COAS Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani has said that the coming elections would be held on the set time, come what may. In his speech on Yaum-i-Shuhada (Martyrs’ Day) on Tuesday, General Kiyani also said that there must be no doubt, that this war is the country's own war. Mischievous elements who would try to suggest otherwise would lead to the destruction of our future. He noted that there were a large number of military personnel killed in this war. He said that “We cannot afford to confuse our soldiers and weaken their resolve with such misgivings.” He probably chose to address the issue of elections because the recent campaign against the elections involves attacks on both candidates and rallies. He has thus joined his to the many voices that have vowed that the elections must be held, come what may. Yet at the same time, while the three parties singled out as targets by the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan, the PPP and its coalition partners the ANP and the MQM, repeating their resolve to fight off the militants, and contest the elections, seem to have skated lightly over the question of what they themselves did when in office, and that too for five years, in both the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa stronghold of the militants, and in Sindh too, which the militants have also targeted. If militants are so active, it has been because of their inability to cement a resolve in the country to confront the war head on, and to cut back the terrorists. Complaining now, after so long proclaiming the virtues of their own government, smacks of political opportunism, and seems directed at the election more than at anything else.

At a time when law and order is very much a live issue, the disclaimer by the Election Commission of Pakistan(ECP) of responsibility for preserving law and order does not seem much more than a piece of bureaucratic passing of the buck. The ECP may indeed not have any force of its own, but has at its disposal the first call on the resources of the state. These include the law enforcing agencies, which include both the police and the armed forces, the latter being the strong right arm of the state, its ultimate means of sanction, of enforcing its writ. It is in this context that the COAS’ remarks gain particular significance.

Again within this context, it is necessary that the militants’ agenda is smashed. Meanwhile General Kiyani’s statement, that “success of any system resides in coming up to the expectations of the people”, has to be kept in mind. Along with the fact that civilian rulers elected after the upcoming elections will have a golden opportunity to display good governance and not only guarantee of the prosperity of democracy, but also quash any military adventurers’ ambitions to take the reigns of government into their own hands instead.