Qamar Bajwa has acceded to the most lucrative and coveted post within the establishment of Pakistan, succeeding Rahil Sharif as the Chief of Army Staff. As the nationalist Pakistanis bid adieu to their rockstar Rahil Sharif through twitter and other platforms, I try to put forward the reasons why Pakistan should lament their celebration, if not, deplore the folly of Pakistani army.
The Pakistan army extorts a disproportionate share of GDP from the national income of Pakistan and justify their inordinate expenditure by maintaining hostility with India on the LOC. The primary reason why every diplomatic effort from India to establish peace is retaliated with a terror attack is because the Pakistan army fears that any pacific and amicable environment between India and Pakistan would prove detrimental to the interests as their future budgetary cuts on the defense sector. The military would become useless and they will lose the authority that they currently wield over the domestic and foreign policies of Pakistan. Their stronghold over the Pakistan’s economy, polity and society would cease to exist. The sustained Pakistan’s hostility with India damages the Pakistan’s economy to a tremendous extent. First of all, they lose a big share of their national income to serve the luxury of Pakistan’s inefficient army, which otherwise could have been spent on the education, health, skill development and energy needs of Pakistan. Secondly, they lose the significance of their strategic location as they could have been the gateway for India to Afganistan and other Central Asian countries which would have benefit them economically and geo-politically. Post Uri attack, the anguish and public sentiments within the domestic public led to an ouster of Pakistani artists working in India putting their professional career at peril.
The ramifications of Pakistan’s Army policies are not limited to relations with India but it extends to some major security challenges that exists within the boundaries of Pakistan. The brutal crimes, murder, torture, rape and genocide by Pakistani army in the erstwhile east Bengal led to a revolt against the central authority ultimately leading to creation of Bangladesh, which in many ways is more peaceful, prosperous, tolerant, stable and developed country vis-a-vis Pakistan. But, the Army did not learnt it’s lesson and continued their policy of suppression at Balochistan which is currently the nucleus of insurgency in Pakistan vehemently seeking independence from Pakistan. The support of army to the “good terrorists” to further their malicious geo-political gains in India and Afganistan has dealt a severe blow to the security apparatus of Pakistanis. The ecosystem that nurtures, trains, arms, finances and foments terrorism as a state policy has led to the creation and bolstering of terror groups that are inimical to Pakistan itself. Incidents in 2014 at Peshawar school, in 2016 at Bacha Khan university and recently, in a mosque at Quetta reflects the fact that the snake has started to bite it’s master. While the master suffers, the distressing point is that the children and normal citizens have to lose their lives because of the fanaticism of the army, the body which is generally meant to protect people’s lives from lethal threat. Post Uri-terror attack, Pakistan has become more isolated in the South Asia and it will continue to get isolated at the international fora unless it changes it’s gears, which seems unlikely in the near future.
Unless the democratic values and civil society in Pakistan are strengthened, the people would continue to suffer. But, the problem is that even the young Pakistanis have been taught so much enmity and hostility against India in their school books to justify the legitimacy of an army state that even the educated Pakistani prefer military rule over democracy as was evident when posters were put out few months back in cities of Pakistan literally urging Rahil Shareef to do a coup. It reflects the obsession of people with military rule and their ignorance of the fact that army has done more damage to them than anyone else.