Mercifully, Gen Ashfaq Kayani has announced his intention of stepping down on completing an extended tenure as the army chief, putting to rest one aspect of the ongoing speculations.
His has been an eventful tenure.
He inherited a highly demoralized army when he took over from Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2007. Among a number of other such incidents, 207 soldiers under a Lt Col had surrendered to a handful of Taliban in August the same year. Writing on this incident, I commented that, “far from cowardice, the officer displayed a high degree of moral courage, since he (and his troops) were not convinced of the morality of this war due to Musharraf’s flawed policies”, or words to that effect.
[quote]The army did not succeed in Kurram, Orakzai and Khyber as it did in Swat [/quote]
Within months, Kayani had switched his divisional commanders, addressed all garrisons, and announced the return of all serving officers employed on non-military duties. He had also convinced his troops that this was our war – a morally justified one.
Kayani had also learned his military lessons well – an unconventional war cannot be won through the strategy and tactics of a conventional war. Spurning American advice, he demonstrated his superior understanding of this new generation warfare in his conduct of the Malakand and Swat operations in 2009, stunning his American counterparts with his success in less than six weeks from commencement.
That his South Waziristan operation was less successful may be attributed to the fact that US troops, inexplicably, decided to vacate six posts on the Durand Line just as the operation began, permitting Hakimullah and the bulk of his supporters to escape.
He undertook welfare projects for the rank and file, brought quality and affordable education to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, rescued flood victims, visited troops at the forefront of battle, and opened up that fantastically successful scheme to rehabilitate young men who had been brainwashed to become suicide bombers.
Within a year of taking over he had, not only restored morale within the army, but had also won it back the respect and support of the people of Pakistan.
But self-perpetuation has been the undoing of all people – another lesson that Kayani ought to have learnt from Musharraf, but didn’t.
His second, extended tenure of another three years undid most of what he had done.
[quote]His second term was a period of innumerable controversies[/quote]
This was a period of innumerable controversies. Raymond Davis was followed by the Osama Bin Laden execution by US Marines in a helicopter-borne raid. The ‘Memogate Scandal’ followed soon thereafter. The Salala attack by US troops executing OBL, followed by a prolonged closure of the GLOCS to Afghanistan, happened in quick succession.
I wrote on each incident as it occurred and collectively explained the whole in my book on the OBL execution titled, “Operation Geronimo: the betrayal and execution of Osama bin Laden; and its aftermath”.
But the rot was deeper. The army was not succeeding in its anti-guerrilla operations as it had earlier. While there are cogent military reasons explaining why the army could not succeed in Kurram, Orakzai and Khyber agencies as swiftly as it did in Malakand and Swat, the army was also not performing to its potential, nor did its leadership appear as confident as it was in 2009. Kayani seemed to have lost some of the confidence that his troops had reposed under him in his first tenure.
Perhaps the mere fact that Kayani was given an unprecedented additional three years was sufficient to explain this change. This was compounded by the fact that he seemed to many to be making too many compromises. That was interpreted by people as a sacrifice he made for his second tenure. I cannot say for certain.
I can certainly state unequivocally that the antics of his siblings which have made them rich beyond their wildest dreams did not help. While Ashfaq Kayani might not be a direct beneficiary of their schemes but he was, at the very least, guilty of turning a (not-so) blind eye to them.
However, his announcement that he will not seek another extension has helped restore a lot of ground that he lost in the period of his second tenure.
One achievement of Kayani’s which is almost certain to endure is his acceptance of the principle of supremacy of elected representatives.
If nothing else, in his second tenure Kayani can – more truthfully than some other army chiefs who also make that claim – look back on his command with justifiable pride for having ensured that democracy be given the chance it deserves.
I do NOT think so… as time will tell …!!!
Swat was never a tribal setup and in most areas more developed than the rest of the Province, thanks to the fact they had functioned successfully as a Princely state Succeeding in Swat was easier than clearing a small area in the settled dists. The bigger question raised before and un- answered till now———those swati talibs were army sponsored ! Did 4 million families leave their home and hearth so Musharraf could point to his stabilising rule against the “juggernaut”of advancing taliban..
It was the luck of Pakistani citizen that gen kayani did not want to go the way of illustrious generals like Ayub, Yaya, Zia, Tikka, and last but not the least gen Mush. probably his siblings would have prevailed upon him by counseling ” hey dad we do not want you to be humiliated in the history books of honest writers. “. three years term is more than enough to tear a person . extension was a bribe to secure stability of zardari’s chair. Poor deserving subordinate waiting for the elevation . great harm done to his family . make it clear. what was his achievement ? which part of pakistan is safe. which border is free from terrorists criss crossing. which army unit is not vulnerable for surprise attack. which Jail was not broken . which bomb thrower was caught, prosecuted and punished. none. Any other army chief would have done the same if not more.
select and appoint a new chief as per merit and seniority. do not be scared of him. tell him his tasks and precise period of service. No one is indispensable. others are waiting
I think Mr Kayani’s India-centric approach helped India enormously. He caused enormous damage to Pakistan’s national interest and enormous benefit to India.
Due to his India-centric policy Pakistan lost USA; a financer of Military budgets and and supporter of Military regime. Having lost a free-lunch from USA, he ruined the chance of military taking adventure into politics. It is not that he supported democracy, rather after Kerry-Lugar bill Army lost free lunch and had no other option with SC asserting the writ.
Army retaliated but again for wrong reasons. Army could have killed entire Taliban and other insurgents with Amrican help. They wasted this historic opportunity, in such case India would have been a pathetic by-stander amidst great US-Pakistan alliance. The habit of thinking Afghanistan as their province is still not over.
Finally he allowed Pak army to become a throughly indictrinated one. Army is now a great liability for Pakistan. They can not defend Pakitan from inside or outside.
The Author is foolishly admiring him. Author can not see the obvious…
Must appreciate a well balanced and objective analysis of Kiyani’s extended term.
Kiayani had the vision and uplifted Army’s image in his fist term, but lost much ground during his second term. However, by taking timely initiative of announcing his intention of leaving, he restored some of the lost respect. Though marred by the misdoings of his near ones, he himself managed to keep a clean record. Hope his successors would follow him in upholding respect of continuity in political process.
Over stay never welcome. Gen. Kiyani is a cool minded person. He supported democracy which is his main achievement but he failed to clean homeland from terrorists and bombers. Partially agree with the analysis of the author.
Public debate on such matters will further compound the confusion and self-derogation created systematically by our “independent” media, judiciary, NGOs, wittingly or unwittingly, and surely by certain forces inimical to Pakistan. Better Shaukat Qadir and the likes refrain from muddying the already much muddied water drowning the whole nation; the nation that is utterly confused, directionless and turning hysteric. Though all Khakis are no angels but any negative comment by a Khaki on Khakis will add salt to their injuries and further insult to the institution that is already under horrendous pressure. Moreover, half truth is too dangerous a truth for all of us. A mature, honest and wise writer should base his column on whole truth and not on half-baked truth.