The Pakistan Army should not fulminate against Imran Khan’s chicanery, for reasons best prescribed by the ‘common sense’.
What did IK say that provoked our beloved Army to such an extent that it had to storm forth from its headquarters, shouting that it was laying down lives for the security and safety of the people of Pakistan every day while IK was defaming it?
IK said that an exiled politician (Nawaz Sharif) will pick as the new army chief a general who will be loyal to the Sharifs. In fact, the statement is a cliché. It did not merit any notice. Ironically, the Army took it very seriously and gave a strong response, thus making a mountain out of a molehill.
IK should be thankful to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) for doing him a remarkable service that the greatest PR company on earth would have failed to do. A trite comment becomes breaking news in a moment. Every journalist/analyst/anchor/commentator of any level of credibility or expertise starts uploading videos on IK’s army-love-and-hate soap opera.
Our history is short and stagnant. Read ten-year old newspapers without looking at the date and you will feel as if you are reading today’s paper. The same issues that existed 75 years ago surround us today, but with more complexities.
We all know that Z.A. Bhutto (ZAB) ignored many senior generals and appointed General Zia-ul-Haq as the army chief, thinking that he was meek, docile and loyal, for he prayed five times a day! But soon after, wearing the uniform of the army chief, Zia flexed his muscles, toppled ZAB’s government and sent him to the gallows.
Nawaz Sharif appointed Musharraf as the army chief, thinking he was a Mohajir and a junior general, thus, will never bite the hand that feeds him. Musharraf, too, acted like Zia. Instead of sending Nawaz to the gallows, he consigned him into exile.
So, one thing is for sure. Army chiefs are not serfs. They start exerting themselves soon after assuming power and can easily trample on the constitution, institutions and citizens’ rights. Renowned columnist Ayaz Amir is right when he says that if you appoint even an army butler as the army chief, he is bound to act like the real chief the very next day.
Politics was never the army’s job, but somehow it became its mainstay. Similarly, spin is not the ISPR’s job. A very ordinary spin-doctor can handle IK better than ISPR or a retired general-cum-political commentator. (ISPR should hire one, and on a related note, I am free these days!)
In such a bleak situation, given the grave responsibilities upon its shoulders, the army should act wisely. It should learn to tolerate and ignore. IK’s nonsense can be best answered with silence.