Saluting wisdom

Published: April 19, 2012

General Kayani’s call for peace and a resolution of all issues is no small matter. PHOTO: ISPR

The comments made by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani after he visited the site of the devastating avalanche at the Gayari sector are a rarity and rather pertinent to the needs and interests of Pakistan. General Kayani needs to be saluted for suggesting that Siachen, with its virtually inhabitable terrain be vacated by troops from both sides and progress towards peace be made with India. Such a proposal, coming from the army chief, is virtually revolutionary in terms of its content. The army has traditionally been regarded as a body dominated by hawks, unwilling to consider friendly ties with India. Against this backdrop, General Kayani’s call for peace and a resolution of all issues is no small matter.

Just as important was his suggestion that the defence budget should be cut and more ought to be spent on development. His acknowledgement that the strength of a country lay in its people indicates a vital change in outlook towards relations with India. For decades people have pointed this out at various forums and spoken at length about the benefits this would reap. The realisation that our nation will progress, not through military might alone, but also through developing the tremendous potential of our people, is a significant one. Many nations have discovered that the will and strength of their people count more than the power of arms. We must capitalise on this notion immediately.

A window of opportunity has been provided by the army chief’s comments. We must now take advantage of the comments made by Kayani. The cooperation of the military in building a system where more resources can be allocated for development and taken away from defence would be invaluable. The power of the army has long been seen as an obstacle to reallocating resources and also to building peace with India. It now seems that an impediment may have been removed and the path for greater institutional cooperation may have been laid. Let us not allow this opportunity to go to waste.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2012.

Reader Comments (18)

  • Abishek
    Apr 20, 2012 - 12:37AM

    the biggest lie is that pak is not even near 2 siachen in fact it is six km away from it …this is the worst kept secret

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  • Adnan Khan
    Apr 20, 2012 - 12:45AM

    Yeah, Pakistan should de-weaponize itself, just when india is wildly clamoring to get it’s hands on military hardware like never before. They probably want to show them off in museums.
    Pakistan should never have been torn out of a greater india, right ?. Boo! @ Two Nation Theory.
    You really ought to have ended this fabulous editorial with “Jai Hind!”. Next time.Recommend

  • sid
    Apr 20, 2012 - 4:10AM

    @ abishek !! my friend cannot stop laughing at your comment. you made my day lol. btw how old are you? my guess would be not more than 5. cheers

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  • kataria
    Apr 20, 2012 - 4:47AM

    Has ET ever been on point with its editorials? The usual leftist hawabazi with hackneyed notions of “peace”. No one has ever claimed that progress is through “military might alone”. Preconceived notions don’t make for a thought-provoking reading.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 20, 2012 - 8:01AM

    In any other country the army chief would have been fired for making foreign policy and political statments. Yet the gen is welcomed as hero in Pakistani media.

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  • Falcon
    Apr 20, 2012 - 8:32AM

    Good article. I think political leadership should use this unprecedented opportunity to negotiate curtailment of defense expenditure before Gen. Kayani’s retirement next year.

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  • harkol
    Apr 20, 2012 - 9:42AM

    It is desirable that both Pakistan and India withdraw troops from Inhospitable conditions, and leave that area alone.

    But, this will need to happen with both parties agreeing on current positions to be frozen fromally, and agreeing not to occupy the area. Considering the chinese are close to that area, this range will need to be patrolled, so an joint patrolling arrangement needs to be worked out as well.

    Unfortunately, the trust levels aren’t what they should be for working out the arrangements. :(

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  • Aslam Hayat
    Apr 20, 2012 - 11:02AM

    General Kayani could very well lead Pakistan back to peace. We all need a stonger and peaceful Pakistan. This is a great moment of realisation.

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  • vasan
    Apr 20, 2012 - 12:22PM

    Yeah !! Some wisdom at the cost of 187 soldiers in Siachen. He has been howling
    1. India is our enemy
    2. Our defense preparation should be based on India’s capabilities and not intention
    3. We will not move armies from the east to the west

    etc etc. Now once his soldiers died, everything has changed. Why couldnt he see things in the right perspective when he took over. What has changed in India for him to change his opinion. India and Indians have been saying we are not enemies of Pakistan but he would not believe. India was never proactive towards Pakistan but reactive to Pak’s mischieves always.
    Now 187 deaths have changed things!! Yeah Recommend him for Nobel Peace Prize.

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  • Apr 20, 2012 - 2:26PM

    This is talking the talk, walking the walk would be for General sahab to stop protecting Hafiz Saeed Ahmad, if that is not a possibility then all of this is meaning less…

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  • Tony Singh
    Apr 20, 2012 - 4:49PM

    Well said General Sahib. Now do it.

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  • Gulzar Kandrani
    Apr 20, 2012 - 8:50PM

    Ipso facto, it is a postive pace towards peace now India needs to step up. Eduction budget needs tobe furthered instead of other sectors.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz
    Apr 21, 2012 - 7:23AM

    @Tony Singh:
    We can’t do it on our own. If we could we would have decades ago. India needs to step forward too.

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  • abhi
    Apr 21, 2012 - 10:18AM

    India will be doomed if it believes mr Kayani’s words. We need to see some action.

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  • S.Murthy
    Apr 21, 2012 - 12:44PM

    I don’t understand why anybody should go ga-ga over the Pakistan General’s statement. It is merely meant to appease the public in general and the bereaved families in particular. The words carry no more importance than the words of a politician. The general is playing to be public gallery!

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  • G. Din
    Apr 21, 2012 - 5:03PM

    @Mustafa Moiz:
    “@Tony Singh:
    We can’t do it on our own. If we could we would have decades ago. India needs to step forward too.”

    India will not disarm to make you feel safe, if that is what you are driving at. Learn to deal with the neighourhood as it is. No one is going to change for your sake just as you are unwilling to change for any others. Make your own policies based on your stature in the world, your resources, both intellectual and material, know your proper place in the comity of nations. Don’t puff yourself up! We have even smaller countries in South Asia. How come you are the only prickly one in the whole world, attracting enemies from all over?Recommend

  • gp65
    Apr 21, 2012 - 10:33PM

    @Falcon: “I think political leadership should use this unprecedented opportunity to negotiate curtailment of defense expenditure before Gen. Kayani’s retirement next year.”

    For such changes to last they have to be institutional and cannot depend on an individual. Even if pliticians negotiate something with Kayani, =what is the guarantee that his successor will not reverse course? Musharraf had almost reached a solution for Kashmir but Kayani when he initially came in took a 180 degree turn reverting to the India is an arch enemy theme and also activating non-state actors that were kept under tight lead by Musharraf.

    But overall I do share your hope that over a period of time, if Pakistani civilian and army leadership step back from their revisionist stance, it will make life better for everyone on this subcontinent.

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  • gp65
    Apr 21, 2012 - 10:39PM

    @Mustafa Moiz: “We can’t do it on our own. If we could we would have decades ago. India needs to step forward too.”

    Bangladesh has a much smaller army than Pakistan, has India attacked it or tried to snatch their land? What about Nepal and Bhutan? Answer is No, no and no. If Pakistan feels that it is better for Pakistani citizens to spend less on arms and more on education, health and internal law and order it should do so. India is not going to change its defence policies just to suit Pakistan. But historically India has not attacked other countries. IF using this fact Pakistan wants to spend less on defense well and good. If it wants to continue to spend highly on arms with the idea that some day it can snatch KAshmir from India, you can continue to dream on.

    One basic set of facts you need to consider is that India’s GDP is 9 times that of Pakistan and tax to GDP ratio is double that of Pakistan. In other words India collects 18 times the tax revenue as Pakistan. Keep that in mind while making a decision about your defence expenditure and foreign policy.

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