Time for us to close ranks
June 17, 2011
Pakistan is passing through the most critical phase of its history. Terrorist attacks on civilian and military installations, drone strikes, suicide bombings, corruption, political instability, poor economic, target killings, deteriorating law and order are few characteristics of today’s Pakistan. At this point of time we need to follow Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s three principles: unity, faith and discipline. Our nation has to stand united against these challenges. Only then can we make a difference.
Today our armed forces are facing a tremendous pressure from America, India and other like-minded countries. Our forces are engaged in a bloody war in tribal areas and rendering mammoth sacrifices for the motherland. This is the time to support them and give them a helping hand instead of blaming and demoralizing them. It is a justifiable demand that there should be an across-the-board accountability, defense budget must be discussed and approved by parliament, civilian government should formulate foreign and defense policies and armed forces must support them.
Today we are fighting a war that has played havoc with our safety and security. Our armed forces and intelligence agencies are fighting this menace with courage and zeal. They are sacrificing their lives against militants in tribal areas and other parts of Pakistan. Pakistan has lost more than 5,000 of its security personnel in the last 10 years. Almost 35,000 civilians have also lost their lives in terrorist attacks. We are still at war and in the recent past we have faced some deadliest attacks against civilian and military forces. The most dreadful attack was against the Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel at Police Training Centre, Shabqadar in Charsadda in which more than 98 paramilitary FC personnel were killed and hundreds injured. It was the deadliest attack after the Osama Bin Laden incident. Hundreds of civilians and security personnel have also been killed in series of attacks by the militants.
This situation is getting worse day by day. We have to formulate a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy to overcome this menace. Our armed forces and intelligence agencies cannot fight this war without full support of public. Our armed forces and secret agencies are under severe scrutiny after the OBL incident. The army and ISI also addressed the joint session of parliament and answered the queries of parliamentarians. They have also accepted intelligence failure in the Abbottabad incident. Now it is imperative for us to burry the hatchet and move forward. Pakistani security forces never expected such intrusion from the US forces because they consider America as an ally in the fight against terror and they also use its air bases and routes. But after OBL incident, the army has taken a stern action against the American military presence in Pakistan.
According to reports, Pakistan has shut down three secret centres of CIA. Two CIA offices have been closed down in Peshawar and one in Quetta. It has also asked the US to cut its troops on its soil. Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan did not disclose the number of trainers’ currently in Pakistan but said the entire military mission comes to between 200 and 300 people. This shows Pakistan Army’s seriousness to avoid any future mishap or an Abbottabad-like situation.
Our armed forces and intelligence agencies are fighting against an invisible enemy. To fight such menace, we need collective effort and shared response. Our media, civilian institutions, political parties, the military and intelligence agencies should work collectively. If we indulge ourselves in blame-game and focus on “head rolling” or “point-scoring”, then we will be helping those wanting instability and turmoil in Pakistan. There must be accountability of every institution, as no institution is supreme or above the constitution. There had been mistakes by the judiciary, political parties, army and intelligence agencies. We cannot blame just one institution for the deterioration of political and security situation in Pakistan. There is need to clear the mess which we have created in last 60 years. Our institutions, whether military or civil, need improvement and modification. Only then can we effectively fight against terrorism and extremism.
We have to forget our past and move forward as a viable nation. Only collective response can save us from more destruction and mayhem. Today our armed forces are facing a tremendous pressure from America, India and other like-minded countries. Our forces are engaged in a bloody war in tribal areas and rendering mammoth sacrifices for the motherland. This is the time to support them and give them a helping hand instead of blaming and demoralizing them. It is a justifiable demand that there should be an across-the-board accountability, defense budget must be discussed and approved by parliament, civilian government should formulate foreign and defense policies and armed forces must support them. Intelligence agencies must protect the citizens and come up clean on issues like missing persons and kidnapping and torture of journalists etc. The people of Pakistan love and cherish their armed forces and intelligence agencies because they are defenders and protectors of Pakistan against any external and internal threat.