The army and its agencies have been playing a political role since 1958, if not before that. It has not even been five years since the last military ruler relinquished power. In the country’s 65 years of history, the army has directly ruled for more than 33 years and indirectly, maybe more. It has been formulating or influencing the making of foreign policies related to certain countries since independence. To expect that the army should now withdraw from the political scene is desirable but not practical. It is rather a wish based on idealism. To compare our army chief with those of other democratic countries is also unrealistic. Comparing the army with other institutions of the state and arguing that they chose the profession of soldiering and that they are being paid for their job may not be a very rational approach, keeping the nature of their task in view. The mere fact that General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s statement kept all media amply focused demonstrates that the army is still considered by all to be a major player in our politics, even if it is undesirable.
When General Kayani took command of the army, about 19 administrative units of Fata and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were completely or partially under the control of Taliban. Now, there are two. The army is fighting the longest war in its history, in which it has lost about 5,000 soldiers and over 800 have been rendered disabled for life. It is a war not owned by many Pakistanis. No previous chief has commanded an army in such difficult times as General Kayani. No army chief has seen beheadings of his soldiers with their sacrifices not recognised by the nation. General Kayani shoulders the difficult task to motivate them, keep them committed to their goals and prevent any division in the rank and files of the army. Since 2008, many in this country have been inviting General Kayani to intervene in political affairs and get rid of this government. However, he has refused and also convinced his corps commanders that they should not do so. He is probably the first chief who has admitted that the army has committed mistakes; all other chiefs have justified army takeovers, citing different reasons. He is trying to change the course and avoid mistakes of the past, and yet no chief during his service was criticised the way General Kayani has been. The army as an institution is being blamed for acts committed by past generals. The perception that the chief is the sole decision-making authority may not be true in all cases. There are nine corps commanders having their own opinions but the chief faces the brunt of the negative onslaught by the media, also with the responsibility of responding and pacifying those under his command.
Why is the army different from other institutions that are ridiculed by the media? Soldiers do not put their lives at stake only for money; there are additional factors which motivate them to fight, such as pride, honour, ghairat, patriotism, belief in a cause, recognition, comradeship and unit cohesion, etc. High morale matters to them. Unit cohesion is the trust between leaders and the led. Creating an impression that the army has good junior officers and soldiers but that senior officers have always let them down is undermining this very basic concept. The army traditionally does not support individuals, be it the ex-army chief, which is why General (retd) Pervez Musharraf is not in the country, for which he may not be very pleased with General Kayani. To blame the institution as a whole for the wrongdoing of some individuals affects the morale of the troops.
The Afghan Taliban captured Kabul in 1996 and Islamists took control of Timbuktu in April 2012. In both cases, their armies had disintegrated. We face serious threat from the Taliban; they want to take over this country through armed jihad. The army is the institution preventing them from fulfilling their evil designs. Do not demoralise the troops by criticising the army as an institution; focus on individual culprits. God forbid, if there is a division in the army, it will lead to anarchy and consequently, no other institution of the state will survive.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ
Army is an instituition which Americans want to destroy with the help of our own public,as it is the center of Gravity of this country. Would like to opine on very few aspects to give the fact against the perception created by our Adverseries. 1. Responsibility of Nuclear controll cannot be given to Political people because once not in Govt tend to give secrets to our enemies.Army is not an individual but institution which is responsible.Even after retirement ex Army people can be called under Army act and very stern action can be taken within a very short time through Court Marshal proceedings. Infact alot of people do not know what strict actions are taken with even Generals in the Army and at times sent home without any benefits /pension. 2. The land for plots to be sold to Army is purchased outside the settled areas. Once developed its value becomes high but all the Charges alongwith development charges is given by Army people. More over criteria and service limits have been fixed and given on merit. Perhaps no corruption is made in development of these lands and completed in very short time which makes it very lucarative. Civ should also try to do on same lines and doevelop lands away from the settlements. I wish some one goes to Wana or Siachen and experience the difficulties which are unimanegible. Leaving away own loved ones behind, to make the other people feel protected seems easy in words but infact very hard practically. Think if your loved one as an Army person has lost his life or got disabled. Please dont support Americans indirectly. Army people have not come from heaven but are humans who can make mistakes. Dont blame Army but u can target the bad individual. 3. Bangla Desh was made because with didnot wanted them to rule,whose fault Army or Political people. Because of this we had to go for a war which Army didnot wanted.So many lives lost and prisioners of War, we should kow who to be blammed. Pak Army Zindabad, Pakistan Paindabad.
@Akhter: Thanks Akhter for your feedback that was most thoughtful and I express my complete gratitude for the same.
@Nadir: you are divided in your opinion,where you want to stand ?????????your 2nd last paragraph referring to which mean.. actually you want to be on both side, a political type statement.
All citizens of Pakistan have a right to make their views known. When will fascist liberals understand that?
Gen Kayani may be facing difficult times, have responsibility to check spread of extremism, etc. O.K. but one is disappointed when sees Jehadi groups roaming around with their hate speeches, being above the law free to brandish lethal arms etc. One doubts commitment of Gen kayani and definitely army as an institution? Reservations of general public are not ill-founded, their criticism never unjustified.
Pak- Army has been conspired to use force against their own people instead of our arch rivals who have not only dismembered our country but still want to control our natural resources. They have deployed armed badmashes on resource points, like kalabagh dam and Balauchistan, to deprive us from its usage. Agents of hindoos, especially media, are fully supporting these handful bandits. Pak-Army should direct its energy towards elimination of these dangers, instead of killing Talibans.
@Manoj Joshi, India: You have brought neighbouring countries into this whole discussion which is completely not relevant. They have neither said anything nor wil they in an issue which is entirely internal to Pakistan. The issue is simply this: 1. Pakistan judiciary is holding certain present and past army leadership accountable 2. Gen Kayani feels Pakistani army leaders - even retired ones- should not be sbject to the law of the land like ordinary Pakistanis in matter such as breach of constitution, corruption etc. One of the examples is that when some retired generals were identified by NAB for investigation, army REHIRED them so that they cannot be investigated by civilians. 3. Many people question why ex-Generals and brigadiers cannot be subject to Supreme court direction when Prime Minister is not exempt. By trying to shield guilty army leadership from accountability, Gen Kayani reduces - not increases the credibility of the army. They are sacrificing reputation of institution to save a few individuals. 4. No one is questioning the patriotism of teh soldiers who are giving their lives for their country.
If you do not want the institution of Army to be tainted by the misdeeds of a few individuals then do not throw the weight of the entire institution behind these individuals - let them be tried openly in the courts of the nation. Distance your institution from them, instead of giving them a warm hug. Do not throw the institution's weight behind Ayub when he takes over illegally, or behind Yahya when he rules us illegally, or behind Zia when he orders you to 'take over' and commit high treason; or behind Musharraf when he commits treason by removing an elected civilian prime minister. See where I am going with this? For the last 60 years Army as an institution has supported all the misdeeds of its individuals. Please smell the coffee, the party had to be over one day and it is now over. Are you trying to scare us by saying that accountability of the generals will split the army into two? If it will mean the end of tyranny for us the 180 million, so be it.
@Manoj Joshi and others
Look at what our Indian friend Manoj Joshi has to say. At least, he has shown much more wisdom and courage than many elitist Pakistanis who post their comments on such forums. Since our country is at the brink of collapse due to multiple socio-economic, security and political factors, we may soon lose our battle against Taliban if we keep humiliating soldiers of our Army. For the time being, we are fighting for the survival of Pakistan and we need to support our soldiers against the barbarians at any cost. As far as criticizing the Army is concerned, we can do this some other more opportune time.
Much of what the writer says is correct. Pak Army has been deeply involved with the country's politics for decades due mainly to the inabiIity of our politicians to take charge of their duties and rule honestly and justly and also due to the ambitions of some of our top generals. So politicians and generals, both of them, are to be blamed in equal measure for Army's unparalleled political influence in the country. If you blame only generals for their involvement in politics and sparing politicians of any blame, you are definitely missing the point.
This is one of the best write up on different type of pressures that the Army Chief has to undergo.If he tells the govt that his rank & file consider this as the worst govt ever, he is intruding into matters of political governance. The Army is performing Internal Security duties in 3 provinces besides FATA. The political set up has failed to take over putting undue strain on the Army. The rampart corruption, lawlessness & open violation of merit by the govt makes the soldiers question his seniors as to what are they fighting for? It is time FSF should be re-raised to take over these IS duties from FC & Rangers. Economicaly we are fast sinking into a quagmire with nothing encouraging in sight.
Why can't the political leadership across the board wake to give meaningful governance to the public
I think ET should pose a question for poll on its website that" Should the media person especially tv anchors are rightly ridiculing the pak army or they are damaging the institution?"
Asad Lala, I am disappointed to read this column of urs. Just a simple fact that individuals make institutions and if individuals make mistakes, institutions get blamed for it since the culture in institution would enable them to do what they do. Gen Kayani might be a good himself but it doesn't let the institution go free from criticism.
@Shahryar: Do policeman, firefigthers, rangers, levies, jawans, NCO's, rescue15 workers etc, not risk their lives? Shoudlnt they be respected and given priveledges? Or are only senior officers the ones who have a monopoly over being beyond criticism?
Kayani's efforts are laudable but we need to come out from this war as early as possible. But the anchor like Hamid Mir and Najam Sethi, Sana Bucha maybe have some personal differences with army and therefore some time they are doing stupid shows and irresponsible behavior is damaging the country. The anchors who are the product of intel agencies now are backfiring. And everyone knows who are the journalists created by intel agencies.
After reading the comments by Pakistanis, I believe that You people deserve to be beheaded and Invaded by TTP. The Country which has no respect for its Army is bound to Perish and Wallah very soon you'll see yourselves under the control of Taliban.
General needs defending??? Starnge
Asad Sahib, i am deadly against Army's role in politics and its past irrational policies, i have sympathy with Gen Kayani like you.
I do agree with you that General Kayani is playing a difficult role these days.
He knows Army made grave mistakes, especially in Afghanistan's case, but he has to move on with his men under command who are being beheaded by the Taliban.
By the way, I like your position in support of Gen Kayani.
Why is that it is difficult for Pak army to accept civilian supremacy and therefore relinquish all the decision making about waging a war or not to the Parliament. Why is that it is difficult for the exarmy personnel to recommend this instead of justifying army's action and seek publicly support from the country for the army even for its omissions and commissions. Why is that it is easy for the pak trolls to come out supporting the army and bashing the civvies. If u dont like the current crop of people, throw them out in the election. You dont go and fall at army's feet or judiciary's doors to throw the civvies out. Army should worry about enemy's strengths and weaknesses, country's strength and weaknesses etc and to take care of the country. It is not their right to judge who crosses the line , what national interest is, what should be the foreign policy etc. They can give inputs but only to the defence minister through proper channels and carry out his instructions. Nothing more, nothing less. This should solve many problems in pakistan./
@ Manoj Joshi, India I thank you for your excellent comment and wish that more of your compatriots had the same maturity. All the other Indian Origin writers have jumped on the bandwagon for bashing Pakistani Generals which i can understand but it is the Vitriol espoused by my compatriots that i find truly disturbing, we as citizens of this country often fail to understand the immense complexity of the modern world, we need to realize that we are a Nuclear armed Islamic state. Just as Mr Douglas Heard (UK Foreign sec) in 1988 said that " it is not in our interest to have a Islamic state within Europe" Hence they allowed the massacre of Muslims in Former Yugoslavia (Now Bosnia) Similarly it is against the interests of the west/India/Israel for a Muslim Nation to have a nuclear weapon hence we have been effectively at war for the past 50 years ever since the idea for Nuclear development was proposed by the great physics Professor Abdus Salaam. It is the Pakistan Army that it at the front line it is THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE and THE LAST!. It is the single objective of all our enemies to create a hatred for the army and hence you see the constant vilification of our khaki uniform. With Regards to the Generals accused of corruption rule of law should apply and we should not be judge and executioner, examine the facts and if need be punishment should be meted out. MY question is WHY all the outrage of these 3? ALL people accused should get the same treatment eg Monas Elahi case Gillani family cases, Zardari Cases, Sharif Cases etc etc ,
Salute you...may allah swt protect you & your family.....Pak Army is the only defender of Pakistan....
Generals ordered to appear before civilian courts is what triggered the statement, not the beheading. As if it was not enough to rehire some generals and save them from appearing in civilian courts, the statement was also issued as warning!
Very good article , not in fashion to support army these days
The approach should be to discuss the issues and neither offend or defend any institutuion. Anybody at the top, whether politics, defence institutions, judiciary or executive, who makes a move based on personal interests should be chastised. A healthy debate is the solution. The 'absolute power leads to absolute corruption' syndrome generally applies to all of humans. Those in a leading capacity should impose self restraint. The people of the country should rise above personal interests and vote after considering the good of the country without bringing in religion.
Its quite apparent that some anchor persons in their talk shows have run down the Army and its agencies as if this institution belongs to an enemy state. These anchors do not hesitate to heap blame on the Army for all whats happening in Baluchistan, while on the other hand they facilitate those on their talk shows who run organizations like BLA. The Army must utilize it ISPR department on proactive basis and do not provide space for those who are bent upon maligning the Army.
The shameful situation is that after committing such a mess of different issues and losing so many wars, also committing acts of corruption they still want cover !!! they cant be tried in civilian courts and they are reinstated in the army to try cases on them!! they are made heads of institutions and when corruption is exposed we get to hear that be patriotic and love the army !! what more can we expect from the article of a retired brigadier?? what abt NLC and NHA scams? most scams cant be uncovered due to the fear of the armed forces...still they take away majority of our budget and we pay their pensions through the civilian budget !! Every country has an army but our army has a country !! dear Armed Forces time to be accountable to the nation now !!! this time around the Supreme Court has exposed them well !!!
The army of Pakistan faces the direct threat from the Taliban who have threatened to retaliate should any military operation be carried out against them by the Pakistan army. The situation no doubt is extremely critical as there is every chance of civilian casualty that will bring an unwarranted ill fame to the army as an institution. The skill of leadership of the Pakistan army is now at test and the real performance and efficiency as well as discipline of the institution is being put through this critical examination which the army has to pass and qualify thus successfully complete their military operation in North Waziristan. Civilian casualties are rather unavoidable in that hostile terrain despite all the care and caution taken. Besides the dichotomy being faced by the Pakistan army is that they are fighting this war on their own land against their own people. This is no way a 'fox land' that they have to capture or fight against. The second most important aspect is the infiltration within the Pakistan army of elements who are either sympathetic to the Taliban or support them in a covert manner because of which in all probability the information with regard to the planned army moves in the area are known to the Taliban who are able to take remedial steps in accordance. The third factor is related to the international pressure on Pakistan from the US and the pressures from within which also are responsible in creating obstacles for the Pakistan army as there is a considerable logistic support that the Pakistan army is getting from the US at this point of time. These factors or aspects are playing the role and making military operations not very easy to conduct within North Waziristan. Although, the Pakistan army should be successful in their operations against the Taliban the cost and loss of man power and economic resources shall be on a rather higher side. The going is not going to be easy and General A Kayani the Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan whose skills as a soldier and as an efficient army chief of Pakistan are at a test wherein he needs to prove himself and his mettle. The integrity of Pakistan is at stake and this is the challenge that Islamic Republic is passing through. The objective of each and every neighbouring country of Pakistan should be to support that nation despite all differences and the outstanding issues can be set aside or shelved be it Kashmir or any other for a strong Pakistan alone can fight religious fundamentalism and terrorism. Critics no doubt may argue that Pakistan is reaping the harvest they have sown in the past which is not wrong but, this is not the appropriate time to unnecessarily rake up such issues. Discretion is essential at this point of time.
All the above Comments with a few exceptions indicate hatred not for the individuals at the top-brass but hatred for the khaki uniform and believe me these people will show their wisdom on how to serve the nation only by making sadistic comments on ET, concerned only about how to grab more allowances and salaries out of their jobs and then move out of the country. I am a graduate in engineering from the best university in Pakistan but rather than continuing my well paid job in the industry, i am joining Pakistan Army, not for the sake of a Plot or an SD House, but to live an honest and honorable life serving my country. It is without a doubt the best institution in the country.
It appears Brig. (Retd) Asad Munir has missed the point entirely.
Actually the average Pakistani has no gripes against our Army.. But yes, we have serious issues with the mentality of our Generals - which is not the same thing at all. After all it is not the jawans or the junior officers who are responsible for the skewed policies which have just about brought Pakistan to its knees with uncontrollable religious chaos, violent bomb exploding and targeted killing mayhem, chronic debt and widespread opobrium among the international community.
Please look into the difference between the Afghan Taliban (whom we supported) and the Pakistani Taliban. The two are distinct entities, and the latter is not directly affiliated with the Afghan Taliban and is focused on waging war against the Pakistani state.
You also seem to be conflating the Afghan Taliban and the Mujahideen groups. The Taliban did not emerge until 1994. The groups we were supporting following the 1979 invasion were the Mujahideen groups.
My heart is bleeding for the poor generals who are selfless and only takeover the govt just to commit high treason. Army has always ruled and plundered the country as an institution not individuals that is why there has not been a counter coup against any general in support of constitutional govt. These public servants who are paid more than any other institution act as a cult and the only reason they are feared is their power against the people. Why is navy and air force not hated by the general public? The army is a political party without consequences while the navy and air force are professional organizations as they are supposed to be.
Almost all nations around the world are proud of their army and owe a debt of gratitude to the soldiers who sacrifice their lives for the sake of safety of the rest.
However, that doesn't give the army a special privilege to flout laws of the country, treat its citizens as 'subjects' and talk down to them. Army is an arm of executive, typically elected by people or of a monarch/Politburo . They carry out the orders, in the best national interest as determined by the executive.
But, in case of Pakistan army has arrogated to itself a power to decide the national interest, to operate freely of executive control, and for half of Pakistan's existence usurp the executive functions through coup.
Such an army would be designated as a rogue army by all measures. So it's leadership deserves most of the blame coming their way. They can't hide behind a sacrificing soldier for the mess they have created.
So very well said.
Every institution can make mistakes but Pakistani army is not an 'any' institution. It is the pride of Pakistan, it keeps Pakistan safe from the hungry wolf next door, and it is an army that has only goals of Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah.
Whatever the critics may say, any Pakistani would be proud to give his life for such a noble institution.
Let us to be rational " all Pakistani" to accpet the army as Political entity as well. Politicians are enjoying and soldiers are dying, politicnas are being glorified by having DOLLARS and Army is being defamed through media, delebirately a negative perception about Pakistan army is being promoted by the current government. It seems, Pakistn has no rational, mature and sincere rulers,then who protects this Nationa, OF COURSE, WE HAVE fully trust in our Army. In 1950s, they were ineligible politicains, biased, pregudiced ,they never accomodated Bengali in their cabinet or in the government. 1950s was a shameful political era in Pakistan and after a long decade 2008-todtae, has been very alarming situation,who did that, .......POLITICIANS only POLITICIANS
Its simple Mr. Munir, do not misinterpret, CJ has convicted Big bosses not patriot soldiers. How long will you distort facts to gain Army's general's sympathies? Can't you be a writer without their support?
The Only Rule for General Kiyani: *Crippling of Pakistani Economy = Crippling of Pakistani Military*
That means: General Kiyani, the real & effective Chief of Pakistan, needs to put his cigarette back to the ashtray and pay attention to what few wise people are saying to him. The masses are now also with wise people.
@observer: Them Why is our army going against Talibans? Why is and premier intelligence institution ISI who rub shoulders with CIA and Mossad failed to nuetralize Talibans through intelligence? Why are our army, navy and airforce are caught unaware when Talibans attack take place? Why have ISI failed to identify the terrorists behind the suicide bombings and other instances of terrorism? And why are calls made to police by the military high ups and intelligence agencies when any 'asset' is arrested?
@SAM: Just because he is a retired brigadier does not mean that what he says makes no sense. And even if the army did help create the Taliban in the 1970's, it was backed by most Pakistanis during that time. So we all hold a collective responsibility for the consequences. However, it is now the same army that is fighting the Taliban now, WITHOUT the backing of the nation. And if there are some people in the army who are funding the Taliban, they are, as Asad Munir said, individual culprits.
Author It is not the criticism that lowers the moral of an institution but the worst tendency of an institution puting legs in two boats.And let me tell that Pakistan army is the pioneer in doing this practice for not once but throughout it's history of sixty five years.Forget about past.Let us talk about present lot.Leg pulling of civilions continues without any interval. Need not to repeat the narative of past four and half years .Pakistan military is established on British pattren but it's mindeset is shifted to that of banana republic armies.It's not that Pakistan army lacks competent soldiers but sadly it lacks competent generals of the stature of Montgomery,churchil,McArther,general Akhtar hussain.No doubt soldiers are giving sacrifices and our heart weep for them but it hurts more when we see these sacrifices go in vain.Generals can really turn the table if they listen to criticism and mould their ways.They have to completly surrendr to civilion if they want to save army as an institution and Pakistan as a state. @Nadir: @gp65: Well said.
If individual wrong doings should not be blamed on institution then why army came to rescue the three NICL scam culprits and reinduct these into service again?
Valid points , but if you play with the pigs in the mud, you must expect to get dirty yourself. Politics is not for the light-skinned, if Army is so concerned about morale and all (thats a big IF), it must not be doing real estate business, doing politics etc Army wants the cake and wants to eat it too ...
If Army is not criticized for its grave mistakes, Army will continue to believe that its the only guardian angel and it can do no wrong. Which will be disastrous for your country, as your CJ mentioned a nations security is not from the no. of tanks and missiles.
1,We face serious threat from the Taliban; they want to take over this country through armed jihad.
2.Do not demoralise the troops by criticising the army as an institution; focus on individual culprits.
Any idea how did 1 come to pass?
Does the responsibility lie with 'Individual Culprits' or is there 'an Institution' that must bear responsibility?
What institutional safeguards have been evolved against 'individual culprits'?
The write is a retired brigadier and has served in senior intelligence positions. UNDER KAYANI? Little wonder he has jumped to his defense. Some of the stuff Mr. Munir writes about is based on facts, the rest is his love for the army and its chief whom he directly served under. Make no mistake people, this is the same army which brought the curse of talibanisation upon us and it is still the same army under Kayani which is not in some manner funding these very taliban.
"Why is the army different from other institutions that are ridiculed by the media? Soldiers do not put their lives at stake only for money; there are additional factors which motivate them to fight, such as pride, honour, ghairat, patriotism, belief in a cause, recognition, comradeship and unit cohesion, etc. High morale matters to them"
No-one is criticizing the soldiers who gallantly sacrifice their lives for their country. The criticism is directed to the army elite who are not putting their lives at any risk. Not just that they have deliberately put the lives of thse very soldiers at risk for their own ego and or greed while falsely giving it the name of national security. The first instance was in 1965 when army leadership under Ayub started an unnecessary war wit India. While it hurt India, it hurt Pakistan more and is now widely recognized to have had significant adverse fallout on Pakistani economy. Army leadership under Yahya Khan then undertook the operation against Bengali citizens of Pakistan in 1971 and as an outocme the country got divided into 2. The amry under Zia then rented its services to the US in Afghan jihad and many army leaders became rich in the process while the country paid a heavy price in terms of drug culture, weoponization etc. Then the army leadership came up with using leftover mujahideens from Afghan wars in Kashmir and once India started retaliating and forced Pakistan to stop such official sponsorship, Pakstan eneded up with TTP problem. Army leadership under Musharraf derailed India Pakistan pece process with Kargill and later rented out bases on Pakistani soil for drones and handed over people to US without trial in lieu of money. General Kayani's own leadership has been far from uneventful with Raymond Davis, Abbotabad, fake memogate issue, Salala, unilateral opening of GLOC after 7 months of posturing all being markers along the way. Each time it was bad decisions by Pakistan army leaders (not soldiers) and it is the leaders who are sought to be held accountable. General Kayani and other leaders should not try to escape accountability by hiding behind the sacrifices of the brave soldiers whose patriotism and sacrifice are beyond question.
Spoken like a true fauji. It is amazing how ingrained the military mindset is. Criticize the army and you are considered against Pakistan. Is the army a pack of cards that mere criticism will unravel its discipline? Yes, the military is fighting one type of Taliban, but this is a mess largely of its own creation. It is not about bad individuals, it is about institutional policy. Whether you are personally corrupt or not, there is institutionalized corruption in the military. Do only 'corrupt' generals accept commercial and residential land at throwaway prices? It is very easy to blame individuals, when what they did was primarily because of the khaki uniform.
We face serious threat from the Taliban; they want to take over this country through armed jihad......Do not demoralise the troops by criticising the army as an institution; focus on individual culprits
Any idea how did this come to pass? Because of 'Individuals' or 'Institutions'?
They are two issues here. One, is the lack of recognition of sacrifices. Videos appear or troops and policeman being beheaded but people rather than back the security forces would rather shift blame on foreign hands and nefarious conspiracies.
The second issue about individuals however is well taken. However, it is the officer corps that believe that they are better than everyone else. The onus is on them to appreciate that the institution is bigger than the individual.
Generals confessing to subverting the constitution, others involved in land grabs and gambling billions away on the stock exchange (NLC), etc, are the ones that invoke sacrifices of the armed forces. These are the people who hide behind the institution. They are the ones who dont think twice before tarnishing the reputation of the Army while defending their own actions.
Why cant these people be separated from the institution and criticised as individuals as you suggest? Because it is GHQ that comes to its rescue. A Lt. if Faislabad was arrested for aerial firing, as a result 6 policeman lost their job. Generals were facing scrutiny before PAC, GHQ brought them back into active service.
It is all good to tell us that we should separate individuals from the institution, but when people in leadership positions in the same institutions use the sacrifices of jawans to blackmail the country, then that is not acceptable. They are doing the Army more damage, than any public criticism could ever do.