Army Chief General Raheel Sharif’s words of saving the honour and dignity of Army at all costs before his constituency at the SSG Centre, Tarbela, should not be deciphered as synonymous to convey the message loud and clear to critics implying ‘enough is enough’ and they should behave failing which they will be themselves responsible for the consequences that may follow to their dismay.
All sorts of ill-conceived predictions and unpalatable prognosis have been continuing unabatedly since then. It is certainly not so, because the army chief uttered the words before his constituency to boost the morale of his men in uniform, which was his profound duty and professional requirement to keep the fighting force at the level of high preparedness. Jumping into the outlandish conclusions is like making a mountain out of the molehill because the army chief could have easily sorted out such issues, if these were there, in the meetings which he held with the prime minister in quick succession. The politicians and commentators should understand that the Army Chief General should be seen as the army chief in form and moving while keeping his fighting force as well-oiled machine, ready to defend the country from the threats within and without.
We are hurtfully prone to reading too much between the lines, but this trait of ours is not misplaced as the people of Pakistan had been hoodwinked mercilessly in the past by civil, military and political elite, alike with impunity, and the trust-deficit resultantly had proliferated to the whooping proportion in their thinking about the day-to-day affairs of life.
The explanations and insinuations being discussed about army chief’s unwavering commitment to the institution do not seem plausible because the country’s transition does not favour the men on horseback to embark upon a misadventure in the political domain of the country like in the past. The immediate question that agitates the mind of the readers will be as why? The fundamental difference is total lack of appetite among the people for the dictatorship because the people have come to the conclusion the hard way that national woes inflicted on the country were due to the successive dictatorial rules. The loss of the East Wing, Siachen, thousands square miles of territory during 1971 war, Kargil debacle, Waziristan to TTP and last but not the least the scourge of extremism and terrorism, all were bequeathed to the nation by the dictators. It is also true that no war broke out during the civilian rules as all wars were fought during the tenures of military rules causing irreparable losses to the nation.
A handsome tribute to the civilians as not an inch of the country’s territory was ever occupied by enemy country during the civilian rules. On the contrary, Gwadar was added in the federation during the premiership of Feroze Khan Noon. So, the zest for military rule is not there and those crooks and opportunists who used to make hay have been reduced to the used cartridge.
Their ganging up now holds no promise for their perfidious designs. Dr Tahir –ul- Qadri has emerged from the humiliation to launch protest again on May 11, 2014 against the elections held last year.
Others who are beholden to General Musharraf find this time as a window of opportunity for good days but their hope will remain forlorn. Pakistan People’s Party leadership’s unequivocal support for democracy has taken out the wind out of the sails of the pawns of General Musharraf.
The emergence of independent Judiciary, free media, assertive civil society and non-acceptance of dictatorship at the international level are powerful enough developments to mute the intentions of usurpers to take the plunge. The trial of General Musharraf will nudge the ‘potential saviours’ to undertake cost-benefit analysis in corrective perspective. That notion of impunity and fearing no consequences is no more valid as the Article 6 of the Constitution stands guard to melt away the obsession of taking the reign of the country in the middle of the night. The judiciary is so powerful and independent enough to send the serving prime minister packing.
The trial of former dictator will establish the supremacy of the Constitution. The reach of media in every household is another major development that cannot allow the tenability of dictatorship in the country no matter how benevolent it may look. The civil society as a whole is not inclined to accept the rule of Generals or one institution. All the unfortunate occurrences have now become the baggage of history and their perpetrators have been thrown in the dustbin of history.
That is the justice of history which is both inevitable and unforgiving.
However, it is not wise to show red rag and instead keep on treading on the trajectory of survival and progress and should not be bogged down in the complexities of micro-management. The ministers of the government should not overact and follow the policy of reconciliation that enabled the PPP previous democratic government to complete the constitutional tenure despite the fact it was leading a coalition government. Reinventing the history is an ideal approach while repeating the history is synonymous to naivety, civilian elected government and Army in unison is the winning combination.
Whenever, Army oversized its role in politics to the exclusion of the people’s elected representatives, national debacles followed. History bears it out without contradiction.