Finally the cat is out of the bag. The court of inquiry convened by the COAS Gen Bajwa on the request of Bilawal Bhutto for the IG Sindh case in Karachi has been concluded and the recommendations have been made public. In the inquiry, blame has been apportioned on a Brigadier from ISI and a Lt Col from Rangers for reacting zealously under the public pressure. This kind of an inquiry is unprecedented in the history of the army. The details however are awaited. These officers have been attached with GHQ and punitive action is in the offing.

The inquiry was held in the backdrop of an incident held on October 18 in Karachi when during Maryam Nawaz’s visit to the Mazar e Quaid (tomb of the Founder of Pakistan), her husband, Capt. Safdar (R) desecrated the Mazar by chanting slogans along with the hooligans of PML (N) at a place which is highly revered by the general public. His conduct was highly unbecoming and prejudicial to the law which prohibits any indecent behaviour around the premises. Consequently, an FIR was required to be lodged in the concerned police station by the PTI—the ruling party in the centre, but the police resisted as the provincial government belongs to PPP which is in opposition in the centre.

PPP, as part of PDM—an alliance of eleven opposition parties spearheaded by PML (N)—is running a campaign for the overthrow of the PTI central government and also casting aspersions on the military leadership. Amidst the anti-government and unwarranted anti Army statements given by the PDM, this incident created pandemonium in the country and Gen Bajwa had to intervene to order an investigation into the matter in order to defuse the situation.

The outcome of the inquiry has been hailed by Bilawal Bhutto, however PML (N) has rejected the recommendations of the court of Inquiry and blamed that the junior officers have been made scapegoats. Gen Bajwa’s resolve to prove the impartiality of the Army to the political parties and his restraint not to react to their instigative statements is stupendous. PML (N) has now found yet another platform to pressurise the establishment in their designs to get concessions.

The act of the accused officers for getting the FIR registered by acting zealously beyond conscientiousness stems out of their love for the Quaid and the Army especially in a very depressing environment created by the PDM leadership in the entire country who have been perpetually casting aspirations on the Army and its leadership.

The mere fact that the military leadership convened the inquiry against the accused officers disproves any such involvement by the GHQ. In fact, Gen Bajwa’s decision on one side gives a message to the political parties and the entire nation that the army is totally impartial while on the other side it also conveys a meaning to the institutions to remain within their limits of authority and act more prudently in delicate situations.

While the military officers have been recommended for punitive action for acting more zealously for the desecration of the Mazar e Quaid, the entire nation is in a state of shock that the culprits who actually desecrated the Mazar e Quaid are at large. Recently, the case registered against Capt. Safdar (R) for the desecration of Mazar has been discharged by the court due to poor prosecution on the part of Sindh Police. On the day of incident, the hesitation of Sindh Police junior officers, the leave request of IG police in collaboration with many other Sindh Police senior officers on identical applications, the unwarranted attitude of the Sindh government against the interest of justice are the question marks in the minds of the people which needs redressal. Those who overreacted and crossed the line of their authority for a sacred cause are being punished and those who desecrated the Mazar, did not perform their routine duty by lodging an FIR as routine and did an act amounting to mutiny are at large and answerable to no one. Undoubtedly this is a classic example of our corrupt politicians who are expert manipulators and are ready to go to any extent to achieve their evil designs. The military leadership has to be mindful of the fact that this dichotomy of the society will have its effects in the rank and file of the Army.