Ideology and the armed forces are vital for the survival of any nation. Ideology inspires will to survive and the armed forces thwart any external (and at times internal) aggression against the integrity of nation. Both these facets complement each other and one cannot survive without the other.
Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947 our enemies had been curiously working on the agenda to finish Pakistan. India had never accepted the partitioning of subcontinent and had always worked to dismember Pakistan. Nehru is on the record to have said that newly created state Pakistan will not survive for many years and will soon revert back to its ‘mother land’. The Indian-sponsored movements like Bengali nationalism, Sindhu-desh, Pakhtunistan and Azad Baluchistan were all meant to achieve the same aim.
Apart from attacks on the ideology of Pakistan there have been many lethal assaults on the armed forces of Pakistan, both from inside and outside the country. The analysts around the world had believed that the center of gravity of Pakistan lies in its armed forces, and no substantial gains against Pakistan can be acquired without damaging this prestigious institution of the country.
ZA BHUTTO CAMPAIGN TO HUMILIATE ARMY
The first ever well planned attack to undermine the armed forces of Pakistan was launched not by any foreigner but by one of our own political leaders- Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Being a young minister in the cabinet of President Ayub Khan he knew that he cannot achieve his aim of ruling Pakistan without decimating the Army. In 1964 Bhutto was instrumental in creating situation that led to India- Pakistan war of 1965. Bhutto was sure that Pakistan Army will not be able to endure a war with an enemy which was six times bigger and stronger. However Bhutto was baffled when Pakistan Army successfully beat back Indian attack on international border and emerged as the most respectable institution in the country. India was compelled to sign the Tashkent Declaration with Pakistan. The legendary tales of heroic deeds of armed forces have become the part of our folk songs and literature.
Duly frustrated by the failure of his scheme Bhutto quit the government, formed Pakistan People’s Party and launched a movement against President Ayub Khan. He told the nation that the President had sold the interests of Pakistan to India in Tashkent Declaration and that he will soon reveal the secret behind this deal- a promise which he never fulfilled.
General elections of 1970 gave another opportunity to ZA Bhutto to materialize his dream. The sweeping victory of Sh. Mujeeb ul Rehman from East Pakistan thwarted the ambitions of Bhutto to rule the country. He therefore acted in a very discordant manner by not accepting the mandate of Bengalis and prompted President Gen Yahya Khan to initiate military action against the ‘traitor’ Sh. Mujeeb and his party. The logical result of such action was the Indian military intervention and subsequent dismemberment of East Pakistan on 16 December 1971 and paved the way for Bhutto to rule the remaining part of the country. Pakistan Army was made to surrender in East Pakistan due to none of its fault, and the country was humiliated. The individual gallantry actions of our officers and soldiers who were made to fight a war under worst ever conditions will be written in golden words.
But Bhutto was as satisfied as ever. His body language and behavior would never show any resentment or dismay which a leader should display whose half of the country was lost. ZA Bhutto also took some other initiatives to molest the Army. He violated all the rules of merit and made Gen Ziaul Haq as Army Chief by superseding six general who were senior to him. Bhutto also opened a political cell in Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) thus paving the way for military interference in civilian politics- a practice that cost the nation heavily in times to come.
Bhutto committed rigging in elections 1977 in order to secure his rule. A mass agitation started against him. Bhutto refused to undo his mistakes and behaved in an arrogant manner. There is no doubt that Martial Law of Gen Ziaul Haq was an outcome of Bhutto’s apathy, lack of sensitivity fro people’s feeling and ineptness of his part to resolve crisis at national level. The result was that Pakistani nation had to bear with military rule for 11 years.
MISUSE OF ARMY DURING 1988-99
The period from 1988 to 1999 saw a musical chair play between Ms. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. As and when one party would assume power the opposition would start a campaign to overthrow the government through conspiracies. Both of them used the Army to destabilize the sitting government. A popular stance of the opposition would be to ask Chief of the Army Staff to interfere and play his role as the country was at the brink of destruction. The politicians in opposition would conduct secret meetings with COAS and try to convince him to topple the government. All the four civilian governments were terminated either by the President or by direct intervention of Army. This was a severe blow to democracy due to ineptness of the politicians but at the end whole blame was placed on Army who allegedly did not allow democracy to prosper.
During his 2nd tenure in late 1990’s Nawaz Sharif also committed the same mistake. He made Gen Pervez Musharaf as Army Chief by superseding many senior and more capable generals and thus set the stage for his own downfall. The ‘Kargil Operation’ was the turning point in his relations with Gen Pervez Musharaf and the Army. I am not a supporter of Kargil operation and feel that it was an unnecessary adventure but I am also against any apologetic attitude of Pakistanis once this even had taken place.
THE KARGIL OPERATION AND ARMY BASHING
Our analysts say that Kargil was an uncalled for and unjustified intrusion in India. I ask how many ‘uncalled for’ and ‘unjustified’ intrusions have India launched against Pakistan in the past? Was Indian intrusion in East Pakistan in 1971 justified? Was unilateral occupation of Siachen Glacier by India in 1984 justified? So once Pakistan Army had achieved a tactical advantage in Kargil over its arch enemy, it should be seen in the backdrop of the peculiar relations between the two countries since 1947.
While bashing Pakistan Army on Kargil issue our intellectuals forget to mention factors which led to this event. No one goes into the depth of reasons which forced the whole episode. No one talks of the Indian intentions and placing of Indian 70 Bde in Mashkoh Valley contrary to its usual deployment in Srinagar Valley during winters and our preemptive move. No one highlights the absence of move of our strategic forces which encouraged the Indians to move all assets up and achieve the 15:1 parity. The role of Indian Artillery and Indian Air Force is totally over bloated. It can be gauged from the facts that a total of only 12 individuals sustained injuries on gun positions on the entire front of 400 Km and the IAF could knock out only 16 individuals and some stores through over 1500 sorties. One can have long sessions on this issue, I’ll leave it at that. My heart goes out to all those brave men and officers who roughed it out in those trying conditions. It’s easy to criticize and in hindsight everyone becomes a thinker. We never lost although suffered few casualties in withdrawal. Indians have accepted their casualties as 587 in this Conflict and very heavy losses of equipment and ammo. The Indians were short of 155 mm ammunition and they purchased from South Africa.
As I remember, Kargil area was occupied by India in 1971. This was no violation from Pakistan but a reply at a suitable time. Even if we are convinced that Kargil operation was a mistake this mistake should have been owned by Pakistan and justified at political and diplomatic level. We should have told the world community in 1998 that this ‘violation’ is similar to that committed by India in Siachen. And if India wants us to vacate Kargil they should also vacate Siachen simultaneously. That was not a difficult option. Recall the event when Indian Prime Minister Rajev Gandhi during visit to Pakistan in 1990’s committed with Ms. Benazir Bhutto that India will withdraw from Siachen. But when Rajev went back he telephoned Benazir and regretted his commitment on the plea that his Army Chief was not agreeing to withdraw from Siachen. When Indian PM could give that much weight to his Army Chief why couldn’t our PM? It was a total political and diplomatic failure on the part of our civilian government of that time who could not handle the situation with courage and dexterity.
On assuming power in 1999 Gen Pervez Musharaf visited India. A brief interview was conducted by a female host of ND TV of India with Musharraf where she asked him, ”Do you have any regrets about Kargil, now that you are such a welcome visitor in India?” Gen Musharraf smilingly gave her a very apt reply, ”Do you expect me to ever say that ‘Yes, I regret it’ ? If somebody was to ask Indian Prime Minister ‘Do you regret having divided Pakistan and made Bangla Desh?’, would he say ‘yes, we are very sorry’? How would you expect that I would regret?” Leaving aside all criticism of his policies I like the way Gen Musharaf rebuts such questions of our arch enemy.
THE MUSHARAF RULE AND DEFAMATION OF ARMY
The era of Musharaf rule saw the worst kind of criticism being unleashed against Pak Army and ISI, mostly due to wrong policies of the ruler. During this period the war on terror was brought on our soil which has so far resulted in over 40,000 Pakistanis losing their lives, including 5000 troops. The country suffered heavy financial loss and was set decades beyond in terms of economic development. The war and the loss still go on unabated. Pakistan Army became unsafe on its own soil. Though the fateful events of 9/11 had placed Pervez Musharaf at a sheer disadvantage but we feel that he could still have saved the country from the colossal loss with little better diplomacy and strategy.
DEMOCRATIC ERA AND ARMY BASHING
When Nawaz Sharif was ousted from power, he also became a so-called ‘anti establishment’ leader. During his exile to Saudi Arabia and as an opposition leader after the Elections 2008, Nawaz Sharif always remained at dagger drawn with the Army. He could not distinguish between the armed forces as a state institution and an over ambitious Army Chief, who topples the civilian government and enforces martial law. He equated both of them in one bracket.
After Elections 2008 the dignity and respect of the Army was rescued to certain extent by Gen Kiyani as Army Chief when he disengaged the institution from politics. Though the Army virtually got itself detached from civil affairs but the criticism against it continued with full force.
The PPP government under Zardari was no exception to this Army-bashing. Though Mr. Zardari apparently maintained good working relationship with Army, mostly with an aim to prolong his stay in power, he was no less an evil as far as damaging this institution is concerned. Whenever he felt that his grip was becoming loose on state affairs due to his inept governance, he would usually divert the attention of the people by saying that ‘There is a conspiracy of pen (judiciary) and bayonet (Army) cooking up against his government”. The notorious Memo-gate Scandal and behavior of Zardari after Abbottabad Operation of the US against Osama bin Laden, are clear indicators as to how the highest functionaries of the state, including the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces have been conspiring to decimate the defensive strength and capability of Pakistan.
THE USE AND ABUSE OF ARMY IN PAKISTAN- PART II
PAKISTAN FACES 4TH GENERATION WAR ON ITS SOIL
The fateful events of 9/11 placed Pakistan under immense pressure. Though no Pakistani was involved in any act of terror across the globe the whole world was made to believe that Pakistan is the actual source of terrorism. America’s war on terror pushed Pakistan in real terrific situation and has damaged us only next to Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not our war but when Pakistan became an ally of America the whole garbage of war was transferred to Pakistan. Pakistan Army as usual was on the forefront of this war and had bore the major brunt of its consequences. Despite all odds Army has fared well in this war also. Whatever task was given to Army it completed it with professional dexterity and devotion. May it be the cleansing of Swat from the occupation of the Taliban or campaign in South Waziristan to liberate this rugged country from terrorists Army has never disappointed the nation.
The question arises; why after all the Army has always been condemned is still the target of criticism? The Army had already distanced itself clearly from the politics and has suffered the worst kind of attrition while saving the nation from terrorists. But still Army and ISI remain the major scapegoat for all the ills that the nation is facing. Talk of any segment of society- the electronic media, the politicians, the civil society organizations, the NGOs, the human rights organizations, you will find them unanimous in criticizing and condemning Army on one pretext or the other. To find reasons we will have to slightly go back in history.
David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister commented on Pakistan as follows:
“The world Zionist movement should not be neglectful of the dangers of Pakistan to it. And Pakistan now should be its first target, for this ideological State is a threat to our existence. And Pakistan, the whole of it, hates the Jews and loves the Arabs. This lover of Arabs is more dangerous to us than the Arabs themselves. For that matter, it is most essential for the world Zionism that it should now take immediate steps against Pakistan. Whereas the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula are Hindus whose hearts have been full of hatred towards Muslims, therefore India is the most important base for us to work there from against Pakistan. It is essential that we exploit this base and strike and crush Pakistanis, the enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans”.
(David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister Jewish Chronicle, 09 August 1967)
The shocking statement of the founder Prime Minister of Israel has some cardinal points. One, Pakistan is an ideological state. Two, Pakistan is more dangerous for Israel than even the Arabs. Three, the world Zionist movement has been told to take action against Pakistan and four, India will be the base to used by Zionists to crush Pakistan.
The world in general is in the grip of Zionism. The Zionists control the economy, business, finances, media, journalism and even the politic of the world. The ruling political elite of most of the countries is being controlled by Zionists. The war and peace is also made in the world by this organization. So when the Zionist movement is told to fight against and crush Pakistan one can imagine how all the concerned actors across the globe would be operating.
A strong and stable Pakistan armed with nuclear weapons is just not acceptable by the Zionists. With the help of sole super power, the US, its allies the NATO and even its pawn in the Middle East, the Zionists have launched a well planned, well coordinated and well executed campaign against Pakistan which is called ‘Fourth Generation War’. America attacked Iraq on the pretext of locating and destroying weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which they didn’t possess. Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons and has declared it as such. So America could not possibly attack Pakistan the way they did in Iraq because of the fear of any unexpected reaction from Pakistan. Fourth Generation War was the only effective tool to deal with Pakistan. The sole aim is to neutralize the nuclear assents and render Pakistan as an insignificant country in the region.
Pakistan Faces Fourth Generation War on its Soil
Fourth Generation War is essentially a civilian (non-military) doctrine which is characterized by attack on ideology, culture and social values, small combat actions by non state actors, media and information warfare and psychological operations. In such warfare the media persons and journalists are purchased for propagating a set pattern of information and the target nation is broken into various segments on racial, sectarian and linguistic grounds. The target country is isolated on diplomatic forums and incapacitated in economic fields. The corrupt and compromised journalists, political analysts, media owners, TV anchors, advertising companies, sold out religious scholars / teachers and the fifth columnists form the frontline soldiers in this kind of warfare. The terrorist organizations are created, paid and trained to carry out sabotage activities in the country, the main targets are the military installations, defense and security personnel and intelligence setups, with an aim to demoralize/ incapacitate the fighting machinery of the country. Such war may not see a full fledge operation of conventional forces like army, navy and air force of the attacker but the enemy keeps its combatant forces in ready position for bringing them into action at short notice.
4th generation war started on Pakistani soil when America attacked Afghanistan in 2001 in order to topple the Taliban regime who was allegedly providing safe heavens to Al Qaeda leadership and Osama Ben Laden. It seems that real aim of America was not to eliminate terrorism while it attacked Afghanistan but was to create a foothold from where they could control the politics and economy of the whole region.
Before 9/11 the Taliban were not the enemies of America. Despite of their myopic view about Islam and crude way of governance they never attempted to carry out any terrorist activity against the West. It was a well known fact that after being attacked by American forces the Taliban will spill over to Pakistan territory for taking refuge. The restive tribal areas provided excellent sanctuaries to them both from geographical and social point of view. It was beyond the capability of Pakistan security forces either to stop the infiltration of Taliban or to evict them after they had infused with local population. America’s policy was to entangle Pakistani forces in a fight against Taliban in tribal area which they knew, was a mechanism of total disaster for Pakistan. They also knew that once Pakistan Army got involved in tribal area it will not be possible for them to extricate.
On the Afghan side the situation of war was that despite mustering forces from the whole world under the flag of NATO, America could not subdue the Taliban. Throughout the decade of war the Taliban had been controlling about 40 % of Afghanistan’s territory. They had been levying toll tax on NATO containers, holding press conferences and punishing offenders through ‘Sharia’ courts. The growth of poppy continued unabated right under the nose of NATO forces. The conclusion can be drawn that the US and allies never wanted to eliminate the Taliban. They just put that much effort which was necessary to maintain a semblance of conflict going on in the area. They had other agenda in their minds.
Nurturing of Militant and Terrorist Groups in Pakistan
When Pakistan Army got fully involved in tribal areas as per their plans, they created Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This group was funded, trained and given intelligence / logistic support by CIA, Mossad and later by Indian RAW. Other banned outfits from Pakistan like Lashkar e Jhangwi (LeJ) also assembled under their umbrella. This was the enemy which was ‘invented’ for us. Our new enemy wore Islamic attire, kept beards, carried flags having ‘Kalima’ on them and shouted slogans of ‘Allah o Akbar’. No doubt our nation was totally confused on this issue. Some consider them enemies and others call them ‘Mujahideen’. The population in tribal areas was the worst hit by this confusion. Not surprising that the nation has paid the price of 40000 lives including 5000 troops.
Pakistan was never allowed to make peace in tribal areas. All its efforts to negotiate with militants were thwarted by America by killing people like Mulla Nazeer. The drone attacks, the CIA /Blackwater operations on Pakistani soil, provision of safe heavens to our terrorists like Mulla Fazlullah, Brahmdakh Bugti, Harbiyar Marri and TTP leadership, all resulted in a planned attrition of our Army.
In Baluchistan BLA has been resuscitated by CIA with the help of Indian RAW and Russian ex KGB agents in 2002 which had gone dormant after the withdrawal of Soviet Union from Afghanistan in 1988. The aim is put pressure on Pakistan Army by involving it in counter insurgency and to weaken the hold of Pakistan government on Baluchistan so that it can be separated from Pakistan at an appropriate time. Baluchistan has some 45 to 55 training camps, with each camp accommodating from 300 to 550 militants. Based on the geographic spread of training camps there is a triangle of extreme instability in Baluchistan with Barkhan, Bibi Nani (Sibi) and Kashmore as three cardinal points. The terrorist leaders like Barahmdagh Bugti and Harbiyar Marri are on self imposed exile where they frequently get in touch with officials of CIA, RAW and get necessary funds / intelligence from them.
In Karachi the instability has been ensured through terrorism. Target killing, ‘Bhatta’ mafia, land grabbing mafia, kidnapping for ransom have been initiated and maintained through militant wings of various political parties who are being provided protection through politicization of police and inept / corrupt judicial system. These elements have now been reinforced by terrorists from banned outfits and underground crime gangs. The aim is to weaken the writ of Pakistan government in Karachi so that it can be separated from rest of Pakistan at an opportune moment.
Achievements of Army in War against Terror
Pakistan Army was plunged into American war on terror by Pervez Musharaf with a total disregard to our own security concerns. It was well known fact that Army was neither trained / equipped nor was prepared to undertake an unconventional war like this. But once Army was put into such a strenuous test it came out victorious. The terrorists had occupied Sawt by 2009 and were threatening to march on to Islamabad. It was sheer brilliance of military leadership and enormous courage of the officers and men of the security forces who turned the tables on our enemies once threatening to occupy Islamabad. No Army of the world can match the achievement of our security forces who in the Malakand / Swat Operation took so short a time to dislodge the militants who were entrenched on the heights in such a vast mountainous terrain and were in effective control of the area for some years.
The Army, whenever launched to undertake operations, has delivered beyond expectations surprising our enemies. The details of Swat operation are not likely to be known because of our apathy to accurately record events and making analytical studies of such operations. The results of this operation are however so obvious that one can confidently assert that no Army of the world today could have achieved such success in such a short time in so vast a mountainous terrain. No helicopter pilot in any other Army of the world could start his day at 4 a.m. and switch off by 11 p.m. ferrying troops to be placed on heights, drawing hostile fire in the process. This was a routine with Pakistan Army's helicopter pilots during those operations.
Same was true for South Waziristan where Pakistan government had totally lost its writ. The Army not only restored the writ but also started developmental projects which the local population had seen for the first time in their lives. However it is unfortunate that no civilian government has ever been able to enforce its writ though Army had provided enough space for the civilian leadership in Swat, S. Waziristan and other parts of tribal areas. These areas are still under control of the Army and civilian administration is shy of taking responsibility anywhere.
Anti Army Role of Pakistani Media and Journalists
Despite immense sacrifices the Army bashing continues from different quarters. They are still blamed on the TV channels by media personnel, journalists and politicians for interfering in civil affairs ‘from behind the curtains’. They are held responsible for missing persons in Baluchistan and mutilated bodies. Not a single criminal / terrorist who were arrested for attacking GHQ, Mehran Naval Base, Kamra PAF Base has been punished by our judiciary. The irony is that Zain Bugti is caught red handed while transporting illegal lethal weapons and he is set free by the courts, but same courts are quick to order registration of FIR against Army personnel for the ‘murder’ of Nawab Akbar Bugti!
One will be astonished to see that many diverse segments of society are on the same page as far as Army bashing is concerned. People like Asma Jahangir who are known to be so-called ‘liberals’ are on the one side of extreme while TTP is on the other side of the extreme. But both are one and the same as far as hostility towards Pakistan Army is concerned. Asma Jahangir always blames Army and the ISI for missing persons, meddling in politics, hatching conspiracies against democracy etc. TTP along with its auxiliary outfits physically attacks Army and takes ‘revenge’ against America. How funny that a TTP leader is killed in American drone attack and the revenge is taken from Pakistan Army!
Electronic media is on the forefront in terms of Army bashing. Just listen to the talk shows and discussions conducted by anchors and journalists like Hamid Mir, Kamran Shafi and you will find how they spit venom against Army. They are performing their duties very well according to instructions issued by their masters. They will not miss a smallest chance to punch the Army and the ISI. They will ask embarrassing and leading questions from the guests and will only highlight the weak points of the Army. Have you ever heard them appreciating the role of Army in assisting people in natural calamities like floods, earthquakes? Has the Army ever been valued for their policies of non interference in politics for the last five years? So much so, that the coverage of the heroic deeds of our ‘Shaheeds’ and ‘Mujahids’ in the past and recent wars has been drastically cut down on the media. You will hardly find any commemorative programs on Defense Day (6 Sep) in praise of our defense forces. But you have to be very observant and have a keen eye and ears to feel their hatred against Army and Pakistan. The anti Army propaganda is so strong that even some ex Army persons - turned- intellectuals also do not remain behind anyone else to bash and criticize Army.
Media is an important tool in opinion building and creating awareness but you will hardly find any meaningful discussion on media that would address our security concerns. They will never highlight the colossal increase in Indian defense budget, rather will always be obsessed with even a slight increase in our defense budget. While sitting in front of Pakistani TV channels at times we have a dismal feeling as if we are watching Indian channels instead. Have you seen any TV programs which highlights Two-nation Theory and Ideology of Pakistan, particularly in the month of August? You will mostly find those guest speakers on TV channels who give their logic against the ideology of Pakistan. No one would focus on the need of promoting our ideology which draws its strength from injunctions of Islam. This deficiency was badly felt in the ongoing month of August which is marked by our ‘Youm e Azadi’. It was so obvious to see that no TV anchor wore the insignia of a Pakistani flag on the onset of August as was the practice in previous years. Moreover it was astonishing to learn that not a single national song (milli naghma) has been composed and sung in Pakistan in the last 10 years. Is this the way the ‘living nations’ survive?
The war against Ideology of Pakistan and Army is going on unabated on all fronts. The media persons, journalists and anchor persons have been purchased to propagate anti Pakistan, anti Army and anti Islam concepts. Judiciary has been instructed not to take any action against terrorists and black sheep in media unless ‘concrete proof’ is available, and government of the day has been ‘briefed’ not to take drastic steps against terrorists of TTP, BLA and Karachi gang war. This is the reason why the government has not yet declared BLA as traitors and has refrained from dealing with them accordingly. On diplomatic front the governments have been told not to pursue a policy that goes against the interests of India, America and some Arab countries, may it be at the peril of Pakistan. The government has been stopped from raising any question about TTP and BLA terrorists who are residing in safe heavens in Afghanistan, UK and Europe. In order to further squeeze Pakistan Army, India has been prompted to carry out violations on LoC so that further pressure is put on the Army to stretch its already depleted and meager resources.
International Zionist lobby is active against Pakistan in the light of the statement of Israel’s founding PM that Pakistan must be crushed by using India as a base. So it is not surprising that a close nexus exists between India and Israel. Army bashing in Pakistan must be seen in the backdrop of this scenario.
By Akhtar Malik, a retired Colonel of Pak Army : https://www.facebook.com/akhtarhmalik