Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s recent statement was apt, timely and thought-provoking. It is a positive contribution that evoked a lively media debate. Vested interests tried to portray it as the “clash of institutions”. However, difference of opinion is not at all a sign of “clash” between state organs, especially in a mature and democratic society.
Pakistan today is neither run by a dictator, nor solely governed by foreign diktat. Indeed, national interest is supreme; and wisely the army is not claiming monopoly of it, neither can any other individual or group!
At the moment, Pakistan’s environment is internally diverse and externally demanding. National political power in the state is shared between multiple power centres and is passing through a “defining phase”. The military, judiciary, national and provincial governments, political parties, media, civil society and even reformers are all stakeholders. However, the COAS address was appreciated in numerous quarters; both the PPP and the PML-N responded positively.
The army has and should further distance itself from previous military dispensations. It belongs to the nation and is adored by the people of Pakistan. Similarly, the ISI, while bravely defending the nation, has further improved its image. In the forthcoming elections, it is not supporting any political party, as was the perception some time ago.
The previous mistakes committed by all in the country, including the army, can be accounted individually, since no one is above the law. Undoubtedly, the Supreme Court is revered by all Pakistanis. By the same token, ‘army bashing’, as appears in a section of the sensationalised media, is unwarranted. In fact, when seen in the light of hostile geopolitics, it betrays the sinister aim of an alien game plan.
Today, some of the major geopolitical and national issues concerning Pakistan are:
Afghanistan in post-2014 period: President Barack Obama’s re-election means that the 2014 exit strategy for USA is reconfirmed. Pakistan does not need to fight a war, which the US is itself aborting. The Americans are leaving (even if a rear guard is left behind), while the Talibans are staying in Afghanistan. Pakistan needs peace in Afghanistan and peace on the Pak-Afghan border. Pakistani army needs to be freed from war on its western border. This already enjoys the broad consensus of Pakistanis and the army is contributing heroically to that end.
Balochistan and foreign intervention: Balochistan is in turmoil due to past mistakes and hostile geostrategy. The Indians are keen to block Gwadar and Americans agree; in addition, they want to isolate Iran. A so-called West Asian strategy is being chiselled to create independent Balochistan.
Reportedly, Dr Waheed Baloch, an immigrant, requested the US administration to intervene in Balochistan through the CIA (a la Libya and Syrian model). This was an attempt at balkanising both Pakistan and Iran by alien forces. This was initially a neocon-sponsored balkanisation project. It is hoped that a re-elected President Obama will maintain friendship with Pakistan, rather than allow wildly dangerous misadventures in his second term. China and Russia support Pakistan and Iran; nevertheless, they are also striving to reach the Indian Ocean from Balochistan.
The Baloch have to be brought on board so that Pakistan is united for a national purpose. All Pakistani citizens must support a new amiable army as well as political initiative for peace in Balochistan.
Peace with India and Kashmir: Peace with India is logical, since both countries have nuclear weapons. The nuclear powers cannot afford direct confrontation, simply because it is totally destructive and unaffordable. Pakistan’s nuclear strides cannot be taken lightly, nor can peace be one-sided. Even as Pakistan seeks peace with India and trade flows multiply, India should reciprocate. Instead of planning ‘Cold Start’, Kashmir needs to be resolved.
Economic cycle: Pakistan needs to revive an economic national cycle. This warrants social, political and economic reforms that will boost its growth. In addition to augmenting its traditional economic base, Pakistan needs to embrace geo-economics. Its pivotal geography and diligent demography, can convert the Gwadar dream into a reality. Peace and prosperity go together!
Today, the army is ready to defend Pakistan and its national interests. The people, through both rustic and intellectual wisdom, understand the national interests. Needless to say, the army supported by the nation will defend the country against all odds.
Geopolitics of Peace: by Nadir Mir. Author of the book “Gwadar on the Global Chessboard” Blog: Pakistan and Geopolitics wwwpakistangeopolitics.blogspot.com/ The author is a retired Brigadier General of the Pakistan Army.
Windows to Russia!
The views of the above author are not strictly only the views of Windows to Russia. They are an independent view from an outside source that brings a better light on the world in general and Windows to Russia is very pleased to have Nadir Mir’s thoughts on its pages today and in the future. So take a look at his site and read a few articles. – Kyle Keeton
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