By Maryam Nazir
So this is PMLN’s turn to confront, openly and widely. The ‘big brother’ and ‘brother’ have pooled in all of their support to save the ‘democracy’ – their ultimate survival. Hostilities of MQM and PPP were to obstruct the anti-terror turned anti-corruption operation while PMLN chose silence and being a part simultaneously. PMLN scheme was all to discourage opposition in lowest of voices, turning no stone to figure out things for greater good. So, is the recent crack in narrative, which has brought the real side up – i.e. PMLN too holds a grudge against military.
Civil-military relations are back to square one after the recent corps commander conference. Government’s point of objection: who is military to tell us about ‘matching/complimentary governance’? While military wants ‘honest’ political output against terrorism which is unlikely to come. And obviously, government calling shots against political allies would be a complete suicide.
Seemingly, it is the very first such military conference that has broken the glass and pointed clearly. And what was ‘that’ thing, that made commanders come to this conclusion while the notion was already conveyed to PM a day before. Government’s find it really harsh if their governance is questioned as they are onto orange lines and metro services. These are, no doubt services but not those which could save people from bombs, bullets and demons.
As I see, military demanded nothing but complementing governance in terms of implementation of NAP, proper prosecutions and investigations and FATA reforms. And I don’t see anything very personal to military or its own welfare but all national. How many times, his Excellency, our president had been to FATA? How many of the arrested criminals, terrorists or their supporters have been prosecuted? And last time, I remember, Maulana Abdul Aziz was quite a free citizen of Pakistan, selling his Sharia in the heart of capital.
I certainly believe, military asked for complementing governance as to ensure no loopholes from where a militant could go free. And it is certainly about governance which has to see the legislative, judicial and law enforcing institutions. Don’t we have such policemen and lawyers who consider status of bribe much higher than solving cases or delivering justice? Or aren’t there any witnesses who have died by prioritizing justice and honesty over their lives? So is this that leadership and governance, PMLN and opposition are whining around and about. I wonder, if it is, I wonder… But Mian sahb, roads and infrastructures could easily come down to ashes if bombed with nuts, bolts and splinters just like human beings.
To be frank, this civilian anger isn’t much about a ‘single’ statement but growing military coverage over national issues. Obviously, no executive head would like his ‘appointed’ subordinate, a military head to be much more popular, favorite and active than him and that too with a tormenting past. Besides, it is the military who is running your foreign policy despite the fact that its PM’s additional ministry. And military too has come up with ways to say NO over issues and is also teaching ways to mend ties. Example: COAS recent visit to KSA.
And who likes missing spice in such situations. Theorists are relating the situation to that of 1999, when PM sacked Musharraf. Well, what happened was a natural response from a SSG Commando. Now was not the moment, this concealed anger was to show up… It is just the time, choreographed well.
This is Nawaz third term and he should have learned the lessons. If this military command has ever had the ambitions to take over, it would have happened long time ago. May be, serving national interest for the first time would make Nawaz national hero. May be, PM must stop paying off debts of brothers and big brothers and see, who is his friend or foe. Or maybe, it is the very first and last time, civvies have got a dependable military leadership.
And this political hoopla would backfire as ISPR statement was about need of complimenting leadership. I believe, it is the scared leadership that a suggestion has become a threat. Military is speaking the popular opinion while government is playing defensive, sticking to past. Government is somewhere forgetting that they have named fight against terrorism as ‘national resolve’. And military alone does not constitute the term, ‘national’. And for sense, it is the democratic institutions, which point to improve. For now, it is the PMLN which needs a demeanor to stand by tomorrow, not military.