Don’t Forget Armed Forces’ Sacrifices and Services


By Sajjad Shaukat

At this critical hour, Pakistan’s armed forces have been coping with internal and external challenges of grave nature in order to maintain the security of the country. While, Indian fanatic rulers are also escalating tensions with Pakistan and have continued shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir by violating the ceasefire agreement in relation to the Line of Control (LoC). Especially, Pak Army and Rangers have been boldly responding to India’s unprovoked firing at the LoC.

Undoubtedly, these forces have been fighting a different war, while enemy is also different, who employs subversive activities of various kinds. In this respect, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has repeatedly stated that Pakistan is facing the challenge of hybrid war.

But, it is our misfortune that Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has launched a movement to topple the current elected regime.

In this regard, addressing a PDM rally in Gujranwala via a video link from London, ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accused army chief Bajwa and ISI chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed of rigging elections and toppling his government to install Imran Khan in his place. During the election-rally in Gilgit Baltistan, he, again, targeted them.

In one way of the other, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz also criticized the army and country’s main intelligence agency ISI.

Earlier, PML-N leader and former speaker of the National assembly Ayas Sadiq allegedly said: “The government had pleaded to parliamentary leaders in a meeting to let Indian pilot Abhinandan be freed. The chief of army staff also attended the meeting”.

In response to Ayaz’s remarks, Director General (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen. Babar Iftikhar stated that such comments were “disappointing” and “misleading…following the attack on Indian troops in occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama area, India showed aggression against Pakistan on February 26, 2019, in which not only did it face defeat but was humiliated around the world…we shot down two enemy war planes…Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured…country’s entire civil and military leadership was united in the decision”.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi dismissed PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq’s statement, saying that “the government had taken all parliamentary leaders into confidence…the captured Indian pilot was not mentioned in that meeting…Highly irresponsible statements are being issued for political gains.”

However, PTI government had also released the Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan as a gesture of peace.

Nevertheless, intense anger has been shown by the ruling party PTI, various political parties and the public, including many entities of the PML-N itself and those of the PDM in the aftermath of the remarks of Ayas Sadiq and online speeches of the former Prime Minister Sharif.

Besides top officials of the government, on various occasions, Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that “Nawaz Sharif is a jackal who ran away to London…Sharif, who has been handed a seven-year jail term on corruption charges…is trying to sow discord in the military, the judiciary and the government in an attempt to escape accountability…the jackal used inappropriate language against the incumbent army and ISI chiefs…is trying to stir up a rebellion in the Pakistan Army …Sharif as a protégé of army generals is now trying to re-establish himself as a champion of democracy…the opposition [PDM] is attempting to blackmail me so I can forgive them for their alleged corruption…Their interest is against Pakistan’s interest…These people are speaking the language of Narendra Modi…it was disappointing what Ayaz Sadiq was saying about Abhinandan.”

Debate which continued among the politicians regarding the key institutions of Pakistan intensified after the statement of the ISPR about the Karachi incident.

In this context, in a recent statement, ISPR said that officials of the ISI and Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, involved in the kidnapping of Sindh Inspector General Mushtaq Mahar have been removed pending further departmental proceedings for acting “overzealously…with the fall out of the desecration of Mazar-e-Quaid…on the orders of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa”.

Last month, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had called on Gen. Bajwa and ISI Director General Lt-Gen. Faiz Hameed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest of PML-N leader Capt (R) Mohammad Safdar in Karachi on October 19.

Besides some MNAs and MPS of PML-N itself, including several ministers of the PTI appreciated the report.

Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rejected the inquiry report, while Bilawal welcomed it saying: “This step will elevate the stature of the institutions.”

Maryam Nawaz and PML-N leader ex-President Shahid Khaqan Abbasi criticized the findings of the probe.

Regrettably, it seems that these hostile leaders have forgotten the sacrifices and services of the armed forces.

In this connection, Pakistan’s armed forces and ISI have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists. Peace has been restored in the provinces of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi, including other vulnerable regions.

And in the recent past, terrorist attacks particularly in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which is central point of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) show that the CIA-led Indian RAW, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency National Directorate of Security and Israeli Mossad are destabilising Pakistan and want to damage the CPEC project which is part of China’s OBOR or BRI. Besides, Pakistan is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. Therefore, it has become special target of some Western entities.

Anyhow, recall armed forces’ innumerable services and sacrifices especially army such as the resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons during the Swat and Malakand military operations, counter-insurgency operations and restoration of law and order on many occasions—during catastrophic periods—floods, earthquakes, coronavirus pandemic, locusts’ attacks etc.

Notably, Pak Army has not only been successful in uprooting the anti-state and separatist elements, but also contributed a lot in socio-economic development of Balochistan and  has made strenuous efforts to develop the infrastructure in the province by providing the people employment opportunities to bring the Balochis in the mainstream of the country. For the purpose, Army has not only established schools and colleges in Balochistan, but also set up technical and industrial institutes in the province besides giving military training to the youth, while protecting mega-projects and the CPEC staff.

When more than 250 children died of malnutrition and diseases during four months of this year in Thar region of Sindh, Pakistan Army established a free medical camp in Tharparkar. Army doctors and paramedics provided essential medical treatment to over 1,800 patients.

Moreover, since 1984, Pakistan’s military is fighting intermittent battles against the Indian forces in the Siachen Glacier region despite the unfavorable weather conditions.

It is mentionable that during the previous regime of the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, WAPDA was going to be bankrupted and he had invited the Army to manage its affairs. By collecting the electricity bills, even from the influential persons, army’s personnel had saved WAPDA from bankruptcy.

Nonetheless, Pakistani armed forces have been the redeeming saviors of nation under all circumstances and always reached out to all citizens of Pakistan. But, at this crucial juncture, some leaders of the PDM, particularly those of the PML-N have ignored the sacrifices and services of the Pakistan’s armed forces and ISI for their political gains.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations