Behind our safe and stable land is the uniform

The debt the country owes is not just for its borders’ safety

With a population of almost 243 million, Pakistan is the world’s fifth populous country and the Muslim world’s second. Pakistan has a 1046km coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and land borders of 6,774 km in all, 2430 with Afghanistan, 523 with China, 2912 with India and 909km with Iran. It’s not a joke to safeguard such a long border and the task has been successfully done by our Army. The uniform is behind doing this complex task and transforming the impossible into the possible.

The Pakistan Army is the world’s sixth largest military. With around 560,000 active duty personnel, 550,000 reserves, 185,000 National Guards and 6,500 civilian personnel of Pak Army’s ground force, around 35,300 active duty officers and sailors, around 5,000 reserve force; 12,000 marines, 4,000 Maritime Security Agency, 2800 civilian personnel, around 154 ships and 85 aircraft of the Pakistan Navy; 70,000 active personnel, 8,000 reserve, 128 civilian personnel and over 970 aircraft of Pakistan Air Force; the brave sons of our soil are serving day and night to seal our borders and save us from our enemies. These priceless efforts are a slap on those faces who ask “What has the army done for us?”

On 26 October 1947, Kashmir’s Maharaja Hari Singh signed an Instrument of Accession, handing over control of defense, external affairs, and communications to the Government of India in return for military aid. Indian troops were immediately airlifted into Srinagar. The Pakistani Army intervened subsequently. The war between the Pakistan and Indian Armies led to the liberation of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and restricting the Indian Army to the other side of the line of control. The uniform was clearly behind the liberation of AJK.

It is behind keeping alive the issue of Occupied Kashmir and has practically shown their dedication and association with Kashmir and Kashmiris. Since 1947, the Pakistan Army has fought three wars on Kashmir and proved a true well wisher of Kashmir. It has lost thousands of lives for Kashmir and is fully committed to the issue.

Internally, terrorism has been a big issue with the country and taken thousands of precious lives over the decades. Between 2002 and 2022, the country suffered over 28,000 civilian and security forces casualties in more than 15,000 incidents. The Pakistan Army conducted successful operations, Zarb e Azab and Radd ul Fasaad, to cope with terrorist networks across the country.

In the war against terror, the nation sacrificed over 86000 lives and lost over $152 billion. but the results were remarkable. During over 1200 operations, over 18,000 terrorists were eliminated, bulk of weapons and equipment were recovered, many training centres, madrassas, marakiz involved in terrorism dismantled, 449 tons of explosive recovered and 46,500 sq km area cleared. The Pakistan Army broke the international terrorist networks during this War on Terror and supported the international community by killing or arresting and repatriating over 1100 Al-Qaeda Terrorists. Intelligence was shared with over 70 countries. Fencing was done on borders and a proper monitoring was carried out to check the flow of terrorists.

The current comparatively peaceful situation in the country is the result of successful war against terror. It clearly shows that the uniform is behind keeping the name.

Devastation in the recent floods took around 1700 lives, injured 13,000 people have been injured, damaged or affected 2 million houses, affected over 33 million and killed over a million livestock. This flood is an example of utmost services of our dedicated military forces, where the Pakistan Army is working for the people from Day One. From relief and rescue to medical treatment and rehabilitation, our Army is fully participating in everything.

Before dragging the Army into controversies, we should think about their remarkable role for the country. We are breathing in a free, independent and peaceful environment just because of the uniform and we should acknowledge their tangible services for the country.

The 2005 earthquake was a big disaster where the Pakistani government’s official death toll as of November 2005 stood at 87,350. Approximately 38,000 were injured and over 3.5 million rendered homeless. The earthquake affected more than 500,000 families. In addition, approximately 250,000 farm animals died due to collapse of stone barns, and more than 500,000 large animals required immediate shelter from the harsh winter. Over 780,000 buildings were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair, and many more rendered unusable for extended periods. About 17,000 school buildings and most major hospitals close to the epicenter were destroyed or severely damaged. Infrastructure and roads were badly damaged.

The Pakistan Army was the first authority to reach the affected areas and initiate rescue and relief operations. Their helicopters were continuously engaged in shifting the injured to hospitals. They did an excellent job in infrastructure restoration and bringing life back to normal. Excellent efforts and services during these disasters show the Uniform is also behind helping people in need.

To assist the overwhelmed judicial system, military courts have also been remarkable, with 717 cases received, of which 650 were disposed of a 51 were dropped due to technical reasons, 344 culprits were sentenced to death, with 58 hanged. There were 301 imprisonments, out of which 106 were for life. This shows the uniform is also setting examples for our judicial system.

Military diplomacy helped Pakistan in its foreign relations. Pakistan has been taken out of the FATF Grey List. Pakistan is now better off due to combined efforts and proactive military diplomacy where our current COAS used his personal influence as well to get favours for Pakistan from countries like the USA, the UK, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The Pakistan Army helped the civilian governments portray Pakistan as a peace-loving country. It has been active in UN Peacekeeping missions across the world. It has earned respect and appreciation for itself and for Pakistan by remarkable services during these overseas missions. CPEC has been described as a game-changer for Pakistan. It helped not only in generating revenue but also created job opportunities. Under CPEC several Power projects including 720 MW Karot Hydropower Project, 1320 MW China Hub Coal Power Project, 660 MW Engro Thar Coal Power Project, 100 MW Three Gorges Second and Third Wind Power Project, 1320 MW Coal-fired Power Plant Port Qasim, 1320 MW Sahiwal Coal-fired Power Plant, 100 MW UEP Wind Farm Jhimpir Project, 50 MW Hydro China Dawood Wind Farm Gharo Project and 1000 MW Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Project were successfully completed between 2016-2021. Under CPEC, Gwadar Port’s work was started and a long network of roads laid across the country. Foolproof security was ensured by the Pakistan Army on the demand of the stakeholders. It clearly shows that the Uniform is also behind the smooth continuation of CPEC.

Pakistan lost before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and an

$11 billion penalty was imposed on Pakistan in the Rekodiq case while $1.2 billion fine was imposed in the in Karkey case. With the Pakistan Army’s help, the government reached an out-of-court settlement in these cases. This out of court settlement will now see $10 billion dollars invested in Balochistan and $255 million dollars annual revenue generation for Pakistan. Pakistan will also get $65 billion from the 35-year production interest and 8000 new jobs will be created in Balochistan.

The successful fight against covid-19 was another example where the role of uniform was appreciable. The NCOC was operated jointly by civil and military forces and a proper campaign was run to restrict the death tolls. Through the NCOC, the civil and military forces joined hands and worked together in testing, tracing, vaccination and so on. It was impossible to overcome the pandemic without the involvement of the uniform.

Another recent example of the Uniform’s assistance is where the COAS provided very active and effective support to the government in overcoming the economic crisis. He requested the USA to use its influence on the IMF to release a bailout package for Pakistan. He visited many countries to get financial assistance for Pakistan.

For over a decade and during the period of the War on Terror, Pakistan remained a no-go area for foreigners. Unfortunately, after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009, the doors of international cricket in Pakistan were closed. The situation was so bad that no one was ready to come and play in Pakistan. The armed forces which again came out to help the government. They contacted their counterparts in Sri Lanka and assured them foolproof security. After these assurances from our Army, the Sri Lankan team again visited Pakistan. This tour was then followed by other teams and the doors of international cricket thus reopened, with the uniform again behind it.

These are few examples which highlight the role of the uniform behind peace and stability of Pakistan. This should answer those baseless questions about their role for our homeland. Before dragging the Army into controversies, we should think about their remarkable role for the country. We are breathing in a free, independent and peaceful environment just because of the uniform and we should acknowledge their tangible services for the country.

Abdul Basit Alvi
Abdul Basit Alvi
The writer is a freelance columnist

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