By the time this piece is printed, the much awaited announcement of who would command the Pakistan Army should have been made. If not, then the Pakistani nation will have the benefit of some more time in passing their idle hours ‘selecting’ the new Chief. Whichever of the two scenarios manifests itself, it has been interesting to note that ongoing street and drawing room discussions on the subject reflect radically different motives. There is an overwhelming majority that would like to see the change as not only a continuation of the outgoing ‘Sipah Salaar’s’ extremely popular policies, but an even more aggressive approach by the new incumbent, towards cleansing Pakistan.

The second group, which consists of corrupt politicians and their beneficiaries, are praying for exactly the opposite, as this would serve their vested interests. This particular segment of society is ignoring the psychology and culture of the men in uniform, who derive their strength from professional commitment, patriotism and tradition – traits that go beyond personal and political leanings. The bad news for this group is that whosoever takes over the top slot will be guided not only by his own honourable commitment to the institution and the country, but also the collective advice of his subordinate leadership, which he cannot ignore. As happens in the best of systems, a few bad fishes do escape the ever present synthesis process that sifts the bad from the good throughout individual military careers. These individuals carry little or no respect within their command, something that can be disastrous when the call to arms is sounded.

No written piece would be complete without paying tribute to the outgoing commander of the Pakistan Army. He took the helm at a time when top leadership in khaki were under stormy criticism. He not only restored the army’s image, but ruthlessly rooted out those guilty of bringing ignominy to this noble profession. To do this, he had to literally walk on the razor’s edge, showing incomparable tolerance and wisdom. He needed all that was best in him to deal effectively with the likes of politicians, who have plagued this land for decades. His most unforgettable service to his country was the War on Terror – a war that he led from the front without fear or consequence. When things happened, his towering figure was there even before political leadership had begun to stir out of their comfortable offices. As someone aptly put it, he was a giant amongst dwarfs.

Incidents of gross ceasefire violations by the Indians have now increased to very serious proportions, where use of artillery is now being resorted to. Reliable sources tell me that our military counter response has not only been befitting, but has caused satisfyingly considerable damage to the enemy. In the ongoing confrontation, one is reminded of an established principle that ‘war is a failure of diplomacy’. This implies that the two most critical ministries in any dispensation are those dealing with defence and foreign affairs. The Indian military aggression on the ceasefire Line is interestingly being ratcheted up in what appears to be a design. Will things come to a point where it will lead to war is something for our military to ponder upon. The question increasingly popping up in my mind is whether the current situation is a result of our failed diplomatic manoeuvring?

The ‘breach of national security issue’ that shocked the nation is being treated by the ruling leadership in a manner so laid back that no words can describe or condemn it. The incident and whosoever has perpetrated the leak (directly or indirectly) has committed nothing less than ‘high treason’. The act is treasonous because it provided leverage to our adversary in effectively proliferating the ‘terrorist sponsor’ and ‘rogue army’ theme. Perhaps, it was this leverage aided by an incompetent foreign office that is causing international silence (read acquiescence) to Indian aggression across the ceasefire line.

As a concerned Pakistani, my hope now rests with the apex judiciary and our armed forces to undo the damage that we have suffered during decades of misrule and corruption. The Army’s resolve to stand firm on intolerance towards terror in any form in an increasingly aggressive manner and the judiciary’s wisdom in doing what is right to preserve Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s vision, will be deciding factors whether we survive or succumb.