The Pakistan Army: Pakistan’s Enemy Within
Dr. Firoz Mahboob Kamal
The costly white elephant
The Pakistan Army is the remnant of the British colonial army built only to protect the British imperial interest in the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East. India could successfully indianise these British-made mercenaries, but Pakistan failed badly to pakistanise them. Pakistan Army’s cantonments still work as the bastions of secularism –the most powerful antidote to Islamisation. People used to be demoted or expelled from the Pakistan Army even for keeping beards –the known marker of the best Muslim generals of Islam’s golden days. Pakistan cantonments are the protected islands of western culture. The culture of common rural Pakistanis is alien to them. Supplying wine to the officers on public money was stopped only by General Ziaul Haque in the late seventies. Even now, the Army is ever-ready to protect the criminal autocrats of the Middle East. They are their ideological and cultural cousins. They even feel trigger-happy to bomb madrasas and mosques –as seen in General Musharraf’s era.
The Pakistan Army is one of the most costly Army in the world. Giving a good salary, good accommodation and other costly incentives are not the only burden on the public. An Indian general retired only with an apartment in his possession. But a retiring Pakistani general must be made a billionaire by public money at the end of his service. Even an Army major deserves a good size residential plot in the most lucrative area of the federal or the provincial capital of Pakistan. This is why India can easily deploy 7 hundred thousand soldiers in Kashmir –a land of only 10 million. Whereas Pakistan Army found it very costly and impossible to deploy even 35 thousand soldiers in East Pakistan in 1971 – a land of 75 million against 250 thousand Indian soldiers.
Pakistan Army’s best known old icons like General Ayub Khan, General Yahiya Khan, General A. A. Niazi and General Tikka Khan didn’t join the Army to serve Islam and Muslim. They joined the British Army only as mercenaries. They didn’t have any love for Islam and Muslim. They have love only for their own career. As a result, they failed to show any love for Pakistan and its pan-Islamic backbone. Many of these Generals like Yahiya showed tremendous love for wine and women.
The diehard secularists of the Pakistan Army –as trained and mentored by the British are known for their in-built incompatibility with the ideology of pan-Islamism – the reason for creation and sustenance of Pakistan. In later days, they proved to be the worst enemies within. They failed badly to defend Pakistan’s border and integrity. They could excel only in occupying their own countries again and again. They could also excel in building costly residential estates for their professional mates in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and other big cities.
General Ayub Khan –the original architect of Pakistan’s dismemberment proved to be a rabid racist and Bengali-hater. He had severe Bengali-phobia. He thought that if democracy sustains, the Bengali Muslims will have a dominant role in Pakistan’s politics. To put a bar against that, he killed democracy. And, when he made his own constitution in 1961, he abolished participatory parliamentary form of government. He ruled as an autocratic President of Pakistan for 11 years. His one-man rule successfully killed the sense of ownership of Pakistan in the mind of the Bengali Muslims –the majority Pakistanis.
President Ayub Khan built the most costly capital city on the earth in Islamabad from scratch -while most Pakistanis were not even able to bear the cost of making a liveable house in a village. It was a monumental crime against the poor majority in one of the poorest countries of the world. It generated a strong sense of exploitation in the mind of the East Pakistanis. It is worth mentioning that in those early days, Pakistan used to earn its major share of foreign currency from jute export. This is why jute got the name “golden fibre”. A costly capital was built at the expense of the country’s integrity. It added nothing to Pakistan’s fame, defence or economy. It could only expedite its debacle in 1971. It appeased only its bureaucratic elites.
It was the criminal failure of the Pakistani intellectuals, politicians and academics that they couldn’t understand the lethal impact of such crime against Pakistan’s own existence. Instead, many of them find it a source of pride and euphoria. A state can only become a failed state when such fatal policies get executed. It was a grotesque betrayal with the objective of Pakistan’s creation. Such a betrayal can only bring Divine punishment. Pakistan is already in the midst of that and finding no way-out. Worldwide begging has been its rulers’ permanent preoccupation.
The road to dismemberment
Out of his Bengali phobia, Ayub Khan even thought of dismembering Pakistan. Justice Muneer –Ayub Khan’s law minister and ex-Supreme Court chief justice writes in his book “Jinnah to Zia” about his such intention. Justice Muneer reveals that Ayub Khan asked him to ask Bengali politicians to demand separation from West Pakistan. Justice Muneer discussed that subject with one of the East Pakistani politicians. In response, he was told, “We –the Bengalis are the majority in Pakistan, why should we separate? You are the minority, you like separation from us, you can do that”.
Fatima Jinnah made a sincere attempt to save democracy and the integrity of Pakistan. Ayub Khan labelled her as an Indian agent and spread filth about her. He engineered an electoral victory in 1964. It is also strongly believed by many East Pakistanis that Shaikh Mujibur Rahman’s 6 point secessionist formula was framed by Ayub’s favourite bureaucrat Altaf Ghauher and handed over to Mujib by one of Mr. Ghauher’s Bengali colleagues.
Whereas, the real builders of Pakistan were the Bengali Muslims. It started from giving birth to Muslim League in 1906. Bengal –the most dominant province of Indian politics, culture and education was the bastion of Muslim League politics. Bengal had three Prime Ministers of undivided Bengal from 1937 to 1947–as per the British Parliament’s India Rule Act of 1935. All three Prime Ministers were from the Muslim League. Since the Bengali Hindus were educationally, politically and economically much advanced, such a political victory of Bengali Muslims made a huge boost on Muslim League’s Pakistan movement. Even the final and the decisive battle of Pakistan movement called “Larke lenge Pakistan” was fought in Kolkata on 16 August in 1946. More than 5 thousand Bengali Muslims gave their lives in that Congress and Hindutva-led massacre.
Muslim League couldn’t make such an impact in other Muslim majority provinces. The majority of the Punjabi and Pathan Muslims didn’t support the idea of Pakistan. Even in the last days of British rule, the Punjab province was under the rule Sikander Hyat Khan led-Unionist Party – the combined political front of the Sikh, Hindu and Muslims –strongly against the creation of Pakistan. The Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) was ruled by the Indian Congress led by Abdul Ghaffar Khan –the so-called frontier Gandhi. The real existential threat started to build up with the occupation of Pakistan by its power grabbing notorious Army. The Army-occupied state badly failed to deliver justice to its majority people. As a result, it met a disgraceful fate in 1971 by the hand of India.
The highest ibadah became the devilish tool
Defending a Muslim state is the highest ibadah in Islam. In the golden days of Islam, serving in the Army was never an elitist profession. It was indeed the humblest way of engaging in a holy jihad. In those days, people used to join the war with their own money, own weapons and their own horse. In those days, they could raise the biggest superpower in the world by giving huge sacrifices. Serving in the Muslim Army used to be considered the best way of paying the price of paradise. Allah SWT asks for such investments in money and blood repeatedly in the Holy Qur’an. But in Pakistan it is a different practice and culture. The people join the army to access incredible pomp, power, pleasures and wealth that are not easily available in other professions.
Joining the Army gives entitlement to exercise huge political, economic and administrative power. The Army can even influence the judiciary and government policy. Since the creation of Pakistan, the country was ruled most of the time by the Army –directly or by the proxies. So the Army created a new class of ruling elites and made a huge number of new feudals/zamindars. Such a medieval practice of land endowment was started by General Ayub Khan to create a constituency of pet cronies and collaborators. They were his foot soldiers in his political and military rule. General Ayub Khan fought his war against Pakistani people, democracy and Islam with the help of these mercenary foot soldiers.
Such unethical practices do not exist in any civilised country. It is unknown even in neighbouring countries like India and Iran. Still, the Indian and Iranian soldiers are not less motivated and committed in war than those of the Pakistan Army. As long as such a system survives in the Army, Pakistan does not need any foreign enemies to destroy its integrity and existence. The Pakistan Army can do it alone.
In 1971, the Pakistan Army made unprecedented history by surrendering to idolaters in bulk. In fact, in the 14 hundred years of Muslim history, such an act of surrender to the infidels has been the work of only Pakistan Army. They blame politicians for the failure in 1971. Whereas, Pakistan’s politics has been run by the Army since 1958.
In fact, the most honest rulers of Pakistan like Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Liaqat Ali Khan, Khawaja Nazeemuddin, Mohammad Ali Bogra, Chowdhury Muhammad Ali and Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy were the product of civilian politics. None can blame them as corrupt. They used politics as the tool of serving people. Unlike the Army Generals, they were the fighters against British rule. In those 11 years of civilian rule, Pakistan didn’t have any war on the border, neither had any threat to her integrity. In those days of democratic politics, the people of East Pakistan had a strong sense of ownership of Pakistan. In the 1965 war, they strongly stood against India.
Evil breeds evils. Now Pakistan suffers from a political crisis. This is mostly the work of the Pakistan Army. Political garbage like the dynasties of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are the products of the military regimes. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif didn’t come to politics on their own merit. Bhutto was the protégés of General Ayub and Nawaz Sharif was brought into politics by General Zia. They used politics as a tool to corrupt people and the whole statecraft.
Financing the luxuries of the elites and the debt-burden on the poor
Pakistan is indebted to foreign countries only to finance the luxuries of the military and civil elites. The common people pay the huge debt. These are highly immoral and criminal practices that are incompatible with the teachings of Islam. Afghanistan is poor but a debt free country. Their leaders are not on tours for begging all over the world like the Pakistani leaders. Because, the Afghan government doesn’t need to finance the luxuries of the white elephants in the Army, judiciary and the civil administration. In Afghanistan, a Supreme Court judge attends his court peddling a bi-cycle. But the Pakistani judge needs huge protocols whenever he is on his way to the court.
If the Pakistan government has enough money, that money should be spent to build houses for the homeless people and never to build residential estates for the retired army officers. If the common people like teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, builders, businessmen, peasants, factory workers and government employees can build their own houses, why can’t the Army officers build their own houses? Every person is serving the state. Therefore, why should the Army get any exceptional privileges from the taxpayers’ money? Is it for their guns that they carry? Should the gun decide the state policy?
If the common people can go to the offices by their own means, why do Army people need cars and jeeps? The possession of arms and ammunition doesn’t make any one superior to others. Neither does it give any ruling rights to the people. It needs ethics and morality to be superior to others. But such moral basics are ignored in the Pakistan Army. They still believe that politics and policies only come out of guns. It is a pity that since 1958, the people in the Pakistan Army have been practising such an awful belief. It has already damaged Pakistan’s moral, political and economic health. 01/12/2022