesslike. Or maybe you’ll wish him good luck accompanied by a clicking of the heels and a final salute.

On the night of 5 July 1977 as Operation Fair Play, meant to topple Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s elected government, was about to commence, then Army Chief General Zia ul Haq took aside his right-hand man and Corps Commander of 10th Corps Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti and whispered to him: “Murshid, marwa na daina.” (Guru, don’t get us killed.)

General Zia was indulging in two of his favourite pastimes: spreading his paranoia amongst those around him and sucking up to a junior officer he needed to do his dirty work. General Zia had a talent for that; he could make his juniors feel as if they were indispensable to the running of this world. And he could make his seniors feel like proper gods, as Bhutto found out to his cost.
General Faiz Ali Chishti’s troops didn’t face any resistance that night; not a single shot was fired, and like all military coups in Pakistan, this was also dubbed a ‘bloodless coup’. There was a lot of bloodshed, though, in the following years—in military-managed dungeons, as pro-democracy students were butchered at Thori gate in interior Sindh, hundreds of shoppers were blown up in Karachi’s Bohri Bazar, in Rawalpindi people didn’t even have to leave their houses to get killed as the Army’s ammunition depot blew up raining missiles on a whole city, and finally at Basti Laal Kamal near Bahawalpur, where a plane exploded killing General Zia and most of the Pakistan Army’s high command. General Faiz Ali Chishti had nothing to do with this, of course. General Zia had managed to force hismurshid into retirement soon after coming to power. Chishti had started to take that term of endearment—murshid—a bit too seriously and dictators can’t stand anyone who thinks of himself as a kingmaker.
Thirty-four years on, Pakistan is a society divided at many levels. There are those who insist on tracing our history to a certain September day in 2001, and there are those who insist that this country came into being the day the first Muslim landed on the Subcontinent. There are laptop jihadis, liberal fascist and fair-weather revolutionaries. There are Balochi freedom fighters up in the mountains and bullet-riddled bodies of young political activists in obscure Baloch towns. And, of course, there are the members of civil society with a permanent glow around their faces from all the candle-light vigils. All these factions may not agree on anything but there is consensus on one point: General Zia’s coup was a bad idea. When was the last time anyone heard Nawaz Sharif or any of Zia’s numerous protégés thump their chest and say, yes, we need another Zia? When did you see a Pakistan military commander who stood on Zia’s grave and vowed to continue his mission?
It might have taken Pakistanis 34 years to reach this consensus but we finally agree that General Zia’s domestic and foreign policies didn’t do us any good. It brought us automatic weapons, heroin and sectarianism; it also made fortunes for those who dealt in these commodities. And it turned Pakistan into an international jihadi tourist resort.
And yet, somehow, without ever publicly owning up to it, the Army has continued Zia’s mission. Successive Army commanders, despite their access to vast libraries and regular strategic reviews, have never actually acknowledged that the multinational, multicultural jihadi project they started during the Zia era was a mistake. Late Dr Eqbal Ahmed, the Pakistani teacher and activist, once said that the Pakistan Army is brilliant at collecting information but its ability to analyse this information is non-existent.
Looking back at the Zia years, the Pakistan Army seems like one of those mythical monsters that chops off its own head but then grows an identical one and continues on the only course it knows.
In 1999, two days after the Pakistan Army embarked on its Kargil misadventure, Lieutenant General Mahmud Ahmed gave a ‘crisp and to the point’ briefing to a group of senior Army and Air Force officers. Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail, who attended the meeting, later wrote that they were told that it was nothing more than a defensive manoeuvre and the Indian Air Force will not get involved at any stage. “Come October, we shall walk into Siachen—to mop up the dead bodies of hundreds of Indians left hungry, out in the cold,” General Mahmud told the meeting. “Perhaps it was the incredulousness of the whole thing that led Air Commodore Abid Rao to famously quip, ‘After this operation, it’s going to be either a Court Martial or Martial Law!’ as we walked out of the briefing room,” Air Commodore Tufail recalled in an essay.
If Rao Abid even contemplated a court martial, he probably lacked leadership qualities because there was only one way out of this mess—a humiliating military defeat, a world-class diplomatic disaster, followed by yet another martial law. The man who should have faced court martial for Kargil appointed himself Pakistan ’s President for the next decade.
General Mahmud went on to command ISI, Rao Abid retired as air vice marshal, both went on to find lucrative work in the Army’s vast welfare empire, and Kargil was forgotten as if it was a game of dare between two juveniles who were now beyond caring about who had actually started the game. Nobody remembers that a lot of blood was shed on this pointless Kargil mission. The battles were fierce and some of the men and officers fought so valiantly that two were awarded Pakistan ’s highest military honour, Nishan-e-Haidar. There were hundreds of others whose names never made it to any awards list, whose families consoled themselves by saying that their loved ones had been martyred while defending our nation’s borders against our enemy. Nobody pointed out the basic fact that there was no enemy on those mountains before some delusional generals decided that they would like to mop up hundreds of Indian soldiers after starving them to death.
The architect of this mission, the daring General Pervez Musharraf, who didn’t bother to consult his colleagues before ordering his soldiers to their slaughter, doesn’t even have the wits to face a sessions court judge in Pakistan, let alone a court martial. The only people he feels comfortable with are his Facebook friends and that too from the safety of his London apartment. During the whole episode, the nation was told that it wasn’t the regular army that was fighting in Kargil; it was the mujahideen. But those who received their loved ones’ flag-draped coffins had sent their sons and brothers to serve in a professional army, not a freelance lashkar.
The Pakistan Army’s biggest folly has been that under Zia it started outsourcing its basic job—soldiering—to these freelance militants. By blurring the line between a professional soldier—who, at least in theory, is always required to obey his officer, who in turn is governed by a set of laws—and a mujahid, who can pick and choose his cause and his commander depending on his mood, the Pakistan Army has caused immense confusion in its own ranks. Our soldiers are taught to shout Allah-o-Akbar when mocking an attack. In real life, they are ambushed by enemies who shout Allah-o-Akbar even louder. Can we blame them if they dither in their response? When the Pakistan Navy’s main aviation base in Karachi , PNS Mehran, was attacked, Navy Chief Admiral Nauman Bashir told us that the attackers were ‘very well trained’. We weren’t sure if he was giving us a lazy excuse or admiring the creation of his institution. When naval officials told journalists that the attackers were ‘as good as our own commandoes,’ were they giving themselves a backhanded compliment?
In the wake of the attacks on PNS Mehran in Karachi, some TV channels have pulled out an old war anthem sung by late Madam Noor Jehan and have started to play it in the backdrop of images of young, hopeful faces of slain officers and men. Written by the legendary teacher and poet Sufi Tabassum, the anthem carries a clear and stark warning: Aiay puttar hatantay nahin wickday, na labhdi phir bazaar kuray (You can’t buy these brave sons from shops, don’t go looking for them in bazaars).
While Sindhis and Balochis have mostly composed songs of rebellion, Punjabi popular culture has often lionised its karnails and jarnails and even an odd dholsipahi. The Pakistan Army, throughout its history, has refused to take advice from politicians as well as thinking professionals from its own ranks. It has never listened to historians and sometimes ignored even the esteemed religious scholars it frequently uses to whip up public sentiments for its dirty wars. But the biggest strategic mistake it has made is that it has not even taken advice from the late Madam Noor Jehan, one of the Army’s most ardent fans in Pakistan ’s history. You can probably ignore Dr Eqbal Ahmed’s advice and survive in this country but you ignore Madam at your own peril.
Since the Pakistan Army’s high command is dominated by Punjabi-speaking generals, it’s difficult to fathom what it is about this advice that they didn’t understand. Any which way you translate it, the message is loud and clear. And lyrical: soldiers are not to be bought and sold like a commodity. “Na awaian takran maar kuray” (That search is futile, like butting your head against a brick wall), Noor Jehan goes on to rhapsodise.
For decades, the Army has not only shopped for these private puttarsin the bazaars, it also set up factories to manufacture them. It raised whole armies of them. When you raise Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish Mohammed, Sipahe Sahaba, Sipahe Mohammed, Lashker Jhangvi, Al- Badar Mujahideen, others encouraged by the thriving market place will go ahead and start outfits like Anjuman Tahuffuze Khatame Nabuwat and Anjuman Tahuffuze Namoos-e-Aiyasha. It’s not just Kashmir and Afghanistan and Chechnya they will want to liberate, they will also go back in time and seek revenge for a perceived slur that may or may not have been cast by someone more than 1,300 years ago in a country far far away.
As if the Army’s sprawling shopping mall of private puttars in Pakistan wasn’t enough, it actively encouraged import and export of these commodities, even branched out into providing rest and recreation facilities for the ones who wanted a break. The outsourcing of Pakistan ’s military strategy has reached a point where mujahids have their own mujahids to do their job, and inevitably at the end of the supply chain are those faceless and poor teenagers with explosives strapped to their torsos regularly marched out to blow up other poor kids.
Two days before the Americans killed Osama bin Laden and took away his bullet-riddled body, General Kiyani addressed Army cadets at Kakul. After declaring a victory of sorts over the militants, he gave our nation a stark choice. And before the nation could even begin to weigh its pros and cons, he went ahead and decided for them: we shall never bargain our honour for prosperity. As things stand, most people in Pakistan have neither honour nor prosperity and will easily settle for their little world not blowing up every day.
The question people really want to ask General Kiyani is that if he and his Army officer colleagues can have both honour and prosperity, why can’t we the people have a tiny bit of both?
The Army and its advocates in the media often worry about Pakistan ’s image, as if we are not suffering from a long-term serious illness but a seasonal bout of acne that just needs better skin care. The Pakistan Army, over the years, has cultivated this image of 180 million people with nuclear devices strapped to their collective body threatening to take the world down with it. We may not be able to take the world down with us; the world might defang us or try to calm us down by appealing to our imagined Sufi side. But the fact remains that Pakistan as a nation is paying the price for our generals’ insistence on acting, in Asma Jahangir’s frank but accurate description, like duffers.
And demanding medals and golf resorts for being such duffers consistently for such a long time.

What people really want to do at this point is put an arm around our military commanders’ shoulders, take them aside and whisper in their ears: “Murshid, marwa na daina.