At a very painful time, mitigating deep hurts and sentiments that cannot be ignored, DG ISPR General Asif Ghafoor, distinguished himself by appearing as the very picture of restraint. In words that were measured and solemn, during a press conference, he conveyed the message that the Armed Forces would not allow any conspiracy to divide the nation to succeed.

The response yesterday was in contrast to the more emotive one from the day of the short order — even though the provocation of the detailed order was greater. The Armed Forces through their spokesman have reinforced the promise that Pakistan comes before everything else.

Following from a decision by the special court that was condemned for its gruesome and inhumane description of its suggested sentence, the Army has very correctly conveyed that the Government would be announcing next steps taken for legal redress. This not only distances the Army from the judgement — very correctly so — but also gives full reign to the government to exploit any and all legal options at its disposal to challenge the judgement.

Those who were salivating at the prospect of relishing the anguish of the community that has been hurt by the decision, will be bitterly disappointed. The community has responded with dignity and calm, in the face of tremendous hurt and pain.

A soldier’s uniform is his skin, a skin that he does not shed even in death. In the same way, a soldier’s community stands with him whether he is in active service or not.

However, a question must be asked as to why the federal government under PTI did not simply withdraw the case once it came to power. This question needs an answer. Had the case been withdrawn, this day would not have been seen.