By Ilahi Bakhsh
Amid the controversy surrounding the confession of former ambassador to USA Hussain Haqqani, the rhetoric regarding military’s role in state’s policy making has surfaced again. We always blame our security agencies for their involvement in our national and foreign policy. That is true, nonetheless, but we don’t like to ponder over the actual causes of this successful interference of the military apparatus in civilian affaires. Until those very causes are eradicated our critique of military involvement in civilian affaires will go unheard. When we spare some time to try to find those causes it will become clear that the main problem lies with the civilian leadership itself. To get this proposition make some sense I would like to have a look at our national history.
Pakistan, no doubt, was created on the basis of the two nation theory. Events like Hindi Urdu controversy, Hindu opposition to the partition of Bengal, rejection of the Muslims’ demand for a separate electorate, Nehru report and all such events added to the strength of two the nation theory. The idea of Pakistan became clearer after Allama Iqbal’s Allahabad address. Successive events consolidated the idea of a separate state for Muslims. After Pakistan was created the idea remained the same. The objective resolution made it clear that the new state would serve certain purposes: two of them were very important: 1. Help its citizens to achieve excellence in the worldly affairs, 2. Facilitate its citizens to achieve the afterlife purpose as provided by Quran and Sunnah. Both of these objectives have been clearly stated in the principles of policy section of the constitution as well. Events afterwards were not very conducive for the realization of the ideals. Political bickering, corruption and power struggle on the part of civilian leadership led people to look up to military as a sole savior of their fate. But in times to come, it (military) also proved incompetent to rule arbitrarily. Pakistan saw successive military takeovers; all of them were caused by the incompetency and political power strife among the civilian stakeholders.
Today, although the military does not have any explicit intervention in civilian affairs, we attribute the key role in national policy making to military right until now; though the notion holds some water too. But looking at a certain phenomenon as it is, is like shooting arrows in the dark. We must need to find out the root causes of this plague. As it has been stated earlier the loopholes are present in the civilian leadership itself. Though the civilian leaderships come into power legitimately, using methods that only God knows about, but due to their wrongdoings and corruption – that military keeps good record of – they become reluctant to expand their authority over the military institutions fearing that the latter would bring forth their wrongdoings to people. As a result military gets free hand in doing what they deem as most appropriate in the circumstances and we keep digging for faults in those actions. While our civilian leadership does not have enough courage to question an institution subservient to it we attribute all of our miseries to the institution in question. How many of us have seen a wrongdoer question the action of some other and people have appreciated that. That is exactly how our situation is. We need an honest leadership who fears no one but God, who has a record of fair play and righteousness. For this purpose, the Election Commission must undergo reforms. Untill it becomes impartial the defaulters will keep coming into power. Furthermore, we as a nation should learn the art to elect righteous leadership who can define every institution its due role so that the rhetoric that military controls everything should cease to exist.
The writer is Teaching Assistant at Political Science Department, Islamia College Peshawar.