Honest appraisal

Bajwa made an honest appraisal as he admitted that the ill-will against the military is owing to its role in politics

November 24, 2022

The Army Chief shared his heart with the nation. Days before his superannuation, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in a televised address, regretted that the glorious services of the armed forces are often not seen in the right spirit, and criticised for wrong reasons. Though he welcomed criticism of the institution, he was quite mindful of the expressive and unbecoming language. He had a valid point as, of late, it had become a trend to initiate vilification campaigns, and subsequently drag the army and its leadership unnecessarily to serve vested interests. This is an anathema of national conscience, and must come to an end.

Gen Bajwa, in fact, made an honest appraisal as he admitted that the ill-will against the military is owing to its role in politics. For the last seven decades, for one reason or the other, the army had been seen either as a saviour or an interventionist force. This has done more damage to its institutional reputation than any service. This is why the outgoing General reiterated the resolve taken by the army since February 2022 to stay aloof from politics, and not to become a party in its turbulent course of action. That is its catharsis. He hoped that the army would live up to that commitment, and that is why it has evaded pressure to meddle in political affairs since the no-confidence motion in April 2022. Last but not least, the army chief’s candid advice that political parties should exhibit maturity and stop naming each other with prefixes of ‘selected’ and ‘imported’ had a reason, and was surely meant for consolidating civil supremacy.

The army’s chief belated address to Defence and Martyrs Day ceremony has come at a time when the Prime Minister is set to exercise his prerogative of appointing a new army chief. The ball is now in the civil domain, and decisions taken now onwards — and that too in constitutionally ordained direction — will be a service to public representation. Enough of experiments on the path of personalised obsessions. It’s time to reset the civil order and usher in political stability.


Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2022.

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