Note: In this article the author has discussed How Civilian Support of Military is Crucial to Pakistan’s National Security.
There is no use denying it: Pakistan is a security state. For now, at least. It is very important for those Pakistani citizens who have the best interests of the country at heart, to understand exactly what that entails: For Pakistan, for our people, the armed forces are so absolutely essential to the survival of our nation-state that without them it would be virtually impossible to maintain and uphold our territorial sovereignty. That much is crystal clear. The military is essential for Pakistan’s survival and its future, simply because we have so many threats and inimical elements hell-bent on harming the Pakistani state that without a string deterrent in the form of the Pakistani military, they would eat and carve up the whole country. We simply cannot allow that to happen, under any circumstances and at any cost.
The very life of our Federation is protected by one entity and one entity alone: the Pakistan Armed Forces. In contrast, one proper look at the threats we face beckons a realization that our very survival is attached to the glory and success of our defenders. The threats to Pakistan, they do not sleep. They are watching our every move, with bloodlust and quiet contempt, waiting for and grabbing every opportunity to harm us. India, her hindutva fascist tendencies and existential urge to make Pakistan a failed state subservient to Indian whims, by hook or by crook. The BLA, BLF, TTP, ISKP, and their insatiable collective desire to destroy our future, and our way of life. Iran and her blind eye to the terrorist safe houses in Iranian territory that so often spit out the scourge of terrorism in an attempt to hinder the stabilization of our most valuable province, Balochistan. Afghanistan and their support for the scores of terrorists groups that litter the rural country (a tactical nightmare for any invasive force), so much so that it is said that lift a rock in Afghanistan and you will find an armed militant. Some of these are radical ideologues whereas most are hired mercenaries, able and willing to become hired killers for the highest bidder. That is the reality of our eastern neighbor. A curse of geography if you will. China, with her ever-growing influence on the world stage remains a strategic partner, but I for one, am wary of the Chinese. It is essential that Pakistan’s influence grows in tandem with the Chinese and we gain the maximum attainable benefits out of the relationship, lest our bilateral relations mirror those of Canada and United States, i.e. one of habitual and forced subservience. That is not in our interest and is a facet of our strategic cooperative partnership with China that many policymakers in Pakistan ignore. Nevertheless, we face a smaller and much different kind of threat from China’s ascension to a global superpower. All these threats entail that it is vitally important for Pakistan’s national security that our armed forces and military might must be allowed to modernize, expand and grow, alongside our socioeconomic, diplomatic and political strength.
I am not here to tell you that the Pakistan Army deserves our respect and love no matter what they do to the country’s defense and foreign policy standings, I’m saying that it is a fact that it is essential for our country’s national security that we support our troops and the Pakistan Army’s leadership in their operational directions and decisions. This is not a concern in many other countries, but for Pakistan’s threat matrix and operational situation, it is. The bond between the military and the people is of the utmost importance to our country’s success in any military campaign. If we weaken the military through demoralizing the officer corps and the military leadership and high command through a targeted social media campaign, it is Pakistan that gets weaker, and not the ranks and offices that lead the Pakistan Army, and by extension we are putting our own selves at a massive tactical and strategic disadvantage, in a regional neighborhood where a strong military means survival, and a weak one means absolute ruin. Indeed, we have found concrete evidence that anti-state trends on social media have collaborations from and the support of Indian state and military psychological warfare and grey-operations wings. Whether this is knowingly or unknowingly is not evident. Campaigns against the state and the military have a monetary element as well. It should be investigated who is financing this and where the money is coming from. Certain political parties cannot drag Pakistani national security through the mud just to create a favorable political narrative for themselves. That is not the right thing to do.
Most defense and military commentators shy away from the subject and avoid it all together but let me say this and make it very clear: the military had nothing to do, and indeed should have done nothing, to stop the Vote of No Confidence against then Prime Minister Imran Khan. The legality of the VoNC and it being caused by hostile foreign collusion could be and should be properly investigated by the courts and the legal system, but the military deciding not to interfere with a purely parliamentary process, is something a democratic society should be proud of. I personally feel that it is essential for our country to have a better and shining future that the will and voice of the people be heard, and fresh, free and fair elections be done as soon as possible. I in my personal capacity would endorse Imran Khan for the Prime Minister, but the scathing, unfounded and relentless criticism and abuse of one’s own military forces, combined with efforts to alienate the military’s leadership from the soldiers, and indeed the people that they have sworn to protect against all threats, is a wrong against Pakistan. It will not and should not be tolerated. Those that seek to create divisions in and hatred against the most important card we hold in Pakistan’s deck do not seem to have the best of the Pak Sarzameen we hold so dear at heart. The real perpetrators of this act, regardless of whether the VoNC was right or wrong, were the politicians that bought it to the assembly, which is the representative of the people, and successfully passed it according to the constitution. The same politicians that were voted in by us, the people. With that said, all sides need to take a step back and stop trying to focus so much on clearing their name, and instead look to what is best for the country.
All stakeholders, including the government coalition, the military, the opposition and the people should realize that the country stands at a decisive time, similar to those in the first few years of our independence. It is our duty to ensure we do not waste more time than what has already been wasted and do what is best for the country we live in, and owe our lives, freedom and identities to. History will judge all of us, and we must ensure we collectively stand united on the right side, no matter what, or the institutional reputations of the state will become damaged beyond repair to such an extent that the people lose trust in these institutions, leading to very dire consequences for Pakistan and our security.
The will of the people cannot be suppressed. It is not wise to think that it can happen. Also, no one can and should not fight the state. A strong military means a strong Pakistan. The opposite is also true. So, we must ask ourselves the very important question: what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Since I am an engineer, let me tell you what the science says: It releases and expends an infinite amount of energy, which then destroys the very fabric of space-time. Everything ends. We cannot let Pakistan go down that dark path. I hope that better sense will prevail and both sides offer each other an off-ramp for de-escalation, and do what is the right thing for the future of our nation. For our children. For the Flag. For Pakistan.
Author: By WhiskeyPapa, DG PSF 719 Cell