A LOOK at the media landscape is enough to suggest that the latest narrative that the government is keenly promoting is that the civil-military rift is ‘dead and buried’. There is, unfortunately, a long history of such a rift in the country even though the Quaid-i-Azam had made the matter clear. While addressing the officers of Staff College in Quetta, he had said: “Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy, but it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues, and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.”
In the light of these words of the Quaid, it is not an ideal situation when the ‘government and the armed forces are on one page’; the government actually has to be at least a page ahead of the armed forces, and only a strong government can establish the civilian supremacy perceived and articulated by the Quaid.
For achieving this, some basic changes in the defence higher command need to be made, like making the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) more powerful, and putting an end to the practice of giving extensions to the individuals occupying the office of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
Air-Cdre (retd) Khayyam Durrani
Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2022