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ہفتہ، 11 جون، 2011

Stop slandering the military

Unfortunately some elements in some political parties, media, commentators, legal community and foreign funded NGOs have launched an incessant campaign to malign the army and bring it into disprepute. The frequency of anti-army statements, write-ups, demostrations and seminars has increased to an astonishing level these days, which speaks volumes about intentions and designs of those behind the curtain.

"Our Armed Forces successfully maintained the writ of the government in different parts of the country, sacrificing precious lives of many Officers and Jawans while fighting terrorism and restoring normalcy and maintaining peace in the country".

By Mohammad Jamil

After 139th Corps Commanders’ conference, a press release has been issued by the ISPR which stated that the commanders dwelt at length on various issues, including broad contours of ‘renegotiated terms of engagement’ with the Americans. By giving details of the US aid received, press release knocked the bottom of pretense by Americans about billions of dollars of aid for the military. The conference also took exception to the slandering by some obstreperous media men stating: “The participants noted with regret that despite briefing the joint session of the Parliament and deferring the ultimate findings to the commission appointed by the government, some quarters, because of their perceptual biases, were trying to deliberately run down the Armed Forces; and the Army in particular.” It cautioned that the campaign against the army would be seen as an attempt to drive a wedge between the military, organs of the state and the nation. The army chief also touched on the impending North Waziristan operation, which the US has been pressuring for, saying he would accept no external pressure on its timing.Though some anchorpersons appreciated the contents of the press release by the ISPR, yet some other defiant journalists and panelists continued their scathing criticism on military. In one of the TV channels during talk show, a commentator from a big media group criticised the press release stating that ‘there was no need to express resolve for supporting the democratic system without any preference to any particular political party’. He should have realised that military has to respond to the allegations and misperceptions tossed around in the media. He along with others also criticised the suggestion for transfer of funds from American aid to the budget to be spent on the people of Pakistan on the grounds that it was interference in civilian matters. They also were of the firm opinion that military should not delve in foreign policy. One of the participants, however, reminded that these were mere suggestions and the decisions have to be taken by the government. It is unfortunate that most anchorpersons and so-called analysts and panelists are inexperienced and hyper. They do not realise that it require best brains to objectively analyze political, economic or defence-related matters. After 2nd May episode, our print and electronic media started onslaught on the military and intelligence agencies of Pakistan. On TV talk shows, anchorpersons and panelists ‘relish’ Pakistan-bashing, military-bashing and agencies-bashing not realising that something sinister is being played around Pakistan. Cyril Almeida, columnist of renowned English daily in Pakistan wrote in his column: “If we didn’t know bin Laden was in Abbottabad, we are a failed state; if we did know, we are a rogue state”. These are almost exactly the words of chief of the CIA Leon Panetta, which shows whose language they speak. An anchorperson of the largest media group had brought a man by the name Junaid in his programme who claimed that some army men were involved in the attack on Mehran naval base in Karachi. The man who had made sensational claims about the PNS Mehran base attack later turned out to be a disparate lover who fabricated the story just to revenge his failure in marrying a sister of an army man. Muhammad Junaid in an interview with Waqt News confessed that he had nothing to do with the Karachi naval base attack. “I am not a witness to it and totally unaware of the facts about it,” he said. One does not understand as to how some media men can stoop so low to inflict harm to the country’s institutions.Today, the nation is confronted with challenges to its internal and external security; and its economy is in dire straits. America is pressuring Pakistan to extend military operation to North Waziristan. Internally, the nation is facing vicious terrorism involving a multiplicity of terrorist forces including foreign proxies and homegrown militants, sectarian fanatics, ethnic firebrands and criminal thugs. To extricate the nation out of this morass, Pakistan needs visionary leaders with creative ideas, which Pakistan does not have. Instead, we have pygmies and dwarfs who are devoid of courage and wisdom. Unfortunately, leaders of both the major parties have an image problem, for one because of general perception, and secondly because of corruption cases filed by them against each other during their tenures in 1990s. The PML-N top leaders have been talking about politics of principles, yet they promoted lotacracy by seeking support of the unification bloc to stay in power in Punjab. They also have been ranting irrational talk about formation of commission to punish those who were responsible for security lapse. They have to understand that after the 9/11 episode, no heads rolled; however their political and military leadership worked out a strategy that helped save America from any disaster during the last 10 years. Some of our political eminences, analysts, and ‘brilliant’ panelists have chosen to malign the armed forces. PML-N leaders are asking for accountability of those responsible for the security lapse vis-à-vis attack on Mehran Naval base or inability to unearth Osama bin Laden. They are not coming out with some concrete suggestions to put in place a strategy that could ward off any possibility of such happening in future. On the other hand, some media men are on self-infliction course perhaps with a view to proving that they are independent. There is a perception that the CIA has bought some of the media men and even wields influence over the owners of a couple of groups. It is true that the government’s procrastination on coming out with the statement after 2nd May episode caused concern to the people, but the fact remains that the government, military and the ISI were taken by surprise.No democrat or anybody in his right sense would support any military dictator. If in the past the politicians, judiciary and people in general supported the dictator, there must be some reason. However, Armed Forces of the country besides performing basic task of defending the motherland have always played a significant role in various other nation-building projects and specially disaster management in the wake of earthquakes and floods. Under the Constitution and law, the services of the Armed Forces can be acquired to act in aid of the civil power and for maintaining law and order situation. And in the exercise of such powers, the Armed Forces in the times of natural calamities played commendable role in the rescue and relief operations, which was always admired, whether it was the devastating earthquake in Kashmir, Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa and Islamabad in the year 2005 or the recent flood catastrophe. Since the civil administration is not geared to fight such calamities, such magnitude of rescue and relief operations could only be undertaken by the organised and disciplined forces. If the Armed Forces would not have responded promptly and effectively to these catastrophes, the destruction in term of precious life and property would have been more severe and painful.
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