Saturday, July 19, 2014

Operation Zarb-E-Azb or a call for new dictator.....

These few words are penned down based on Raja G Mujtaba's article 'Zarb-e-Azb: A National Aspiration' available at his blog Opinion Maker ( Raja sahab is an ex-Army officer, thinker, true Pakistani, and avid Social Media user. Beside there are points raised in his article, which requiring factual perspective to be in place, so my comments are presented for each of his points need attention.

Off all the topics in Pakistani media, civil-military relationship is always of an interesting & thrilling nature as it sound of military boots are being heard, shaking civil government, and putting entire administration on halt under the shades of doubts & chaos; 'what will happen now.' Civil governments, since 1958, are always under such threats because they were toppled by military dictators leaving behind 34 years of military rule out of total independent years of 65. This is almost above 50% of time consumed under dictatorial rule in an independent Pakistan. From within this context whenever there's a voice raised to bring back Pakistan Armed Forces within the frame work of running the country's civil administration, there's always eye-brows raised. Currently Armed Forces are conducting a military operation; Zarb-e-Azb,  operation clean up against terrorists who had captured Pakistan tribal areas especially North Waziristan belt. Echoes of success of operation are heard unilaterally, stories of individual soldiers embracing martyrs are published or tele-caste daily, and recovery of large cache of weapons & Indian currency is being presented to entire nation. Within that success, few question would arise automatically. Here they are in the form of my words.

Raja Mujtaba writes, "Pre 9/11 the terrorist activities were not politically motivated but were funded by foreign powers so that Pakistan would be internally weakened enough to give up its support and demand for Kashmir and would not extend any support to Afghan Mujahideen who were fighting Soviet Union in Afghanistan. But at that time the terrorist activities were not so frequent or destructive as compared to the one being carried out currently."

Pre 9/11, especially in 1979, Pakistan was under military rule. At that juncture, the then COAS Gen Zia ul Haq had decided to adopt a unique foreign policy; supporting Afghan Mujahdeen against ever-invading USSR.  Later this was sold to American administration and CIA to counter Communism that was suppose to advance to hot waters of Middle East. Regardless of success of this Jihad, after the death of Gen Zia, 1989 was a land mark year when Soviet administration decided to withdraw their forces unilaterally giving an opportunity to deal others without a major stake holder or leaving around Mujaheed to settle the score with each other. This whole episode was funded by foreign powers, with an interest to counter USSR or settle score of Vietnam in Afghanistan. If for any reason this had weaken Kashmir cause then definitely need to identify as who would be held responsible for this misadventure; Gen Zia, a military ruler, civilians, or USSR or other foreign powers!

He writes, "The hallmark of 9/11 has shaped up a different world. The US made Pakistan to succumb to its pressure and support her invading forces to dismantle Taliban government who for all known reasons had not yielded to the US pressure in granting them the oil pipeline contract to ONCOL instead were inclined towards Argentina who had offered much lower prices for the same project."

Indeed, the hallmark of 9/11 has shaped up a new world but it wasn't US who made Pakistan to succumb to its pressure. To an extent of surprise to US authorities, the 'brave commando,' General (R) Musharraf surrendered not only himself but entire nation in front of US administration & President George W Bush well beyond the expectation of Gen (R) Collen Powel, the then Secretary of State & his assistant Richard Armitage. Since then, be it Mullah Abdus Salam Zaeef, ambassador of Afghanistan or Dr Afia, an educated girl from Karachi, many were sold to US for mere dollars in the name of 'Pakistan First' slogan. Unfortunately, wherever there's a major event in world, Pakistan was ruled by military dictatorship and decisions were made without the will of people of Pakistan.

Raja Mujtaba writes, "Moreover, the reality of United States was fully exposed when Raymond Davis surfaced and killed two Pakistani citizens in Lahore. Incidentally Raymond’s release was also brokered by Mian Nawaz Sharif against the popular sentiments of the people of Pakistan."

Though I am not supporter of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) group, but I can not control smile over Nawaz Sharif involvement in freeing US agent Raymond Davis. As entire world knows except our Army fans & friends, as who was extra ordinary instrumental in releasing Raymond Davis. Was it Mian Nawaz Sharif or the then DG ISI General (R) Shuja Pasha who initially worked with Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan Ambassador to US, to broker deal under Qisas & Deyat Shariah ruling and then remained there in Lahore Session Court until release orders of Raymond were not typed & executed but he continued sending short messages (SMS) to US Ambassador, Cameron Munter,  from Court room, about case progress until ISI folks took Raymond to Airport for his safe departure to US base in Afghanistan. I am surprised as how our intellect intelligentsia distort facts to help build 'patriotic' image of armed forces or downgrade political image of a weak civilian government.

He further writes, "During the election campaigns, both PML-N and PTI were supportive of dialogue with the terrorists (TTP). It may be deemed as the reason that PML-N rallies or candidates were never attacked during the election campaigns though PTI suffered a couple of hits; however it maybe because they wanted Imran Khan to firm up his support for them."

There may be some meat in these stories about PMLN but I seriously doubt that PTI political rallies were ever struck by TTP terrorists, for reasons known to entire nation, because PTI head is 'sarcastically' termed as Taliban Khan showing his extra support for Taliban leaders.

He added, "It was for the first time that the whole nation rejected the options for negotiation with these terrorists and they raised their voice at every forum in favour of an operation. "

Nation has never rejected the option of negotiation with any terrorist group including TTP. Quite a bit is missed here or manipulated. Army Operation, predominantly, demanded by liberal fascists or secular political parties such as MQM(A) who's track record with Pakistan Army is still shady & doubtful since 1992 Karachi Operation. Let alone Pakistan People's Party (PPP), neither PMLN nor PTI along with JI, JUI (F) and JUI (S) both, who now form majority, were in favor of ZarbEAzb until last moment when Army leadership, on their own, had decided to launch it and as patriotic Pakistani, none of political workers has left with chance to comment on operation efforts while securing country's territorial integrity being challenged since over decade under the patronage of our beloved agencies by the name of 'strategic assets' or good or bad Taliban and so on. So it is the fact!

 He further added, "Today the whole nation stands behind the Army like a rock; today the people are also demanding that the army should remove this corrupt government which is completely indifferent to the people’s needs. "

The myth of whole nation I busted above saying when major political parties opted the approach of 'negotiation with terrorist, ' that forms national's political wish beside people of Balochistan, who are also part of Pakistan's nation till now.  However, if whole nation means MQM (A) 'Army Solidarity Rallies' then it is evident that who is conducting armed forces morale boosting, which by any means not needed. As I mentioned, what is meant by whole nation and where they stand, so its time for all to rethink about their strategic position and evaluate the worth of their decision.

Army to remove a civil government even if corrupt, gives feeling that entire ZarbEAzb is orchestered with an ulterior motive: (1) build up Army morale in the eyes of people of Pakistan that went down badly due to Osama Bin Laden finding near GHQ in May 2011 (2) portray Army as only savior of nation telecasting the martyrs stories of individual soldiers or low ranking officers during Operation and at last (3) by seeking support of rejected politicians, pave way of taking over government reins. 

We are living in 2014, an era after 2008 when a military dictator was moved out from President House under the threat of people's impeachment power given by National Assembly of Pakistan. Which Constitution allows Pakistan Army to nimble with people's political right, if our armed forces believe in supremacy of Pakistan's Constitution?

Raja G Mujtaba writes, "Pakistan Army has learnt from its past mistakes and shown a lot of maturity and tolerance..." 

I would be really grateful if Raja sahab, would enlighten all of us for few occasions when Pakistan Army ever learnt any lesson from their past mistakes. Only occasion that is recorded in Army's history is Major (Retd) Arshad Jamil...sorry Captain Arshad Jamil, as he was demoted after Court Martial and finally hanged due to killing of 13 innocent peasants in Sind in the name of terrorists whereas the then GCO Hyderabad Major General Saleem Haider was merely transferred without any capital punishment who played vital role in recommending Capt Arshad Jamil to get awarded gold medal through the hands of the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for this highly 'controversial job'. This 'correction' might not happen, as there's no process in Pakistan Army to verify the claims of their staff's successes against civilians, until a God-fearing Army Colonel came in contact with the relatives of these poor innocent peasants and took the plea to the Core Commander and then to COAS finally. Thanks to leadership of Pakistan Army who decided to apprehend culprit however, this was delayed until last moment, imagine hanging of a low-ranking Army culprit got delayed till very moment with view to strike a deal with peasants family but to their courageous stance to refuse any deal categorically.

He added, "The entire nation had turned against both Geo and Hamid Mir, public openly supported the demand to shut Geo and ban Hamid Mir from coming on air. This popular demand was resisted by Nawaz Sharif, instead he went to Karachi and met Hamid Mir to throw his weight behind him."

Geo TV's 19th April 2014 transmission is symbol of 'civil bravery' that opens eyes of many who treat civilians as 'bloody civilians' when the hands of civilian Prime Minister had been tied up while travelling in plane. I am not offending anyone by saying that 'Geo's TV 8 hours transmission was an act of complainant views broadcast in an emotionally charged environment and Hamid Mir's every word written or said about Balochistan & Missing Persons case, should be written with golden ink but these points are worth nothing when fully endorsed by Supreme Court of Pakistan. Who says public don't like Geo, please, have next year viewership rating from an independent rating agency and you will be amazed to see that Geo & its associate channels would remain be at their previous level (that is 60% or above) or  it might increase to few more percent as now it is observed in GHQ, Army/ISI regional offices, & Cantonment areas religiously.

He wrote, "Hamid Mir was the leading man to attack the Army and ISI; he always supported the insurgents under one pretext or the other. So much so that when he went to Bangladesh to collect the prize on behalf of his late father he prompted them to hold trials and also move the international bodies to that end. As a result, Hasina Wajid became instrumental in carrying out trials of all those who supported Pakistan Army in 1971 and some of them have been hanged."

Since then new generation is grabbing real facts about 1971 war & Pakistan Army role written by leading ex-Army officers such as 'Witness to Surrender' by Brigadier Siddiq Salik and like others, many Hamid Mirs are born. Writing against a morally corrupt military dictator like General Yahya Khan, itself is a biggest Jihad. Entire civilian Pakistan is aware that Sheikh Mujeeb's party had won a landslide victory in Pakistan's 1970 election. He & his party members were denied to attend National Assembly session and take oath leading way for Sheikh Mujeeb to become new Prime Minister of Pakistan. If civilian Bhutto was responsible for this debacle then military uniform holder General Yahya Khan is more responsible as he was running the country & holding all powers. Sheikh Haseena Wajid is wrong while punishing those who had helped Pakistan at that time taking side of Pakistan & Army. Shouldn't we consider entire circumstances as why her hatred against Pakistan Army rose to that height; may be when a woman had forced to deliver her baby in front of Army men openly, had paved way for this highest level of hatred! While Islam is symbol of humanity, Holy Prophet (pbuh) has asked his followers to raise voice against corrupt rulers terming it best Jihad. Couldn't we say those who raised voice against tyranny of General Yahya Khan were all symbols of bravery, humanity, & real followers of Islam.

Last but not least, we need to come to the core of the subject: How to build nation's love for armed forces!

Starting from 1958 Martial Law, defeat of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah and artificial victory of Field Marshal Ayub Khan, after that he was not able to stay in office for more than 11 months, is a sign that military dictators are standing in air only without people's support. 1971 episode was a debacle for Pakistan Army though politicians like Z A Bhutto played national songs on TV/Radio to boost morale, worked to release 90,000 prisoners of war (POW) from India, and delayed Justice Hamood ur Rehman Commission report over 1971 war failure to help gain some better feelings. 1977 Martial Law brought total new changes for armed forces. First time they were overhauled and given Islamic signs Allah O Akber, Mard-e-Mujahid, Shouq e Shahdat otherwise the state of affairs were as usual in armed forces as in British India. My dearest uncle Colonel..... has informed me, while having lunch in Lahore Services Club that used to be a club for Army Officers only, that liquors were served here religiously. General Zia ul Haq had banned liquors in armed forces parties, allowed practicing Muslim soldiers & officers to grow beard, introduced prayers and break for prayer timings during work hours, and given Islamic names to various weapons. In spite of these drastic changes in an emotionally charged environment of 1977 Nizam e Mustafa movement, when nation went on to use their ballot right in 1988, they opted for those who were thought to be the real opponents of armed forces. IJI defeats later, were on top of that topping. 1999 Martial Law was a symbol of 'basic human rights violation of civilians' in Pakistan and later rest of the decade of Gen Musharraf government did nothing but bowed to US and CIA pressure and given nation those strategic assets which later become sole targets of ZarbEAzb if not differentiated between good or bad. In 2011, Osama Bin Laden finding near GHQ, though General Pasha had played double game with CIA, was a major debacle for respect & integrity of our armed forces internationally.

Within this context, ZarbEAzb is only an Army Operation against terrorists who are challenging government rit since ages and they should be brought to justice by all means. Only with this spirit this operation is viewed rather than a pretext for new military rule in Pakistan or removing any civilian government.


Moor said...

Quite a thoughtful article...and Indeed Army has committed many horrible mistakes but OPeration Zarb e Azab is aimed at bringing down the terrorist hideouts in Waziristan...and now is the time for all of us to support our troops in this mission. Suggesting that it might be a preamble to bringing back military martial law rule in Pakistan is a little far fetched...or that is what I belive

Anonymous said...

The rebuttal is full of bias and prejudice against the army. The writer has distorted historical facts. In East Pakistan crisis she has completely neglected the role of Indian ruling elites which aggravated the crisis by resorting to direct interference and dismemberment of Pakistan.

Hamid Mir, was at the top of the list of those journalists who have created hatred against people of Pakistan and fabricating false flags against Pakistan and Pakistan Army. Mumbai attacks in India, Samjhota Express blast, LoC incidents, Attack on Quaid-e-Azam’s residence in Ziarat are some of his false accusations on Pakistan. Hamid Mir blamed Pakistan ISI for Mumbai attacks and he is the only one who proved that Ajmal Kasab was Pakistani. But after the claim of Indian Home Ministry Officer that it was the internal job of India to malign Pakistan Hamid Mir did not speak even a single word. Attack on Quaid-e-Azam’s residence in Ziarat was another happening in which Hamid Mir blamed Pakistan ISI and created hatred against Pakistan Army in the heart of Pakistani Nation. But his dream of maligning Pakistan Army and ISI dwindles when the BLA released the video of Ziarat attack and claims that it was their job. Here, again Mr hamid Mir has no regret for that. His allegation were totally bogus and a stint to gain cheap popularity.

The writer has no idea of where GHQ is located and where Osama Bin Laden was killed. Osama was killed in Abbottabad, whereas GHQ is located in Rawalpindi.