I-Day introspections


Democracy is the way to go

Few would disagree with PM Pervez Ashraf regarding Pakistan’s future being tied to the continuation of democracy. One would also readily agree with the president that the institutions must strictly confine themselves to their respective spheres and none should try to stifle the parliament. One may only add that equally important for the survival of the system is to stem the tide of extremism and concentrate on eradicating the existential threat posed by the terrorist organizations. Thus, Gen Kayani’s resolve expressed at the Independence Day parade at Kakul to fight terrorism is welcome. Many will, however, keep their fingers crossed till they see how the objective is pursued.
It goes to Gen Kayani’s credit that he has owned the fight against extremism and militancy without ifs and buts. As Gen Kayani has put it, it is a most difficult task for the army to fight against its own people and this has to be done only as a matter of last resort. Military operations have been necessitated by the fact that the militants want to enforce a system of their own choice through the use of force and terrorist acts. They have already killed thousands of civilians and military personnel, destroyed schools, damaged the economy and have thus destabilized the country. It was under these circumstances that the army had to be called in to establish the writ of the state in Swat. It is currently fighting the insurgents in several FATA agencies. The government now claims that it has abandoned the policy of strategic depth. The army and the civilian law enforcement bodies would have to target all militant groups operating from the country’s soil to prove that they have no favourites.
All institutions and organs of state have to work together to strengthen Pakistan. Kayani is only partially right when he says that the purpose behind the creation of the country was to establish ‘a welfare Islamic state, where foundation for a tolerant and modern society could be laid’. It makes one wonder why Kayani does not mention that the country was also conceived as a democratic state. Coming as it does from the COAS, the omission is likely to create suspicions. Many hold that repeated military interference in politics is responsible for the retarded growth of civil institutions. This explains the issue raised by Kayani regarding why the civil administration is not able to deal with terrorism without the army’s help. What is needed is for every institution to strictly work within the limits imposed by the constitution. The tendency to encroach on others’ turf has to be strictly kept under check.