Unconstitutional call

Governor Punjab believes that the Army should look into the ongoing crisis in the province, and play its 'due' role

May 06, 2022


Politics is all about the art of the impossible. And, of course, politicians are the best stewards when it comes to navigating a way out in the social milieu. But things go out of hand, and out of proportion, when the civil leadership looks up to the military brass to solicit their input in pure civil-constitutional affairs. That unfortunately has been the tendency in our chequered history, which has hampered the mushrooming of institutions and undermined representative rule. The letter from Governor Punjab Omar Sarfraz Cheema to Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa is another case in point. The federation’s top man in Punjab, a civil supremo as per the constitution, has sought the intervention of the army chief to address a political discord. This is quite unbecoming of civilian rule, and exhibits the berserk point in negation of accommodation

The Governor Punjab believes that the Army should look into the ongoing crisis in the province, and play its “due” role. Let’s leave its interpretation at the discretion of the masses at large! This letter and the humble submission go on to point out how intolerant public representatives have become, and how soon they give up the mantle of threadbare negotiations, and opt for extra-institutional support to address their woes. This is, indeed, a blow to democracy and such incidents go on to set a precedent for military involvement in civilian affairs. No doubt, politics these days is a hard nut to crack in Punjab, and surely constitutional norms and laid-down procedures have not been followed, per se. This is why the judiciary has been proactive in guiding the civilian marshals. This is not a good omen.

The point is that the armed forces want to stay away from politics. They have exhibited their considerate stance during the vote of no-confidence at the Centre recently, and have taken a backseat from their erstwhile role in politics. Let this good convention prevail, and the civilian leadership should muster the courage, confidence and compassion to settle their issues, and that too within the ambit of the constitution. Knocking at the doors of the military could be a point-scoring business, but it is bound to backfire.


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