Military voice

The fact that military found it necessary to issue the comment is important, signalling where ‘real’ authority lies.

Editorial February 22, 2013
Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa.

In a rather unusual statement, the military has denied making any effort to postpone polls or put a technocrat set-up in place. The Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, has said that rumours to this effect in the media are completely inaccurate, and the military has in, fact, consistently supported democracy for the past five years. The possibility of moves afoot to stall elections and instead put a hand-picked set-up in place have been floating for some time, with suggestions made that events in the country have in certain cases been manipulated to fit in with this agenda.

Perhaps we should interpret the ISPR statement as encouraging. After all, our fledgling democratic system needs all the support it can get. But, on the other hand, we need to think what such comments mean and how they fit into the broader national picture. The fact that the military has felt the need to make such a comment acts as a reminder that for many in the country, it is still seen as the real wielder of power; the civilian set-up can operate only when it gives the go-ahead and approval. The ISPR statement, in a way, acts to endorse this way of operating. Just the fact that the military found it necessary to issue the comment is itself important, signalling where ‘real’ authority lies.

We need to think about the nature of our set-up. For our future, it is essential that we work towards altering a situation where the military continues to act as the force which holds actual power, while the civilians work only when it gives the all important nod of support. An elected government should not need to be propped up by any other institution.

This is something we need to work urgently towards. The military has no role in politics. The function of institutions is laid down clearly in our Constitution. It is essential that this document be adhered to by all quarters so that the structure of power can be maintained without ambiguity as to who is actually in command and where orders are issued from.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2013.


Usman | 8 years ago | Reply

A nice editorial distorted by inaccuracies. . Firstly: The idea that 2008 elections were free and fair is ludicrous when more than 45% votes were designated as 'bogus'. Seriously, I wonder sometimes if common sense only visits our editors on an occassional basis because how you can term an election with 45% bogus votes 'free and fair' is beyond me.. . Secondly: The Huqqani Memo case was not about Civilian over Military Supremacy, as the PPP's spin doctors led the nation to believe. I was expecting a better analysis from the editor. It was a clear case of treason and if not, then Haqqani should come back to Pakistan and clear his name. Terming it some sort of Civilian-Judiciary struggle is inexplicable at best. (And I dare not mention Asma Jehangir's role in it otherwise this comment will go to the dustbin). . We should wake up from our military phobia and start realising that we have been living in a democracy for the past 5 years and start to learn to live in it. Corrupt politicians are the biggest threat to democracy at the moment and that needs to be tackled before any rants about the 'remote' possibility of a military takeover. Calm down my fellow civilian bureaucrats, I'm one of you, you're jobs are not threatened by any military take over but by your/our own incompetencies, tendencies for corruption and loyalties which are up for sale. Clean up your act to save your beloved democracy.

gp65 | 8 years ago | Reply

@Rex Minor: " This affair has cost the Nation a lot and tarnishe the image of the military whch is one of the best in their class "

Best in class? How did you come to that conclusion? It repeatedly attacked India , underestimated India's capability and list the wars. In SIachen where it clais India blindsided it, it tried 4 times and failed 4 times to regain Siachen. I Swat it temporarily made 1.5 million people homeless in 2009 and declared victory without actually killing or arresting any TTP leadership which escaped. It lost half the country in 1971. It has created the present mess in Balochistan under army chief Musharraf.

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


Most Read