The paranoia of military takeover

There is an increased hysteria among certain ‘experts’ pertaining to a military takeover in Pakistan. This frenzy can be attributed to their conflicting preconceived notions about the institution and its rising public support. In a recent article, one particular analyst known for her anti-military slant stressed how the failure of civilian government is actually a myth fabricated to show that the government is incapable of dealing with the menace of terrorism without the support of the army.

The fact of the matter is that the politicians have lost public support after Peshawar attack and this trust deficit has led people to look up to the military in its fight against terrorism. It was the civilian leadership which created a vacuum during the political deadlock and more so after Peshawar attack leaving the military with no choice but to fill in and take charge.  While the federal and provincial KPK governments were extremely occupied with the political crisis, the army was battling on the frontline against terrorism in North Waziristan with some 10,000 soldiers deployed internally according to Interior Minister.  Therefore, in recent times, the military is indeed the only institution which appears to be fully functional.

Coming to military courts, their establishment has invited a lot of undue criticism. The narrative that the political parties have links with militants and the civilian judiciary has proven to be incompetent in punishing them can be affirmed by the cases of Saulat Mirza and Mumtaz Qadri. Sentenced to death by anti terrorism court, Saulat Mirza has still not been hanged after 16 years of conviction because of reported pressure from MQM. Similarly, Mumtaz Qadri is not only being defended by former chief justice of Lahore High Court but also hundreds of lawyers. These cases highlight the urgent need to reform institutions particularly judiciary but what do we do in the short term? Should terrorists be allowed to take advantage of the weak political and judicial systems and roam the streets freely?

The writer goes on about India-Pakistan relations highlighting how General Raheel Sharif has a personal vendetta against India.  Both states have long been traditional enemies and the personal loss of Army Chief in 1965 war against India has little to do with that equation.  It is surprising that the writer while rebuking Indian involvement in Peshawar attack comes up with her own conspiracy theory to justify her point.

One expects a better piece of writing from someone who is foreign qualified and claims to have an expert opinion. The writer neither offers constructive criticism nor presents an alternative to the problem. The whole article thus appears to be a paranoid rant against the army when the focus should be on promoting institutional harmony to safeguard the interests of Pakistan.