Agony, frustration, and anger of Pakistani journalists is understandable over the promulgation of emergency and than proscription of private channels and the morbid way the things are going in the country. But what is not really in the interest of country, and what is surely not what we would like is to portray our armed forces as some evil and incapable outfit.
Well, the rule and the role of military in the politics cannot be justified at any forum by any excuse. It’s equally unconvincing to believe that we could get a pure democracy in stages from the dictators. Newspaper columnist are right when they lash at President Musharraf and his camarillas over the chain of condemnable measures, especially starting from the first ouster of Chief Justice of Pakistan earlier this year. Late and bloody reactions of government over Lal Masjid issue, North Waziristan and now Maulana Fazl-ulllah have proven catastrophic, and the aftermaths are still hanging heavily on the national horizon.
But Army is an institution. It obeys orders from the generals. You cannot simply blame the whole institution for the cataclysmic measures taken by few power and pelf hungry generals. If the so-called “liberal autocrat”, President Musharraf has pulled the rug under the feet of moderate factions of Pakistan, it doesn’t mean that the whole Army should take the brunt.
Nothing comes from out-of-the-blue for Pakistan Army. If we have managed to have a still intact nuclear and missile capability, it’s due to the vigilant Army. If we have managed to keep our arch and venomous rival India at arm’s length even in the direst times, the credit goes to the Army. If one top general didn’t recognize the internal threats and the domestic insurgencies, than its not Army’s fault. Now they are operating in those areas on orders, and the reason its taking so long is not because the incompetence or lameness of Army, but because Army doesn’t want to shed the blood of their own brethren.
If they are surrendering and if they are at times even suffering from the humiliating attitude from the insurgents in Swat and elsewhere, that is because they still want a peaceful resolution and they don’t want NATO forces in their territory, and in this difficulty situation Army is not only getting blows from the insurgents, but also facing the public wrath due to the subjugation at the national level.
Pakistan Army has got the muscle and it has got enough firepower to wipeout any kind domestic armed insurgency and it has got full capability and heart to thwart any external aggression. Though the repetitive hijacking of elected governments was done by the top men of Army with their kitchen councils, the whole of army got smeared every time. If one urges or argues that Army should standup to the generals than they are not sincere with the country, as it will put the country in real quagmire this would be open treason to the greater cause. Army doesn’t work that way. It’s not really a political party where by intrigue, shenanigans, and force, one could topple the leadership and install another and so on.
The truth is that dictators come and go, while the institution and country remains. Whether it’s Ferdinand Marcos or it’s Zia-ul-haq, dictators would only leave power if forced. Dictators would only reiterate their universal self-belief that if they are removed from the throne, than their respective countries would go to the wolves, and they always make sure that they remain glued to the power, until some external force, masses or nature removes them. In Pakistan, up till now only nature has got that credit.
Pakistanis really don’t want Musharraf to play Moses and lead us to the promised land of democracy, because we know that he couldn’t for eight years, and with the acolytes like Chaudhry Shujaat and his conglomeration of lotas of every color and creed and his yearning and requirement for remaining in power infinitely, for him brining democracy in Pakistan is as impossible as making ice cream in hell. But Pakistanis do want to see their Army invincible and flourishing, and they want to see their proud Army on borders saving the country from the external threats while leaving the domestic and foreign affairs to the elected members through free and fair elections under the supervision of free media and independent judiciary.