The ‘Land of the Pure’ is suffering – well and truly suffering, thanks to a coterie of looters and liars known to all and sundry as ruling politicians. Heading this gang of self-serving individuals is a dummy Prime Minister, who is unashamedly taking orders from a former Head of Executive, disqualified and ignominiously thrown out from his high public office for corruption. In the opinion of a vast number of Pakistanis, the ex-Prime Minister got of lightly, for the man should have been tried on charges of compromising national interest, ‘sleeping with the enemy’ and booked for high treason.
True to his character, Mr. Sharif launched a verbal assault at the Apex Judiciary and the Army – an assault that transcended limits of civilized decency. This abuse was patiently and wisely tolerated by both these institutions with dignity, raising their esteem still higher in the eyes of the nation. The shameless attacks reached a point, where our highest judicial office had to issue a terse statement amidst spontaneous applause, while addressing the Bar Council.
Historically speaking, there exists a group of politicians, intellectuals, media persons and legal professionals, who would like to see the Armed Forces humiliated. To this end they leave no stone unturned to break or at least damage the bonding between the people and their army. This group includes ‘indophiles’, leftists (who live under the delusion that their way of thinking is still valid and relevant) and (most dangerous of all) those who have been seduced by money or other incentives for their so called ‘causes’. A manifestation of this blind animosity was recently manifested in the resignation of a senator, whose immature and foolish reason for doing so was the inability to digest the practice of legislators being briefed by the Army Chief at General Headquarters and not in Parliament.
We are lucky that the men in combat fatigues harbor no such notions of superiority. They spend their life in inhospitable conditions facing and effectively mitigating threats to our integrity. From young leaders to high brass, all go through a mill that separates grain from chaff. It was in that spirit that the Army Chief accompanied by his relevant staff briefed the ‘whole’ senate committee under the magnificent structure that represents Pakistan’s Upper House. The briefing was matter of fact and laced with dignity, but the three hour long question answer session was reflective of the intellectual level of politicians in matters related to state security. Even more obvious was the smugness writ large on the faces of those chosen by the people to make good laws – smugness that reflected bloated egos, narrow minds and stunted notions. What these individuals failed to comprehend was that the event had in fact enhanced not ‘lowered’ the army’s image. The political character of our legislators became apparent when a PML N MNA left the proceedings, since he had to appear on bended knees before his convicted leader, who had that very morning announced his intention to launch a movement against the judiciary.
The particular section of our society featured earlier in this piece was quick to condemn the words uttered by the Chief Justice, citing the age old phrase that ‘judges speak through their judgments’. In doing so they conveniently ‘forgot’ that firstly what was said was the truth and second it was part of an address being delivered to the legal community. From a more pragmatic perspective, what the Chief Justice said was long overdue.
As far as the Army Chief’s briefing to parliamentarians is concerned, it was an act of great moral courage that should be understood and lauded. What is however important is not where the Chief spoke, but what he said. Every word uttered by him needs to be absorbed by the enemies of Pakistan, whether they are within our ranks or without. Pakistan is here to stay and prosper, with or without international aid and against all conspiracies. Our two prime institutions i.e. the Judiciary and the Armed Forces are intact – that perhaps is the reason why they are being targeted not only from abroad, but from within the ranks of our own political structure, for in them lies our strength and wisdom.
The writer is a freelance columnist.