Nobody denies the good things that the armed forces do and have been doing since years. However, capturing political and policy making powers isn’t the job for men trained for battle. They tend to do everything in the shortest possible time, and expect results immediately.
Indulging the country in Afghanistan and creation of proxies for guerrilla wars by Zia led to reversal of his policies (Gen. Zia plan) because later commanders realized (very late) that those policies had created Frankenstein’s for Pakistan. Consequently they initiated reverse policies known as Musharraf’s famous U-Turn on one telephone call!
That too proved very devastating for our civil society and armed forces. Musharraf should shown some guts to have bought some time even if he had to be harsh with Richard Armitage (I am ashamed he couldn’t even whimper- presumably) so that research and analysis section could have thought out long term outcomes of available policy choices.
The defence policy of UAE is very impressive. The basic principal is to elevate the country’s profile to the highest levels of civic peace, living standards, infrastructure and human resource development. The driving spirit is that nobody in the world could approve of destroying a paradise of peace and progress howsoever small and politically insignificant it might be.
On the contrary military rulers of Pakistan implemented the soldiers’ vision of a secure state which required turning the country into a den of armed groups and religious outfits of sorts. They did so because they could look at the world only through the lense of defence planning and war prep.
Their policies might have been right for the short term, specially the ones meant for prolonging the personal joyride – which seems to have been the deepest desire of Ayub, Yahya, Zia and Mush. On the other hand the cost the nation paid for their myopia cannot be counted or redeemed in this world at least. The dictators, in their hot pursuit of make believe concoctions, couldn’t foresee anything like the end of cold war, an America controlled by thugs like Bush and his cronies and the rise of China etc. They thought that the world too would remain stuck in an all pervading status quo like the one they imposed on Pakistani people and state. The best thing their military minds could envision was to fortify the country and to multiply their power by inducting civil entities like the Pashtun zealots into militarism and extremist religiosity and to acquire latest weaponry at the cost of public education, health, infrastructure and human development and last but not the least: a national drive for industrialization. The sum total of militaristic policies led to a nation at arms sans education and progress, a society at war with itself, a state feeding fire to its citizenry’s psyche and sensibility. A people degrading into animalism to please God. So when the tide of history turned Pakistan looked like a fort whose denizens are at war amidst themselves and the world was concerned that violence may spill out to elsewhere.
On the contrary other visionary civilian leaders turned their countries into orchards and workshops. India, China, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Iran and Argentina look like orchards and workshops. Everybody respects and loves to look at these orchards and workshops where mankind strives to grow by the day, where their children learn and play in gardens amidst flowers and butterflies.
In the very same world everybody is afraid of Zia’s fort of Islam which they think is going to explode from within due to poverty, hunger, ignorance and lawlessness (except for the cantonments and military/ private housing schemes where life is at par with the best in the world).
This is the story of the achievements of military dictators and their collaborators. Some friends say that the country grew during dictatorships. Graphs and charts are used to emphasize that GDP rose during military regimes. My answer to which is: the ones who controlled our dictators also took care in paying head money promptly because if dictators don’t get hefty stacks of money, they are quicker turned into Yahya and Amir Abdullah by the civilians!
This is scribbled as a light reminder of reality and history for the ones who share militaristic vision of Zaid Hamid and the likes. It is neither meant to malign the officers or men of our armed forces nor to demoralize them, but for the simple objective of educating all and sundry to shed the stupor of arrogance and ignorance and to realize that Pakistanis are human beings like human beings anywhere else in the world. They aren’t lesser creatures who could only be controlled by military dictators. Yes, those pampered and nurtured by dictators need to be controlled by the military.
Ordinary populace when cornered transform into beasts. Even the ill-fed, ill-clothed, ignorant and overly docile Bengalis turned into formidable enemies when the dictators and the military didn’t treat them like their own brothers, sisters and countrymen!
The best for the forces to do now is to shed all conspiracy theories against Pakistan and allow civilian leaders (even if they are pure bastards) do the job of the statecraft. The forces should keep a watch on corruption and wrongdoing. They are doing the same now, which is excellent. In future the military should slowly move out of the political scene and hone defence skills for harder times!
Any further intrusions into the monster creation factory bodes the end of our dreams, hopes, freedom, lives and everything!
Writer: Jack Frost
The writer is the Editor-in-Chief of THE PASHTUN TIMES. He can be reached at
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