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If you don’t mind my saying so …

November 10, 2012

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.