The gathering storm

The noise role of Lt Gen Faiz Hameed is becoming too loud to ignore

Apparently, the reputations of senior military officers have become political footballs. If PTI chief Imran Khan called for retired COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to be court-martialled for his support to Ukraine in violation of the government’s policy, PML(N) Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz has called for former DG ISI Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hameed to be court-martialled for his role in ousting Mian Nawaz Sharif, and getting Mr Khan elected as PM. However, as General Hameed had become controversial even before becoming DG ISI, because as DG(C) he was alleged to have overseen the 2018 elections, and then to have ensured that the PTI obtained the requisite majority in Parliament.

General Bajwa may have taken the bold step of saying that the military had decided not to intervene in politics, something which has always been constitutionally prohibited, despite four martial las being imposed. However, if he expected that all would be forgotten, and non one would be held to account for that interference, he was mistaken. General Hamid has said that whatever might have been done was done on the orders of the Chief. While not absolving himself, he has put General Bajwa firmly in the crosshairs. The danger for the military men is that the demands for some form of accountability are becoming too loud for the institution itself to ignore without damage to itself. Not only is it one of the institutions remaining to the nation, it also performs an extremely vital function.

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It would thus be only in the fitness of things for the Army to take care of the accountability process itself. Interference in politics is only an offence for government servants, civil, military or judicial, and can only be dealt with by the department concerned. However, the public memory still remembers how the question of political interference and funding by the ISI raised by Air Marshal (retd) was kept pending by the Supreme Court, only for an anodyne judgement to be delivered. The present demands should not be allowed to fall on deaf ears.  The military as an institution should realize that the process started by General Bajwa’s mea culpa is no longer subject to the usual methods of control It would be a sad irony if the military tried to use the methods it claims it has abandoned, to save the skin of a few officers who did neither the country, nor their institution, any good by violating their oaths as officers.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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