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EDITORIAL: The time has come for the government as well as the military and legal establishments to take very serious note of the kind of allegations being levelled, and demands being made, as the gloves come off and the toxic confrontation between PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) and PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) dominates public discourse and threatens to contaminate sensitive state institutions.

Just last week PTI chairman Imran Khan went yet another step forward in his unrelenting attack on former army chief General Qamar Bajwa (retd) and asked for his court martial for allegedly distancing the army from the government’s position on the Russia-Ukraine war a year ago.

This was, without a doubt, more firewood for PTI’s raging post-dismissal narrative that resonates so well with its followers rather than an attempt to highlight a policy dispute that Imran Khan should have settled when he was prime minister.

Now Maryam Nawaz — whose party has turned its guns on former ISI head Lt-General Faiz Hameed (retd) as the master architect of the string of arrests, convictions, conspiracies and desertions that “robbed” PML-N of its power and popularity — has demanded that the former spymaster be court martialed to pave the way for Nawaz Sharif’s return to the country and its politics.

Indeed, in a rare development, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed to the press that Hameed and his brother were being investigated for alleged corruption; and that it was up to the army to decide about the court martial.

That’s not all. Maryam went on to cross another line and put the spotlight on the superior judiciary also, categorically blaming its members for partaking in the conspiracy to “remove” Nawaz.

This makes for a very fluid and unprecedented situation not just because the military and judiciary have only rarely been dragged into the public like this, but also because the rumour mill has become a very different thing in the 21st century and supporters of these parties and political activists amplify and twist these allegations on social media, which is splitting society, causing increasing bitterness and undermining constitutional institutions like never before.

First of all, it is important to step back and take an impartial, objective view of the country’s reality. It’s no secret that the military has had a very central role in the running of the state for decades — something that Gen Bajwa (retd) himself admitted — and it ought to be appreciated that we have matured enough as a nation that such things no longer need to be said in hushed voices.

It’s also true that while this interference has hurt the democratic process time and again, it can also not be denied that often enough the army has had to help successive democratic dispensations with important diplomacy, political as well as financial, when elected representatives were not up to the task.

But it’s now becoming clear that this habit of making and breaking governments went a little too far over the last couple of electoral cycles, radically polarising not just politics but society itself. For politicians to ridicule senior military commanders and judges before cheering supporters, and retired generals responding with pointers to selected journalists, makes a mockery out of a very delicate situation just when all organs of the state and its people should be desperately trying to hold the country together.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir seems determined to follow his predecessor’s stated policy of disassociating from politics forever.

Yet for this decoupling to begin properly the establishment will have to take the lead in clearing the air and addressing all the controversy associated with the senior military command, especially the intelligence hierarchy, over the last few years.

After all, when there is so much disinformation swirling around, it is very important for facts to come to the surface also. And that will require a thorough investigation by the most capable institutions.

At the risk of repetition, it cannot be stressed enough that the government, along with the military and legal fraternity, must take this bull by the horns and come clean about the allegations that are all the rage.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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Allegations aside , whosoever is in power, must demonstrate good governance when they have all the powers. Neither of these two parties demonstrated this when in power.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
John Mar 11, 2023 11:55am
The compromised Generals are not serving the national interest by going into the assassination mode! They do not implications for the country! They want to save their skin! But masses will not forgive them!
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A. Tahir Mar 11, 2023 11:57am
Why Generals do not follow the constitution! Why they remain above and beyond rule of law!
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Shiteistan Mar 11, 2023 03:18pm
How long will the Chief Justice of the SC and other judges sit on their back sides and let the judiciary be ridiculed repeatedly. If they do not put a stop to this slandering (right or wrong) then the judiciary deserves to be rubbished and the country can go down the toilet hole.
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Haroon Mar 11, 2023 06:43pm
Forget the allegations. The fact is that politicians cannot seem to work together to do anything. Judiciary and army have to be the bridge between the politicians for a truce or compromise of some kind. If dialogue does not work, then judiciary and army must fully support fair elections no matter who the winner might be. Only way to get out of this hole we have dug.
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m m alam Mar 11, 2023 06:55pm
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bonce richard Mar 12, 2023 03:04am
@A. Tahir, If they are corrupted and criminal generals follow the rules then how do they make money? In the name of Islam and Kashmir, they are looting money since 1947. Now we don't know the army and waste of money for bullish things.
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zh Mar 15, 2023 03:16am
The disassociation of the army from politics under Gen. Munir is based on wishful thinking and not on facts.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply

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