Pakistan Army: History

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The wannabe heroes

By Ayesha Siddiqa


the Kargil crisis…cost Pakistan a lot of money, precious lives and reputation.

Gen Jamsheed Gulzar Kiyani’s…stint as head of Fauji Foundation’s company Marri Gas and then as the chairman of the Federal Public Services Commission .

the military’s right to ten per cent jobs as granted by the constitution which is an absolute fallacy. The ten per cent quota was granted by Gen Ziaul Haq and is mentioned in the Establishment code of the government and not in the constitution.

The retired officers serve the purpose of airing views that the serving cannot. So, while some would air the concerns of the pro-democracy lobby, others speak for the pro-US, pro-China or pro-Islamist views within the defence organisation. With the years of engagement in politics of the military what could one expect but for the noises to become more audible?

But why should these people be treated as informal spokespersons of the internal lobbies? This is because the military suffers from the lack of a strong institutional mechanism for internal dialogue. The Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, (JCSC) which was established during the 1970s to redress this very problem, came to nothing due to the army’s take over in 1977. Gen Sharif, who was the first chairman JCSC, was of the view that the Zia martial law killed the institution. Since then, the three services have used two mechanisms: (a) retired servicemen and (b) media to debate their interests and present their perception. The smaller services also have favourite journalists they can lobby to present their standpoint since they do not have any other option.

The Kargil crisis itself is an example of the absence of string internal mechanisms for debate and analysis. The retired Gen Kiyani says that even the ISI was not informed about the operation. The three brigadiers who refused to fire on civilians in Lahore in 1977 were real officers. The writer is an independent strategic and political analyst.

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