The Army

Guest post by Hasan:
In this article, Farhat Taj argues that most Pushtoons see through the army’s inaction in the NWFP, specifically in the Swat Valley. It’s a question all Pakistanis should be asking these days. Why is the army not moving out of its bunkers to at least make it’s presence felt in the Valley? The much discussed concept of “strategic depth” is discussed by Ms Taj. It’s hard to understand how the army/ISI could actually still think that the jihadis are controllable. Never in Pakistan’s long involvement with these groups has it ever been able to extend direct control over them. I for one would much rather have an Afghanistan that has closer ties to India, but doesn’t spew Islamic militancy across the border at us. Obviously those in the corridors of military power in our country would beg to differ. The fact that such a “strategy” exists in military circles should be enough to convince Pakistanis that far from being the “only functioning institution” in the country or “the glue that holds Pakistan together” (phrases I am sick of hearing from my compatriots), the army is and has always been the source of most of our society’s ills. I, for one, have been struck by how difficult it still is to suggest this idea to other Pakistanis. Most will look at me as if I am mad, and some will even fire back a belligerent reply and suggest that such suggestions against the army amount to being unpatriotic. Until Pakistanis realize what our army is really all about, we can’t even begin to recover. As a nation of ostriches, most Pakistanis will even refuse to accept the obvious when it comes to 1971. Instead of condemning the atrocities the army and aligned groups such as the JI committed in East Pakistan, most Pakistanis will insist that the East and West should never have been one country and that if India hadn’t fomented unrest and supported the Mukti Bahini all would have been hunky dory in the Islamic republic. It has always amazed me as to how misdirected the anger in our society is. Blame the Americans, Zionists and Indians for everything that happens in Pakistan. It’s about time we saw the writing on the wall. The true enemy lies within.

Note: Hasan also sent me a link to this review of Ahmed Rashid’s Descent Into Chaos


6 responses to “The Army

  1. Rabia

    “Most will look at me as if I am mad, and some will even fire back a belligerent reply and suggest that such suggestions against the army amount to being unpatriotic”
    It’s amazing, isn’t it? Either that, or they will respond with the claim that we are in a crisis, so there is no time to sit and ponder the loyalty of the army. Oddly enough they haven’t noticed that we’ve been in a state of crisis for about 60 years.

  2. takhalus

    i think the question is of threat perception the establishment distinguishes a threat to the people and a threat to itself as two different things. The military establishment has only started seeing the TTP as a threat to itself since lal masjid when after which it got targetted directly. that disconnect is unfortunate but a reflection of a philosophy of ideological borders and not territorial

  3. Applebom

    When you say ‘for 60 years’ it is unrealistic compared to recent crisis. Would you mind to correct that and tell us what was the direct impact of that crisis on your life.

  4. thanks for the link, takhalus. What you say about ideological boundaries is very true.

  5. JSN

    I thought the Islamic militancy uniting-principle was generated on the Pakistani side of the border, to combat the Pashtana Nationalistic idea being exported by the then King of Afghanistan?

    I am, though, the radical here, not having any natural respect for the borders drawn by the colonizing powers. Why should and Afghan or Pakistani fight to the death to defend a line drawn in London?

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