By Afzal Tahir
Pakistani politicians have made it a habit to invoke the propaganda of army intervention in every sphere of our lives. This propaganda has two fold purpose. Firstly, to propagate that politicians’ hands are tied and the army does not allow a free hand to them to put their program in to practice. Secondly, to create a smoke screen to hide behind, for their failures in any field of political activities. The net effect that is meant is to create a false impression among the masses that all the ills afflicting Pakistan are because of the army and not the politicians.. The pseudo intellectuals propagate this myth due to ignorance, greed, agenda and in some cases, conviction.
The longest lasting myth has been that Pakistan army considers Afghanistan to be its strategic depth and therefore is against stability in that country. This notion has been given a negative tone whereas strategic depth is not a bad thing to have or aspire for. The short Taliban government was the most peaceful for Pakistan and the destabilization caused by US invasion has been a nightmare for us on many counts. The fruits of a stable Afghanistan will be for all to see when and if US forces withdraw and Indian influence is reduced. Then the true connotations of strategic depth will dawn on our intellectuals.
The army has not or has been unable to thwart most damaging actions of our politicians, actions that have brought the country to the brink of disaster.
The first and foremost among these actions has been the 18th amendment. This act of politicians turned our federation in to a confederation. What has resulted is that the two main political parties divided the country into their personal fiefdoms and that of their cronies (provincial political parties). This amendment allowed the provinces to take international loans against sovereign guarantees. The centre or federation has become a pauper, literally, with the burden of paying for defence, foreign affairs and many other such liabilities. The real trouble will come when loans taken by the provinces (and fritteted away or gobbled up through graft) will become due for repayment and the federation does not have resources to repay these. Provincialism has increased resulting in everyday squabbles between provinces and federation on one matter or the other.
Successive governments have taken international loans by pledging national assets as collateral. A good percentage of these loans has gone in to personal accounts of politicians. Thus we may have a situation whereby our airports, motorways, radio stations, and other similar assets may be taken over by entities that gave us loans against pledge of these assets.
The entire political elite and most of the bureaucracy indulged in every misuse of their respective authority, accrued personal gains of titanic proportions and relegated the masses to subhuman beings through wilful neglect of their needs.
Every institution of the country (except armed forces) was manipulated by the politicians for their personal benefits and purposes. No overseeing institution was left with the capability or will to perform its constitutional responsibility resulting in total loss of state authority over the politicians and their henchmen. Laws were flouted with impunity and self proclaimed immunity.
Entire society was systematically politicised resulting in creation of pressure groups and mafias immune to the writ of the state. Entire state machinery was rendered subservient to local politicians who indulged in every anti social activity turning the country in to a banana republic bereft of law enforcement, dispensation of justice and even recognised human behavioural norms.
Judicial system was rendered incapable of dispensing justice to the poor and down trodden through appointments of politically biased individuals for self serving purposes. Glaring miscarriage of justice became a norm and the entire system turned into a rudderless ship at the mercy of the strongest of waves! the politicians and their henchmen in beaurocracy and lawyer community.
A succession of ill planned and ill executed projects were undertaken resulting in collosal losses to the state.
Solar power project worth billions is only operating at 18% efficiency. Monumental cost hikes in projects like Neelum Jehlum power project and others have happened. State enterprises accrue a yearly loss of hundreds of billions because of mismanagement attributable to political meddling and the list goes on.
If the above be true, and there will not be one sane and sincere individual to deny it, there is a million dollar question! why did the army or khalai makhlooq not interfere to stem the rot? There can be only two reasons, either the alien beings were beneficiaries of the rape of the state or they did not have the muscle and the will to stop it. As for the former, there have been one or two odd examples in the entire armed forces in the entire history of Pakistan. The latter however belies the fabricated and concocted assertions of the politicians.
In the absence of any logical and cogent evidence of the so called interference, a new technique has been adopted. In blaming Ayub Khan, mention of Bhutto as his accomplice is purposefully ommitted. Ayub was all evil hence the credit for establishing ties with China must go to Bhutto but the Tashkent agreement was all garnered by Ayub and his foreign minister had nothing to do with it. Yahya was responsible for the break up of the country in 1971 but Bhutto, Mujib, Indra Ghandi and other politicians had no role to play in that disaster! Zia was a no good dictator and no politician ever stood by him or benefitted from him. The army distributed money for creating IJI but no politician ever touched that money. The armymen involved in that episode must be tried and punished but no politician should face the same consequence because they have denied taking the money. Musharraf must be tried for treason but no politician should be tried for working against the interest of the country.
Comment: Some commentators and ‘analysts’ have made it their life’s mission to link everything to the military. They see ‘Bonapartists’ everywhere and spend most of their time twisting facts to somehow link everything to the military. Luckily these people stand exposed and whatever they say or write is taken with pinch of salt.