Muhammad Faisal Ali Ghumman
In prevailing circumstances, the word democracy perhaps doesn’t suit Pakistan and those who are staunch supporters of democratic norms in a country that was marred by successive martial laws and constitutional amendments favouring successive regimes- civil or military- need to review their approach.
The passage of Pakistan Army (Amendment Act 2020) and similar acts relating to Pakistan Nay and Pakistan Air Force by the parliament is evident of the fact that the politicians can’t ignore the strong presence of a key state institution in all matters concerning the state.
It’s the same opposition led by PML-N and PPP that raised so much hue and cry over Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to extend three-year tenure of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa.
A common question arises in the minds of Pakistanis that if premiers like Zulfiqar Bhutto opted for Gen Ziaul Haq, a relatively junior officer, to command Pakistan Army, and later Nawaz Sharif randomly picked Gen Pervez Musharraf while bypassing seniority, why PM Imran Khan was criticized for recommending three-year extension in Gen Bajwa’s tenure.
Why the former Chief Justice of Pakistan intervened into the matter of Gen Bajwa’s extension when the same judiciary kept authenticating the dictators’ unconstitutional steps in the last 70 years.
Now the passage of the Army Amendment Act from the parliament after wasting much time in judicial proceedings and constitutional cover to extend the period of any army chief in future would at least close the doors of criticism, legal fight and unnecessary exercise by the judiciary and politicians.
The positive criticism is the right of each state pillar and public at large, but criticism for the sake of damaging national cause or political point scoring should be discouraged.
Without going into debate that if Gen Bajwa’s extension is a right or wrong step in the wake of growing border tensions and internal and external conflicts, we should seriously think as how the state institutions could work together to strengthen themselves within constitutional boundaries and improve all governing indicators through mutual consensus.
If Gen Bajwa is going to serve Pakistan Army for three more years after passage of Army Amendment Act 2020, he would not only have to play more responsible inning to secure the country from internal enemies, but also safeguard at least three borders from external threats.
The blame game of political governments accusing a key state institution interfering into politics or the same institution criticizing the democratic governments of lacking vision to run the state affairs must be doing away with.
In my opinion, the definition of true democracy hardly suits Pakistan as the incumbent constitution of Pakistan has lost its true spirit and required to be further amended to suit civil-military relationship!
–The writer is blogger, Editor lahoremirror.com, former English Content Specialist 92 News HD, Ex-Editor Daily The Business and Ex-Correspondent Daily Dawn