- Strictly follow the Constitution
On Monday there were media reports about a dozen opposition figures having held a meeting with the COAS where the DG ISI was also present. The politicians had come on a telephone call. This marked a change from 2017 when COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa briefed the Senate Committee of the Whole House on national security in Parliament House. The purpose of the meeting this time was reportedly to develop consensus on a proposal to give Gilgit-Baltistan the status of a province. Avowedly other national issues also came under discussion. It was reportedly emphasized by the COAS that the Army would stand by the civilian government whenever the need arose. It was also maintained that the Army would not allow creation of anarchy. Further that the Army was not involved, directly or indirectly, in any political process. There is a perception that the PTI government itself has dragged military into politics by claiming, while persecuting the opposition and silencing the media, that the Army and the government were on the same page.
In less than a week after the meeting with the COAS, the opposition parties met in Islamabad to announce the formation of the Pakistan Democratic Movement. The event was addressed virtually by former President Asif ali Zardari and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. A plan to kick-start a protest movement against the PTI government was announced. As it does not want to be dragged into politics, one expects the Army to be neutral in the government-opposition confrontation. One also expects the newly announced PDM to conduct its campaign peacefully. In democracies, non-violent movements gather the largest numbers and have great impact.
There is a need for everyone to learn from past mistakes. Pakistan has been ruled by four generals for nearly 30 years during which East Pakistan got separated and Siachen was lost. The state over a state that former PM Nawaz Sharif talks about did not come into existence without the help extended by politicians in return for crumbs of power. Much of the problems that the country faces today are the outcome of the government departments and state institutions transgressing well-defined spheres. To remain non-controversial there is a need on the part of everyone to strictly abide by the Constitution.