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منگل، 13 نومبر، 2012

Psychological war against Pak army






 With the type of army-bashing campaign going on why would a soldier fight the militants in formidable tribal areas, at the peril of their lives to protect an ungrateful nation, they may ask themselves. Though inadvertently, the campaign against general rank officers, to whom the soldiers look up with respect and seek guidance, is in full swing that will take its toll very soon, unless nipped right now.
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The most lethal weapon that can be used to weaken the fighting ability of any army is the psychological warfare machine. Ipso facto, while the war arsenal is spewing fire against the adversary force the psychological war wing plays its own role. This wing’s most effective method is to unleash a campaign to demean the status of commanders of the adversary force before their soldier. This is what the Chief of Army Staff alluded to while addressing officers at GHQ Auditorium, November 5. The Army Chief said: “Equally important is the trust between the leaders and the led in the armed forces. Any effort to create a distinction between the two undermines the very basis of the concept and is not tolerated.” It is believed that a sinister campaign is being run against the generals which not only created doubts about the military leadership but also affected the morale and fighting zest of the troops. 

With the type of army-bashing campaign going on why would a soldier fight the militants in formidable tribal areas, at the peril of their lives to protect an ungrateful nation, they may ask themselves. Though inadvertently, the campaign against general rank officers, to whom the soldiers look up with respect and seek guidance, is in full swing that will take its toll very soon, unless nipped right now.

An impression may have been formed that the strong-worded statement from the COAS was emanated as a riposte to some of the observations made by the Supreme Court in Asghar Khan case about the ISI funding politicians in the past, the boot is on the other foot. As a matter of fact the nitty gritty of the Asghar Khan case has yet to be investigated to come to a consensus that the two former generals, Aslam Beg and Asad Durrani were really guilty of some act that was committed to secure personal gains or they had, trampled national interest. And what about the politicians who were the recipients of the money and played an active role in carrying out plans to manoeuvre elections in favour of a particular political group? The role of the affected political leaders is not mentioned with the same gusto as those of the two generals by the judiciary or the media. The fundamental principle that no one is guilty until proven guilty may not be ignored.

The remarks of Lt General® Javed Ashraf Qazi in response to an unscheduled pricking question of a media man have been blown out of proportion by the media. Besides him the other two generals in the Royal Palm case, Lt General Saeed uz Zaffar and Lt General Butt were hounded by the media as if they were hardened criminals. Thus an absolute biased and wrong picture of the demeanour of the generals is painted before the masses. Let the court decide their case threadbare and if found guilty an appropriate punishment should be awarded.
However, so far as the ground realities are concerned, it has been revealed that the act of the three generals when they were running the affairs of the railway department, is giving more monthly income to the organisation than the entire income accruing from running of trains, today. So why not wait for the verdict of the court?

The alarm bells in the army circles rang not because a case was framed against some retired generals but it was felt by rank and file that an effort was being made to malign the army as an institution for the omissions and commissions of yet-to-be-probed eight generals. History would recall that in the past too government of the day took punitive action against some general rank officers but the cases were treated as individual acts while their parent institutions were never dragged in the murky business. Air Marshal Rahim Khan, Chief of Air Staff, Lt General Sahibzad Gul, Chief of Army Staff were summarily removed from service by Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in the early seventies. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif eased out of service Admiral Mansoor ul Haq, the Naval Chief and Army Chief, General Jahangir Karamat during his tenure as the chief executive of the country. Today the army lists 22 Lt Generals and 148 Major Generals with a total strength of 6,20,000 soldiers on its pay roll. If you work out the percentage of strength of the generals vis a vis the rest of the army, generals form 0.03 per cent while the rest make 99.97 per cent. Would it not be unfair to malign the whole institution just because the cases of eight former generals are in the process of investigation? 

The army fights with the support and backing of the nation. Both in the print and electronic media the way army’s image is maligned is also being seen by troops facing militants in the tribal areas. The soldiers, especially the young leadership is likely to lose enthusiasm in fighting the militants who are otherwise hell bent to seize control of urban areas to enforce their philosophy. The Army is fighting its longest war in its 64 years history. The sensitivities of the soldiers must be honoured by the nation.

It is said judges do not talk, their decisions talk. Here our judiciary has in the recent past passed remarks that are further publicised by the media wherein the armed forces are referred to in very derogatory language. On the Balochistan law and order situation Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry passed a remark that Frontier Corps as a body should be replaced by the police and the expenses incurred on the upkeep of FC be transferred to police. No consideration was given to the difficulties the FC was facing in discharging their duties to contain insurgency and for which they have sacrificed so many personnel. In other cases too the apex court has been passing remarks (not formal judgments) that are quite derogatory to the armed forces as an institution. 

The performance of the Apex court in deciding high profile corruption cases is commendable but that is only the tip of the judicial iceberg in the country. 90 percent of litigants face hardship of an insurmountable magnitude in lower courts but remedy or relief has not been provided to them. Many lawyers have acted unlawfully; there have been cases where sitting judges in court rooms were thrashed, cops entering courts were beaten, legal services to litigants were denied but the higher judiciary never took a suo motu notice of trampling of law by the very community that is assigned the task of protection of law. This situation must have prompted General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani to mention in his GHQ speech that we should all work within the ambit of our given role.
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By Sayed GB Shah Bokhari


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