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GEN Kayani’s comments on Monday hailing the bravery and commitment of the Pakistani people to democracy by turning out in large numbers to vote on May 11 despite the threat of terrorist attacks are perhaps an opportunity to turn the question around: will the army leadership now accept that there is in fact a consensus inside Pakistan against militancy and that it is time for the military to catch up with public sentiment? That Gen Kayani has been forthright in denouncing militancy inside Pakistan and challenged militancy apologists is a good thing and he has done it consistently for nearly a year now. But the fight against mili-tancy requires some fundamental shifts on the part of the army that go far beyond words of praise and statements of resolve.

Where, for example, is the army’s strategy for rolling back militancy inside Pakistan — beyond military operations in the tribal areas and parts of KP? To hack off some branches of militancy — as the army is doing in confronting the anti-state TTP — while leaving others unmolested — the infrastructure of ‘jihad’ orientated towards Afghanistan and to some extent Kashmir is believed to be intact — is simply not adequate. Then there is the army’s own history of sponsoring jihad that needs to be reckoned with honestly — something even the forthright army chief has been unable or unwilling to dilate on. And finally, little is said about the armed forces’ internal situation, about the rank and file and leadership tiers that may increas-ingly be infected with xenophobia, extremism or even worse. In fact, Gen Kayani’s stance so far can be interpreted as a sign of concern mixed with confusion, reflecting a military leadership that perhaps has finally understood the problem with its age-old policies but is too cautious or fearful to try and reverse them. Given the number of troops that have been killed on the frontline, Gen Kayani should be aware that to defeat militancy, clarity is needed — on all sides and with all audiences.

Comments (14) Closed

Peace May 22, 2013 05:46pm
There should be a straight forward agenda acceptable for all stack holder. Talks should be held with TTP
hyderphd74 May 22, 2013 01:41pm
"one of the worlds bravest armies?" What country are you talking about? Surely not Pakistan. An army that has yet to win a single war, that has yet to control the militancy it itself created, that refuses to get out of politics, that controls and decides the country's policies, especially the foreign policy.
P. Joseph Raju May 22, 2013 01:36pm
A very good editorial. Hope the Army will honor the will of the people. The Army must leave the politics and stop running the parallel economy. Must help the government to forge better relationship with India. As long as the enmity with India is maintained, there is no hope for the country. Violence begets violence only.
HNY2013 May 22, 2013 02:33pm
Butterfly: "one of the worlds bravest armies" as in what?
pathanoo May 22, 2013 03:53pm
BRAVO!!!! A very unpalatable truth that couldn't be said any better or more courageously.
mahmood May 22, 2013 04:42pm
Infrastructure of Jihad against Afghanistan and India is not maintained by Army but by allies of very same political parties who oppose military actions against in FATA and won recent elections. The editors of Dawn should be posing that Question to future prime minister that "will state of Pakistan act against parties like JuD and former SSP at cost of alienating voters in Lahore." In fact, in KP , the political parties who are opposed to democratic Afghanistan without any Taliban involvement , are forming new government and they should be asked the same question rather than Army Chief.
Ravi May 22, 2013 06:33am
Good taliban and bad taliban ideology is costing Pakistan , innocent lives, promoting exremism radicalisation of society and symathy for millitancy. This ideology has to go if pakistan is sincere about containing millitancy in Pakistan.
butterfly May 22, 2013 07:39am
We need a clear cut policy and its implementation in letter and spirit from the military against militancy and extremist outfits..... mere slogans and half hearted words are NOT required....will general kiyani pls answer how successful our military has been in tackling terrorism? i can answer it for him: a big NO! and if they cant do it, whats the use of one of the worlds bravest armies?
Kesar May 22, 2013 06:54pm
It was tongue in cheek statement. Don't take it literally.
Sikander May 22, 2013 08:22pm
Kind of presumptuous of Dawn to think that just because people voted, means that they are against Afghans and Kashmiris fighting to defend themselves against foreigner terror. Nonsense, like all Dawn editorials.
Faisal Ashfaq May 22, 2013 08:35pm
It's time the civilian government play it's part.
El Cid May 22, 2013 09:38pm
The general needs to attend to his responsibilities of defending and protecting Pakistan and its Constitution and leave the politics and civil administration to its elected civil authority. General, sir, enough of your internal meddling while the LoC is in disarray and even the mangy poodle up North is acting as if he is a big dog now. Enough is enough.
El Cid May 22, 2013 09:53pm
Bharat's actions have not been in the interests of peace. The violence and acrimony are initiated, without exception, from across the border. General Kayani has acted with professional restraint, has essentially bent backward, faced ridicule in the expectation of peace...that saner heads will reign in Bharat. General, sir, time to take off the gloves...
Zia May 23, 2013 03:31am
Time of hypocrisy is over now people should have a clear picture what the army does in regard to curbing militancy. If a clear line is drawn in regard to terror outfits we can take everyone onboard. Why the right leaning politicians are not clear on this. Our unclear policy is causing difficulties in relation to Afghanistan - put the truth on the ground and it will never fail