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If you don’t mind my saying so …

Published Nov 10, 2012 02:10pm


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Congratulations to all of us! At long last, we are being promoted from 'bloody civilians' to 'idiots'. This unexpected decision to promote us, lesser mortals, came when the media intrepidly asked Lt General (R) Javaid Ashraf Qazi: "Sir, it is said that Pakistan Railways was robbed of billions of profit money during your golden tenure?" In fact, the problem does not lie with His Majesty (the General), the root cause of all this lies with the rationale that a class in this society put itself above any inquiry or accountability and that is why for the supreme “national interest” of the country, it is better for you and I, to just shut up.

As this promotion was not enough, another retired General who is also being questioned in the same case, Lt General (R) Saeed uz Zafar, spoke his mind out and 'gifted' the nation with advice to vote for Almas Begum (Almas Bobby), free of cost. If you haven’t heard about Almas Bobby before, let me enlighten you in this regard; she is a Pakistan's most popular and active transvestite. This satirical remark about the democratic system came as an educative surprise because General Sahib showed the kind of wit which was previously only restricted to above average intelligent minds.

On another front, the generals who are being questioned in the NLC scam were reinstated and their uniforms returned for their court-martial proceedings. It is a new practice, the likes of which are hard to find anywhere other than in Pakistan, where when Generals are held accountable, they are rewarded with a uniform before the verdict. Unfortunately for politicians, their clothes are stripped off instead. Anyways, we should all try to put the past behind us as advised by the incumbent Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. But sir, if the media is being offered the above mentioned loose deliveries; they are doomed for out-of-the-park sixes.

According to the same statement, the country is passing through a “defining moment”, as always. It seems that the army was the sole custodian and determiner of “national interest” in our country earlier; their already burdened shoulders are now being burdened more by the duty to mark “defining moments” whenever they arise. Although, it was also hinted by General Kiyani in the same statement that the army is ready to share the cake of “national interest” with other stakeholders, whether this hint materialises into action (or inaction, to be more precise) only time will tell.

It is commendable that General Kiyani admitted that his institution has committed mistakes in the past, but he additionally turned his guns to the active role of the judiciary in recent times. It seems that some recent judgments, the grilling of FC Balochistan and its attempt to question the questioners (read intelligence agencies) in the case of missing persons might have run a shock of concerns in the ranks which in turn pressurised the Army Chief to let a whiff of it out. Let us not forget that this leadership of the army, under the command of General Kiyani, has predominantly kept a distance from the juicy, inviting fruit of politics; if your mind is reasoning contrary to it and flashing examples, well, old habits die hard.

To the dismay of some quarters, General Kiyani’s statement is not a prologue of a clash between the judiciary and the army. It should be recognised instead as a complaint to the judiciary and the Pakistani media.

Pakistan is passing through a phase where every institution of the country is trying to redefine its powers, in a situation like this it is very much possible for institutions to be at conflict with each other. As far as General Kiyani’s complain regarding the role of the media, although not named directly, in prejudging persons (military or civilian) is concerned, it is a fundamental principle which should not be overlooked in endeavors to top the rating charts.

Like other institutions, the media is also going through a learning phase where it is inevitable to err. These falters should be considered simply as ‘mistakes’ and should not be termed as acts of treason or playing in the hands of foreign powers because the media is also a part of this country; let us adopt the policy of inclusion rather than exclusion. The Pakistani media and people are fully aware of the sacrifices of our armed forces and they pay it the highest tribute possible.

Let us all bring our combine efforts together and build Pakistan because this time we are beyond any doubt passing through a defining moment.


Ali Munir is a pen labourer associated with the media; however, he shies away from being called a writer.



The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (49) Closed

BRR Nov 10, 2012 03:36pm
What a promotion indeed. And the Army does come from the same lot.
Ahmed Saeed Nov 11, 2012 01:43pm
"Let us all bring our combine efforts together and build Pakistan because this time we are beyond any doubt passing through a defining moment".
Pakistan Nov 10, 2012 02:33pm
Its high time that army should understand its role. Its role is to defend the borders under orders from the government upon which opposition and judicary keeps an eye.... simple as that!!
raika45 Nov 10, 2012 02:38pm
How is it that a large number of your generals and so forth can find adobe overseas like in England, Canada and so forth.Take the case of Musharraf.Where is he getting his money from, now that his talk shows have evaporated.How come they have so much money to settle overseas without working?Why are your generals taking over public listed companies as chairmen or directors when they have no idea as to what the company is doing? Who is the force that gives these people these jobs?
Ragu Nov 11, 2012 12:11pm
Pakistani army and Pakistani intelligence agencies do seem to have helped Pakistan at all. Democracy takes time to mature and develop in spite of all its deficiencies. May be Pakistani values do not and can not endure the democratic practices- corrupt politicians or not. Why can the generals step in to democracy, contest elections and govern the country, if they cared for it. That is how it happens in other nations.
hakeem Nov 12, 2012 09:12am
Take a good look at Turkey, when the civilian government and parliament are trustworthy the army can't do nothing. It is because civilians are so bad at ruling here in Pakistan that the army had to act. The economy is always in better shape when military rules Pakistan instead of the jageerdar mafia. It is not the army that corrupts, it is the politicians that are so greedy that they cannot even share a bit of the state wealth for the poor. May the legacy of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his party turn to ash !
ali wadood Nov 12, 2012 08:03am
and sacrificed so many.
Jalaluddin S. Hussain Nov 10, 2012 03:31pm
I agree with the writer, but feel that Pakistan Army has stretched itself too much. They should know their function- to protect the physical borders of the country and not to make money or property. The four Generals - General Ayub, General Yahya, General Zia and General Musharraf - have done their level best to destroy democracy in Pakistan and helped in the break-up of the country.
ROHIT PANDEY Nov 10, 2012 08:37pm
Laboring with a pen? Interesting......
Mubasher Nov 12, 2012 01:36pm
Well written article
Razzaq Nov 12, 2012 03:56am
Mr Ali Munir! I think 1st u should join Army, know INs and OUTs of the Army then write an article on "The role of Army in National Interests"....
farmerdr Nov 11, 2012 05:19pm
In "the national interest" our Army has to re-learn the painful lesson that it is a subordinate uniformed service subservient to civilians in the judiciary, civilians in the legislature and civilians in government.
Citizen Nov 11, 2012 04:41pm
not worth commenting. amateur writing
Shaukat Afridi Nov 11, 2012 03:48pm
Let us all come out of our deep hibernation. The civilians only go where they are told to go, not a millimeter further. Ayub, Yahya, Zia and Mush were all guilty of high treason for usurping sitting civilian Governments through the barrel of a gun! Did anyone ever ask the Army to try these Generals for high treason and have them shot by a firing squad or hang their skeletons on constitution avenue? The British did just that 200 years ago! We are a nation with no principles. Just a bunch of sheep who can be herded in any direction by any one with a long stick and a few dogs to keep us on track!
taimur khan Nov 11, 2012 11:42am
I have been deep admirer of Gen Kayani and I found him a very tolerant person ,man of principal very professional. But I really wont support gesture he passed in his recent statement.The recent role of judiciary is exemplary and all institute should follow the verdict for their own betterment and remediation rather taking it personal. If fighting with past can make our future better we should fight with it
suresh Nov 12, 2012 09:37am
you are seriously day dreaming, tell me which country is ruled by Army, their role in to protect the borders and not to run the country. See the status of Pakistan having ruled by Army for more than 40 years and never allowed the civilian government to run the country properly.
ghori Nov 11, 2012 07:24am
Nice notion expressed, something like similar are happening in Pakistan.
Nawab Nov 11, 2012 07:10am
You indeed labour your pen. Will take a while to become a writer :)
Ahmer Nov 11, 2012 04:07am
It is wrong to write such disrespectful articles against the Army that has sacrifed so much for Pakistan.
Observer Nov 12, 2012 10:22am
The in a way responsible for the religious and sectarian violence in Pakistan.
Observer Nov 12, 2012 10:22am
In a way military is responsible for religious and sectarian violence in Pakistan
human Nov 12, 2012 09:24am
And half the country, and on the way to lose another half.
FT Nov 12, 2012 09:32am
@Ali , you have a good point... the corrupt generals must be separated.... however it seems to me selected accountability , same level of justice shall prevail for all. when the sins for corrupt politicians can be wiped out by an NRO i believed during that NRO process they missed to include the generals name...
Muhammad Khurram Riaz Nov 11, 2012 10:20am
no one is above law but first we have to decide our national interests and custodians of it. Because in my 36 years of life i have never seen civil govt doing its job in true letter and spirit rather they always robbed my country and that invited the Army. There is only one institution left in this country whom people see in difficult times but now with the help of foreign hands our own people are destroying the image of Pakistan Army. What i want in my country there should be rule of law and speedy justice for all but who will implement this? Well i have one suggestion for all Pakistanis/ institutions to stop playing with my country Pakistan with the help of its enemies and do your job according to law and don't cross your limits. Pakistan Army should not be discussed in media to please our enemies, remember its only Army who is saving our country over their lives-------think about it my brothers and sisters.
Haroon Nov 10, 2012 11:08pm
Brother Ali Munir I agree every bit with your article. However, this mentality is not limited to generals only dig deep a bit and you will find that all rank and file share his mentality and vision for the country and its people.
Saeed Nov 10, 2012 09:09pm
El Presidente Kiya Naheen knows best. Just attended a lecture where it was pointed out that the dictators are more afraid of the pen then the sword. So my dear fellow continue with your pen labour, It will bear fruit one day.
Ali Nov 10, 2012 11:32pm
Sad to see Gen Kayani statement. The way Aslam Beg boasts about this statement he is giving an impression that Kayani has given this statement to protect Aslam Beg. Funny the way Generals are showing desperation. No one including judiciary media politicians public nor parliament has said anything wrong about brave soldiers everyone has been only pointing corruption of Generals. These Generals are dangerously involving soldiers to hide their own corruption. Kayani should keep honourable armed forces and corrupt generals separate and don't try to confuse people. Will Gen Kayani also ask Allah no to do any accountability of Generals on day of judgement? Shame
Hassan Nov 10, 2012 07:31pm
The day Army is disintegrated, this Country will be a history.
Murtaza Saeed Nov 10, 2012 07:16pm
"The Pakistani media and people are fully aware of the sacrifices of our armed forces and they pay it the highest tribute possible."....So many officers and jawans of the armed forces have laid their lives; I rarely see a program or a news on the TV except for a a short news telling so many security personals have been killed and so many Taliban have been shot dead in an attack..........The Giyari incident was highlighted more on Facebook and foriegn media than our own which only restricted it to slides running at the bottom for that whole day. ..Dear writer, at least do justice to your own master piece written above. In Asghar khan case the court has accused the Generals, what about the politicians who had taken the money, were they given the amount on gun point or they were infants that they could not differentiate between right or wrong?...........If army has taken the oath of keeping itself away from politics, have the democratic process produced any results?........We as a nation cannot even respect our dear President who is so called people's elected head of the State what to talk about other institutions, he may b good or bad, corrupt or honest but after all he is the head of the state. I am not supporting or defending army but justice should be for every it the politicians, judges ,the Generals or the common man. Every one in Pakistan has a lust for power he may be in any profession and Army is no exception for that matter. The biggest blunder that we make in our country is that because of few individuals we blame the whole institution and that is an absolute mistake. Every one is innocent until proven guilty and so are the above mentioned Generals, if the court declares them guilty they should be made an example for everyone but unless and until they are proven guilty. It is a request to every brother/sister journalist that don't create wrong perception about the institutions among the masses, don't held institutions responsible for individuals act. It takes 30-35 years of struggle and hardship to become a General, not by paying few millions. Change and improvement cannot come in a single day it always takes time otherwise an abrupt change in anything has a negative impact.
ImmI Nov 10, 2012 10:30pm
One of the questions raised by our army chief was "Are we strengthening or weakening the institutions?" Our Generals have the answer of this question in the "best national interest". Bringing the culprits under the law, is the weakening of institutions? Pointing out those that have been playing with the destiny of this country with the group-think mentality is the weakening of institutions? Being the citizen of this country I have the little right to think about the "national interest" of this country. And I think the best national interest lies in remaining of each institution within its own circle of influence defined by the constitution.Accountability always brings strength not the weakness.
Mast Malang Nov 10, 2012 06:29pm
My Pakistani Nation, please do not forget the past. That past which was rotten and full of wrongs should be revisited and all the persons whether belonging to military or civilian beaurocracy or Judiciary or the Politicians must be produced before the Laws of justice. These are the people who instead of moving the country forward pushed it decades back and now we have all kinds of senseless insurgencies in a divided society without any sense of honour, shame or direction. Please do not forget the Past.
kamaljit Singh Nov 10, 2012 10:17pm
Finally we can see a democratic Pakistan when every institution can be put to test. It is not only the politicians. If politicians make a mistake the people reject them but if army or any other govt agency takes the role to determine the national interest they can not be dismissed by the voters. Finally the people are the best judges and kudos to Dawn for such bold articles.
U.E Hayyat Nov 10, 2012 06:16pm
With all due respect to the blogger. I think "idiot" is a correct word to be used by anyone for our general Pakistani population.
Haroon Suleman Nov 10, 2012 05:29pm
The message of this article is good. we all should focus on it to build a better and prosporous Pakistan.Insha Allah!
Syed rizvi Nov 10, 2012 06:08pm
If the quaide azam would have been oresent this time,he would have taught a befitting lessonsto these genrals. Who pride themselves without a trac record
Adeeb Nov 10, 2012 05:17pm
It is good that the author shies away from being called a writer. COZ HE IS NOT. This piece starts from north pole and remains there. Suddenly at the end we land at Moon.
FT Nov 12, 2012 09:27am
and what about those innocent people who are sacrificed in Karachi and Quetta on daily basis???? when the situation will be out of control then our inept govt will call of military to take action and so many people will be sacrificed and then the political parties will cry..
faizanwarraich Nov 10, 2012 04:07pm
Well written shy-writer.It's time to bring it down the attitude of Generals!.Just look at the Raouniyaat at the face of Rt.Mirza Aslam Baig! while giving interview to Salim Safi in Jirga Tv programme. well ,if they calling us Idiots and Bloody civilians then we have no option to say them traitors and corrupt army generals. At the same time I respect the Pakistan army and the wish to serve by nation at any cause .but if you cross the line ,then cross it and see the blow! We have been suffered and wasted long 40 years by these Army generals. If we want to turned our country into turkey model ,then it's time to treat on merits with Army generals, positions at the same time. this writer is not shy! he can be catch at
Khalid Nov 10, 2012 04:12pm
Good one Ali. May Allah give us will to share love and peace with each other. Ameen!
Nayal Nov 10, 2012 10:05pm
Army doesn't own anyone who does not abide by LAW. May it be a soldier or a General.
Falcon Nov 10, 2012 11:39pm
Ali - Good article. The only feedback I have is that howcome there is a significant difference in tones for the first part of the article and the last part of the article (by the way, I found the latter part more relevant because of sober and logical analysis).
Patriot Nov 10, 2012 08:08pm
What a good service your newspaper is doing to this nation, I feel pity on this Nation and shame on u. Do u think ur media owners and journalists have not done anything and not big blackmailers. So all should be then dragged on roads....Your media managers r so pious that no body can point finger on them, they have been dipped in Zam Zam and rest entire nation can be humiliated by a pathetic sort of Journalist who has no manners and can play anybody's grace in bazaar. This media is just a filth and misleading us to a chaos and nothing else. I wish someone deals with u guys to put u on right path. It is u who are enemies of this nation and country and just do all jugglery for the money. Just playing ur part to malign armed forces of Pakistan who r sacrificing their lives to get this country out of the mess. If someone has done corruption just do justice and punish him but not disgrace institution.
TM Nov 10, 2012 07:53pm
Mr. Munir, it has become fashionable to bash army, recklessly. The onus of present situation lies with a thoroughly corrupt media and a lunatic chief justice who through his unparalleled political adventurism is inviting such a backlash that will doom the country. I think you should know the explanations very well.
darr Nov 10, 2012 05:02pm
Beautiful picture of General Kiyani, Specially the blue cap, Caps are of great interest as they are changed as the boss is changed from British to US
Rahmat Nov 10, 2012 05:02pm
Pakistani army needs to realize that ultimately it is subservient to civilian authority. Gen. Kayani should stop making political comments. it only dents government's authority. Pakistani people can change their beautiful land into cradle of prosperity if they stop pampering army and the religious nuts.
omer Nov 10, 2012 05:53pm
I guess media has assumed this responsibility of defining our national interests. You see every johny with a pen or mike, debating every subject, ranging from defence to national security to foreign policy to sanitary work. Do we have something known as specialisation????
zoro Nov 10, 2012 05:33pm
Anywhich way ... Pakistani Army has lost all the battles ans wars... thou they claim otherwise ...
Ather Nov 11, 2012 12:46pm
Well written A/Munir! It was a sheer pleasure to read your article. Two thumbs up!
Thinker Nov 10, 2012 03:21pm
As great Milton Friedman said, Corporations are people. Similarly Institutions are people. So institutions are not defining power but people running those institutions are defining their own power....Its a case of zero ethics in a country...How do u solve it ? Fight for conservative principles...less govt power/institution power and more free market power....this will make pakistan prosperous again like 1960's and reduce corruption....this is what makes USA great