AGL 5.60 Decreased By ▼ -0.18 (-3.11%)
ANL 8.90 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.23%)
AVN 76.85 Decreased By ▼ -2.07 (-2.62%)
BOP 5.26 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-0.38%)
CNERGY 4.63 Decreased By ▼ -0.07 (-1.49%)
EFERT 81.27 Decreased By ▼ -0.33 (-0.4%)
EPCL 50.08 Decreased By ▼ -0.83 (-1.63%)
FCCL 13.16 Decreased By ▼ -0.22 (-1.64%)
FFL 5.69 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-0.52%)
FLYNG 7.07 Decreased By ▼ -0.08 (-1.12%)
FNEL 4.79 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-0.62%)
GGGL 8.80 Decreased By ▼ -0.10 (-1.12%)
GGL 14.55 Decreased By ▼ -1.33 (-8.38%)
HUMNL 5.69 Decreased By ▼ -0.08 (-1.39%)
KEL 2.63 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-1.13%)
LOTCHEM 28.60 Decreased By ▼ -0.45 (-1.55%)
MLCF 24.49 Decreased By ▼ -0.61 (-2.43%)
OGDC 72.43 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-0.03%)
PAEL 15.36 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.07%)
PIBTL 5.00 Decreased By ▼ -0.05 (-0.99%)
PRL 16.10 Decreased By ▼ -0.19 (-1.17%)
SILK 1.08 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.92%)
TELE 9.14 Decreased By ▼ -0.23 (-2.45%)
TPL 7.23 Decreased By ▼ -0.10 (-1.36%)
TPLP 18.61 Decreased By ▼ -0.34 (-1.79%)
TREET 21.68 Decreased By ▼ -0.32 (-1.45%)
TRG 136.71 Decreased By ▼ -4.44 (-3.15%)
UNITY 16.88 Decreased By ▼ -0.14 (-0.82%)
WAVES 9.86 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.4%)
WTL 1.41 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
BR100 4,225 Decreased By -29.6 (-0.7%)
BR30 15,518 Decreased By -214.7 (-1.36%)
KSE100 42,150 Decreased By -243.4 (-0.57%)
KSE30 15,588 Decreased By -75.7 (-0.48%)
Follow us

EDITORIAL: Surely outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa knew that his farewell speech – surprising in some ways, not so surprising in others – would stir quite a storm, so it can safely be assumed that the so-called establishment is finally ready for the conversation that has already started.

The first thing that stands out about it is the timing of the admission; because the military’s puppeteering in politics was no longer talked about in hushed tones or behind closed doors since Imran Khan was stung by the no-confidence motion and went to town on its refusal to intervene and protect his administration.

Still, for the army chief, who does not have the luxury of personal opinions till he retires and only reflects the institutional view of the force that he commands, to formally accept “unconstitutional” interference in politics for 70 years does break fresh ground. Perhaps the claim that the army had started its own process of “catharsis” enabled this bold strategic shift. Time will tell.

It is interesting that he also brought up the fall of Dhaka, a topic most people and institutions tend to avoid, because PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) has started playing this card as well of late. It’s true that the lack of a progressive debate has left some important facts shrouded in mystery, and he may well be justified in calling it “not a military but a political failure”.

Yet it needs to be reminded that the political administration of the time was in fact a military dispensation, and the commander-in-chief of the army was also the chief executive of the country.

Such things can never be seen only in black and white and the political establishment of the western wing also played its part, no doubt, but a frank and important admission that leaves out the most crucial points will only leave people with more questions than answers.

Going forward, how strictly and sincerely the army sticks to its promise of non-interference will depend on how quickly and transparently it can address a few valid concerns. What, for example, prompted this shift, why in February 2022, and how far will it withdraw from mainstream politics? It has a very clear, and perhaps necessary, footprint in foreign affairs, security and sometimes even economic policies – which, all things considered, is often but not always undesirable – so how different can we expect the future to be? There have been plenty of times when the military had to step in, not to make or break governments but to facilitate loans and deals which successive political administrations were unable to secure, and there’s still no word on how this particular knot will be untied.

Much will depend on the politicians also. A lot of what Gen Bajwa said can be debated, even questioned, but the one point where he clearly hit the nail on the head was the lack of tolerance among rival politicians and political parties, and their inherent weakness, which allows breaching of institutional boundaries.

Their toxic hatred for each other is on display now like never before, as labels of “selected” and “imported” have degenerated into unfounded accusations and downright undignified exchanges that have polarised society. For Pakistan to finally transition into a mature democracy, the political elite must not only welcome the army’s newfound restraint, they must also facilitate this transition to its logical destination and to be able to do that it is imperative that they get their own act together very quickly. But if they continue to bicker even as the political uncertainty threatens to push the economy over the edge, then they will have themselves, more than the establishment, to blame for what follows.

The proof of the pudding lies in the eating, so the coming months and years will show if the army has indeed learned from its mistakes, and if the politicians are willing to learn from theirs. But first there will be more questions, of course, so there must also be more candid answers. Otherwise the “catharsis”, and the process it is meant to initiate, will remain incomplete.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

Comments

Comments are closed.

MalikSaabSays Nov 25, 2022 08:40am
If our boys can just root out the elements in their rank & file who use state resources to facilitate meetings or threat, intimidate and physically abuse citizens/politicians, that much is enough.
thumb_up Recommended (0)
Usman Nov 25, 2022 10:24am
Well written article. Hopefully such deep thinking will be done by political and military leadership.
thumb_up Recommended (0)
KUKhan Nov 25, 2022 01:54pm
Truth, honesty, and justice have never been the strong points in our current affairs or past. Not interfering in politics means that the lambs will be at the mercy of wolves. Meanwhile, the economy and fortune are still favoring the select few, while the people suffer their fate as is depicted in history.
thumb_up Recommended (0)

‘Interference’, ‘catharsis’, and way forward

PTI to quit Punjab, KP assemblies this month: Imran Khan

US condemns attack on Pakistani embassy in Kabul, calls for probe

Moonis’ claims on Gen Bajwa raises doubts on institution’s apolitical narrative: Sanaullah

Dutch masters into World Cup quarter-finals as USA downed

OPEC+ will keep oil policy unchanged in review talks: sources

PTI quitting provincial assemblies will be humiliating for its voters: Saad Rafiq

Russia: price cap is ‘dangerous’ and will not curb demand for our oil

Pakistan calls on interim Afghan govt to up security at Kabul embassy after attack

US unveils high-tech B-21 stealth bomber

England in charge in Rawalpindi despite Babar hundred