In defence of General Kayani

By Asad Munir

The army and its agencies have been playing a political role since 1958, if not before that. It has not even been five years since the last military ruler relinquished power. In the country’s 65 years of history, the army has directly ruled for more than 33 years and indirectly, maybe more. It has been formulating or influencing the making of foreign policies related to certain countries since independence. To expect that the army should now withdraw from the political scene is desirable but not practical. It is rather a wish based on idealism. To compare our army chief with those of other democratic countries is also unrealistic. Comparing the army with other institutions of the state and arguing that they chose the profession of soldiering and that they are being paid for their job may not be a very rational approach, keeping the nature of their task in view. The mere fact that General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s statement kept all media amply focused demonstrates that the army is still considered by all to be a major player in our politics, even if it is undesirable.

When General Kayani took command of the army, about 19 administrative units of Fata and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were completely or partially under the control of Taliban. Now, there are two. The army is fighting the longest war in its history, in which it has lost about 5,000 soldiers and over 800 have been rendered disabled for life. It is a war not owned by many Pakistanis. No previous chief has commanded an army in such difficult times as General Kayani. No army chief has seen beheadings of his soldiers with their sacrifices not recognised by the nation. General Kayani shoulders the difficult task to motivate them, keep them committed to their goals and prevent any division in the rank and files of the army. Since 2008, many in this country have been inviting General Kayani to intervene in political affairs and get rid of this government. However, he has refused and also convinced his corps commanders that they should not do so. He is probably the first chief who has admitted that the army has committed mistakes; all other chiefs have justified army takeovers, citing different reasons. He is trying to change the course and avoid mistakes of the past, and yet no chief during his service was criticised the way General Kayani has been. The army as an institution is being blamed for acts committed by past generals. The perception that the chief is the sole decision-making authority may not be true in all cases. There are nine corps commanders having their own opinions but the chief faces the brunt of the negative onslaught by the media, also with the responsibility of responding and pacifying those under his command.

Why is the army different from other institutions that are ridiculed by the media? Soldiers do not put their lives at stake only for money; there are additional factors which motivate them to fight, such as pride, honour, ghairat, patriotism, belief in a cause, recognition, comradeship and unit cohesion, etc. High morale matters to them. Unit cohesion is the trust between leaders and the led. Creating an impression that the army has good junior officers and soldiers but that senior officers have always let them down is undermining this very basic concept. The army traditionally does not support individuals, be it the ex-army chief, which is why General (retd) Pervez Musharraf is not in the country, for which he may not be very pleased with General Kayani. To blame the institution as a whole for the wrongdoing of some individuals affects the morale of the troops.

The Afghan Taliban captured Kabul in 1996 and Islamists took control of Timbuktu in April 2012. In both cases, their armies had disintegrated. We face serious threat from the Taliban; they want to take over this country through armed jihad. The army is the institution preventing them from fulfilling their evil designs. Do not demoralise the troops by criticising the army as an institution; focus on individual culprits. God forbid, if there is a division in the army, it will lead to anarchy and consequently, no other institution of the state will survive.

The writer is a retired brigadier who has served in senior intelligence postings in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.

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  • sturkman  On November 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    So this Brigadier wants us to believe …
    1. … we can form a Militia like Taliban without knowledge of Pak Military secretly and then declare it to be a Militia of Afghans.
    2. … 35.000 Combat Troops could control 56% of Pakistan’s population’s revolt in just 4 days, a few thousand Troops could control 17 million population Karachi in just a day but half million strong Pak Military has failed to control just 10,000 Taliban for the last 11 years.
    3. … we do not know anything because we have no Eyes, Ears and Brains.
    Who does he think, he can fool with this Essay?

  • Shaukat Qadir  On November 9, 2012 at 2:18 am

    No boot lickers required. A more objective analysis is required. Take care Jasmeen. Past Chapter Two.

  • S.M.K Durrani  On November 9, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Armed Forces are being targeted only because the enemies of the country know that , if Pakistan has to be harmed, the only way is to destroy the Armed Forces of Pakistan, being the only pillar of the State which can stand in their way. The salient majority of the country has a love & respect for its Armed Forces, irrespective of the efforts being made by these Fasali Bataras, masters of Lootmar, including present Chief Justice, who has crossed all the limits to ridicule and defame the forces to weaken their moral, deliberately on flimsy grounds. A one sided condemnation only of the Forces is being carried on without highlighting the other darkest side of the episode,i.e its reason and background.

    The Armed forces on its own had never been responsible for any intervention in the affairs of the country, but if we look back in the history, which these corrupt champions of Justice and democracy would always like to avoid to be discussed, because of their own short comings, selfish approach and lack of sincerity and commitment with the nation, pushing the country towards point of no return, one will find that every time the forces were compelled by inept and corrupt Politicians & Judiciary, making mess of the country, leaving no other alternate but to intervene in the larger interest of the country, as a last resort. As is happening today.

    This trend of criticizing the armed forces by these crooks, having their own hidden agenda to fulfill has to be stopped by all means. The given circumstances in the country ,specially at the ulterior motives of the Chief Justice is leading the nation towards another mess. If Chief Justice is not stopped from his dirty moves, this country will suffer badly, even to the extent of disintegration.

    • Rauf  On November 9, 2012 at 2:20 am

      SMK Bhai.
      You have a point about the Champion of the Jidiciary. Many knows what his past and
      his doings and once a week travel to Quetta with brief case full of …………………
      I am sure you could guess the remainder.

    • sturkman  On November 9, 2012 at 2:46 am

      Sure, sure Judges have to be stopped because they are also hurting image of our Gods in Pak Military. Pak Military and our greedy corrupt looting and killing Punjabi Establishment are Pakistan, not Pakistanis.
      We do not need Democracy that insults our Gods. We do not need Supreme Court that is not obedient to our Gods. Allaho Akbar, Pak Military ZinDaabaaD …!
      Pakistani ki aisee Taisee, Pakistan ki aisee Taisee …!
      Pakistan ZinDaabaaD, Pakistan sai zinDaa Bhaag …!

  • S.M.K Durrani  On November 9, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Rauf Sahib, Well Said, I know much more about this scoundrel.

  • Rauf  On November 9, 2012 at 2:21 am

    SMK Bhai.
    I am sure you do. Just a joke I would like to share with you, Bhai.

    You know the story about the “shrimp” in the pond ?

    Well, the story goes like this. There was this shrimp in a pond used to
    criticise the rest of the fish, frogs and what nots, saying “you all are filthy
    and untouchables” and so on. But non paid much of attention to the
    shrimp. One day a little fry who could not take any longer the yap yaping
    of the shrimp, approach the shrimp and said, you know what we all got
    shit (excuse me for the word) in our rear end but you “shrimp” got shit in
    your head. That was the last time the shrimp spoke.

  • Salman Abbasy  On November 9, 2012 at 3:15 am

    The writer’s former profession and posting robs this apologia of any measure of merit and value.
    It is like the defence of the oldest profession by one its old practitioners.

  • SHOMU BHATTACHARYA  On November 9, 2012 at 5:54 am

    I am in full agreement with Munir’s views and the many sacrifices that have been made and are still being made by the gallant Pakistani soldier and that too under such horrendous circumstances and miserable conditions and therefore it must not go unrecognized. The man in uniform is not only doing his duty towards his country-but he is also upholding the unity, integrity and the sanctity of the nation.
    Brigadier Samir Bhattacharya (retired Indian Army)

    • sturkman  On November 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      Yes, yes. Our Soldiers have given too many sacrifices and this is why there is no Military in world that has killed or caused killings of more Moslims than any other Military in world from Jordan (killing of Palestinians by Brigadier Ziaul Haq, the ‘Sormay Waali Sirkar’) to Bangladesh (former East Pakistan).
      We should build a Minaret to recognize all those sacrifices of Pak Military and declare Pakistan its Personal Property Officially. .

  • Munir Varraich  On November 9, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Armed Forces discipline is the biggest asset which Pakistan has. The challenge to Gen Kiyyani is to keep that intact. The other factor is the “morale” which needs to be kept high under all circumstances, especially during an on going war. Other instituions must keep this in mind when passing judgements on this “backbone of Pakistan”.

    Let not the indiscipline which prevails in the society creep intothe rank and file of armed forces. Instead, let us bring that discipline to other institutions as well.

    Pakistan started with a slogan: “Unity, Faith, Discipline” Atleast the armed forces are sticking to that to this day.


    • sturkman  On November 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      Yes. The Best way to unite Military is to get rid of all Non Punjabis from it Police, Government Jobs and Jobs in Government Owned Industries, Institutions etc because we only need to keep Military and other Powerful Institutions united under control of Elite not lowlife Pakistanis. If Pakistanis are not united so what?.

      It hadn’t hurt us Punjabi Elite a bit, when 56% of Pakistanis had rebelled and chosen to be called Bangladesh in 1971. We had actually become a lot richer after that thank God and Money and Power is what’s important, nothing else, right?

  • Kausar Bajwa  On November 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Brig Asad has penned a factual article.

  • Rauf  On November 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Kausar Bajwa Bhai,
    Lets face it. Soldiers are the only persons who have taken oath to Die
    for the nation and the country while protecting it. If some one criticize
    from the comfort of his/her drawing room, well, I would like to say to
    them is “go and live a life of a soldier for just seven days, facing the
    same condition, any ordinary foot soldier would face.

    • sturkman  On November 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      That’s right. And since our Military Leaders are Allah anointed, they can never make any mistakes, when they tell our Soldiers to shoot Non Punjabis of Pakistan, Palestinians and Afghans, right?

    • Kausar Bajwa  On November 12, 2012 at 2:32 am

      Rauf Bhai

      I agree with you in totality. It has, unfortunately, become an in thing to malign the Army and feel strength tingling in their muscles. What a shame. They just can’t fathom the affectionate relationship that exists between the troops and the officers. Yes, they should be put in a trench and let a tank run over it to give them a bit of feel as to what Faujis go through. It is a sin to make statements like


      • Rauf  On November 12, 2012 at 2:33 am

        Kausar Bajwa Bhai,
        Do not be saddened. It is only the politicians and those who got axes to grind
        who criticize the Armed forces of Pakistan. If you happened to walk around the
        streets in Pakistan and talk to ordinary people, they, from their heart and soul
        praise our soldiers with immense respect.

        You are right there are some idiots with bird brains would say ” O they get paid for it”
        Comparing the sacrifices our boys do in the front line, no way one could compensate
        with an end of the month pay cheque sir. Like I said such critics should spend
        just one week in a trench.

        I would like to recall just one out of thousands of such incidents, remember the
        sacrifice made by Subedar Major Sher Khan who faced the enemy fire and did not
        surrender, and held his grounds. How do you expect those who criticize our
        soldiers to understand and appreciate such sacrifices.

        Regards – Rauf

  • CNU  On November 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Apart from other factors Asad Munir has nicely highlighted importance of morale in the Army. We need solid motivating points to raise morale of the soldier. It is not money or awards that prepare a soldier to lay his life for the security of his motherland. Religion has always been a strong motivational force. Hence, the introduction of ‘Two nation Theory’ by Nawabzada Sher Ali Khan. It may not come up to the logics of some philosophical discussion but it provided a strong motivational base. The very thought of ‘fighting for religion’ and of being ‘soldiers of Allah’ takes the soldiers to another level. The ‘Two Nation Theory’ has been frequently rejected by so called intellectuals, specially after the break up of the country. The worst attack came yesterday from Maulana Fazal ur Rahman when addressing a jalsa in Baluchistan he declared there are three Muslim nations now: one in Bangla Desh, one in India and one in Pakistan. We can’t expect anything different from a person whose elders in Jamiat Ulema e Hind had opposed creation of Pakistan. But this kind of verbosity can prove damaging.
    In another thread I had mentioned that none from the civilian leadership visited any area of operation. They did not take part in any activity that would assure the Army that people were standing with them in their fight. These are all morale building factors. A person whose vision is limited to court room only can not visualize the intricacies and complexities being faced by the COAS. It will do much good to the nation if CJ is given a steel helmet and sent to NWA for a long weekend if not more!
    I still want to hear Faisal Raza Abidi…….
    Long Live Pakistan.

    • sturkman  On November 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      Molana Fazlur Rehman is a Traitor now because he speaks the truth.
      There are no 3 divisions of Moslims in Sub Continent India because neither Bangladeshi nor Indian Moslims are Moslims, right?
      Only Pakistanis are Moslims and even majority of them are not Real Moslims because all Non Punjabis have proven to be Traitors of Pakistan because all of them hate us Punjabis, when we are the real Pakistan, not them, right?
      Allaho Akbar …!
      Pakistan ZinDaabaaD …!

  • Mansoor Mubeen  On November 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Asad munir sahab is right on various counts. But i would put two simple questions.
    When and where media has ridiculed armed forces ? Please give examples. The way our duly elected , legitimate and 100percent elected as per our constitution —president is ridiculed almost daily on our media. There is no example ( although i am an ardent critique of AZ and party )

    After admitting mistakes by army men , what is next, no action. Is it the way to admit mistakes.

    Army is paying by far the lesser price for the crimes in which it has by far the biggest role of responsibility. By any standard nation has sacrifised immensely and has paid and paying the heaviest price for the crimes not done by us. But we can say the religious fraternity is paying the least price.

  • Rizw Saleem  On November 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Sacrifices and accountability are two different things, if the army or some of its staff has done wrong, they should be brought to the book. The army should only be a fighting force and nothing else.

  • Inamullah  On November 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    The army as an institution is a very noble entity and Pak Army has defended the country and the nation very bravely.But brave people also make mistakes for which they should be rightly tried and punished if found guilty.No one is above law.Even Julius Caesar had to pay for excesses committed by him and Khalid bin Waleed was demoted because wrongly or rightly his name was synonym with the victory ………………………………….Inam Khan

  • Faisal Imam  On November 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I agree. The institution is not to blame. It is one of the finest fighting forces in the world.
    It is the bad eggs which have to be taken care of, and fairly early. Only professionals should be allowed and on merit.
    General kahan I is an unsung hero, because he has kept everything on an even keel.
    If the dishonest are being taken to task,they should be; whatever ilk they belong to.

    • sturkman  On November 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Oh yes, yes the ‘Bad Eggs’, who can not be punished. If we go by percentage of Per Capita Income, there is no Military in world that is being paid more than Pakistan Military. Has any ‘Good Egg’ of Pak Military ever said, “Oh, I do not want this much Salary and Compensations because my country and its people are so Poverty Stricken” …?”
      Has any ‘Good Egg’ General or equal rank has refused to take 140 Acres Land that he was getting as a part of his Retirement Package?
      Has any Brigadier or equal rank has refused to take 70 Acres Land that he was getting as a part of his Retirement Package?
      Oh my God, lets talk about Sacrifices, patriotism etc of Military’s ‘Good Eggs’ only and never talk about their Moronic Decisions, Hunger for Power and Greed of Money because they are our Gods on Earth, right ..?

  • Sagheer Ahmed  On November 10, 2012 at 2:29 am

    My Dear Yasmeen Ali Bhain Saheba,

    This is what the truth is.Most of my civilian brothers and sisters (except a few like your good self ) just can not imagine the relations between Officers and Troops (Soldiers).It is more than brother hood where they sacrifices their lives for each other while remaining in discipline. Even to day being a retired army officer when I see the pictures or video of our beheaded soldiers, honest to God it haunts me for days.I can very well imagine the rest less nights and mental agony of Gen.Kayani when he sees the beheaded dead body of his beloved soldiers and officers.
    This unique relations between Officers and Troops is the most God given gift in Pakistan Army only and shall remain so.
    I do appreciate that there are some Columnists and Anchor persons who knows this and do state so in their columns as well.However the most low IQ politicians of Pakistan almost all of them do not understand this and that is the tragedy.
    I do endorse with the writer that focus on the individual culprits which could be any where in the world in any walk of life.I also agree with the writer that God forbid if there is a division in the army, it will lead to anarchy and consequently, no other institution of the state will survive.
    Simultaneously allow me to express my strong faith that such situation shall never arise in Pakistan Army,InshaAllah.
    With kind regards
    Major (R)Sagheer Ahmed

  • CNU  On November 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Here’s the link for Abidi’s speech in the Senate. Please see if you have time and patience. He is convincing at some places and trash at others.

    Don’t miss some interesting comments!

  • idrees  On November 12, 2012 at 2:30 am

    Every man to his task. But those who retire without fighting a battle and yet benefit and rule lordly over others in matter outside their domain is a shame indeed. Unlike pre world war 2, Nations fight now not armies. Civilians are now part of every battle since Vietnam, as quite clearly evident in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Napoleonic days are over.

  • Imnor  On November 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    A thought-provoking article.
    It appears that once Jinnah died,Pakistan, generally fell in to coma.
    Kh.Nazimuddin was a man of integrity but he lacked the grit of the Quaid.
    Improvised leaders like Ghulam Mohd/Sikander Mirza, despite their personal
    abhorrence of financial corruption, promoted Ayub Khan who stabbed in the
    back finally. The curse of ‘Law of Necessity’ was let loose on united
    Pakistan by Justice Munir which led to the demolition of political process
    and encouraged Ayub to take over. While West Pakistan, as per our
    tradition, started submitting, generally,to the new order; the East
    Pakistanis resented the army-rule. Hence the conspiracy theories were
    floated in West Pakistan successfully because the people here do not
    bother about anything, generally, other than ‘halwa maanda’.
    Having served in East Pakistan, I believe that we did not have to
    surrender to Aurora our Eastern wing alongwith 90,000 Pows. It is said
    that when Niazi came back as a Pow, thanks to the Simla Agreement, people
    in his village welcomed him by lighting candles. That, in some way,
    explains our approach to Pakistan.
    In all fairness one would always find good elements in any institution and
    Army is no exception. Even today we have people with integrity in
    Army/civil bureaucracy but they appear to function as ‘UN Observers’
    God save Pakistan.

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