Fear and loathing for military coups

I do not hate my country’s army, yet I cannot deny the bitter realities.

Azam Khan February 06, 2012
Three unrelated stories reported in the mainstream media recently gave me an emotional high — and a low. The first story was about a decision by a court in the Turkish capital of Ankara to indict and charge the leader of that country’s 1980 coup with crimes against the state. Bravo! This was a high. But a sudden low came with a news piece on a tribunal’s decision in Bangladesh to send 90-year-old Ghulam Azam, the country’s most prominent Islamist leader, to jail, pending trial for war crimes.

The 90-year-old was accused of helping the Pakistan Army in the 1971 debacle. What was shocking was the unrelenting resolve for revenge among the Bengalis, and their hatred for the Pakistani military, a hatred which refuses to die even after the passage of forty years. They were not willing to pardon the 90-year-old man for his alleged association with the killers of their loved ones.

This thought gave me chills as I read a statement by the US State Department official about the ongoing violence in Balochistan. Here again, there are allegations against the military of being involved in human rights abuses.

Reading this made me fearful because I do not hate my country’s army, yet I cannot deny the bitter realities either. I do not want to be hated and I wish the same for my military. But I am worried: what if we are making the same mistakes again? I would despise the day when the people of Balochistan hold me and my army, as Pakistanis, guilty for ‘atrocities’ against them.

Like many other Pakistanis I, too, believe that the army’s honour and respect lies in staying in the barracks and not involving itself in politics or matters of the state. What we need to emulate is what Turkey has done in recent years, with its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, taking the lead, with the full support of the Turkish people, in ensuring the primacy of elected civilian rule. One day, I hope, Pakistan’s prime minister can also say in public that coups are a thing of the past.

Azam Khan The writer is an Islamabad-based journalist and works for The Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


rasheed khan | 12 years ago | Reply dear writer i think you'd go into the full details of debacle of east pakistan, it was not only the army responsible for it, power lust of mr Z A Bhutto n his colleagues depriving the awami league of mujeeb ur rehman from becoming into power despite his party being the majority seat winner in elections. coming over to Balochistan issue it is not army which is depriving the common Balochis away from the basic facilities of life but again sorry to say that tribal n political elites r the biggest factor in keeping the poor illiterate/away from civic facilities so that no one from the poor families could education be able to challenge their supremesy in the tribes. if you go into the details of rehabiliation work done by army u'll come to know that whatever facilities r there r just bcz of army n the those against army r just defaming army bcz the developmental work undertaken by army is bringing the poors in power with them thus endagering their might.
Osama | 12 years ago | Reply Its really easy to blame Military for everything without knowing the truth. One should not analyze the situation with any single Incident. Has anybody seen the lifestyles of sardars in Baluchistan? These culprits have a history of consuming themselves all the funds being given to the province. They keep their people dependent only on them and keep the education away from reaching masses. Most sardars are on pay roll of CIA and RAW making this province destabilized and suitable for foreign intervention ( as probably by now you all know what America and allies are upto against Iran ). Locals don't have any sympathy for the country as they seem deprived of everything not knowing whats actually happening. 'GWADAR' a golden opportunity for the province, is put down by themselves as abductions of engineers is at peek. Its all because the locals are unaware, illiterate, have become puppets of sardars and so on. its really a shame that our media is not playing any positive role in this scenario.
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ