Irrefutable reality

President Asif Ali Zardari in his meeting with COAS General Asim Munir who called on him on 3rd April was right on money to express grave concern over the baseless and unsubstantiated allegations leveled by a specific party and some of its leaders against the Army and its leadership for narrow political interests and resolved to deal with such disruptive elements with an iron hand. Nobody in his right mind can take any exception to what the President has said. Though the President did not name the party which was engaged in the relentless campaign to denigrate the state institutions, particularly in building and reinforcing anti-Army narrative but it is quite clear that he was referring to PTI in this regard.

It is an irrefutable reality that the party instead of doing its politics in conformity with the internationally recognized norms of democracy, promoting national integrity and social harmony, doing politics within parameters of the constitution, working for the well being of the people and placing the state interests over and above its narrow political agenda is recklessly engaged in polarizing the society and denigrating the state institutions, particularly the Army after its exit from power. Perhaps it would be pertinent to give a brief account of what Imran Khan and his party has done since losing power through a constitutional process. Imran Khan instead of accepting the outcome of the no-confidence motion and playing the role of opposition leader in the assembly preferred to orchestrate political instability in the country. First he came up with the narrative of US having played a role in the fall of his government using the cipher message of our ambassador in USA.

Then he started accusing General Bajwa and later the focus shifted to maligning the institution of the Army. He was so obsessed with hatred of the Army that he devised a plan to attack the army installations and the monuments of the martyrs and also executed it on 9th May 2023. In the backdrop of the arrests made in connection with the 9th May incidents the social media wizards of the PTI both within and outside the country started a vigorous campaign to malign the Army. The party had the audacity to declare that the attacks on the army installations and monuments of the martyrs were a handiwork of the intelligence agencies to trap PTI notwithstanding the fact that the entire nation saw it on their TV screens who were the people behind those dastardly acts.

Audio leaks of PTI leaders in regards to execution of the attacks and later statements by some of the party leaders who dissociated themselves from the party accusing Imran Khan of having planned these attacks are also a ranting testimony of who masterminded these tragic incidents and who executed them. Imran Khan created political crisis in the country by forcing the PTI members to resign form the national assembly and later also dissolved provincial assemblies of KPK and Punjab. What transpired consequently is also known to the entire nation. Come 8th February elections, the party has refused to accept the split mandate and like the 2013 general elections has again come up with the mantra of rigging claiming that its mandate has been stolen. To reinforce its narrative the party also maneuvered a drama by the commissioner Rawalpindi who in a press statement confessed to have rigged the elections in his division. However that did not last long because later on the revealed that he had done it at the behest of a PTI leader with whom he had developed good relations and who lured him into ding this with promises of bright prospects after his retirement. Instead of relying on the state institutions to address their grievances about rigging the party tried to internationalize the issue by seeking intervention of IMF and the USA.

The major focus of this relentless smearing campaign has been on the alleged role played by the establishment in manipulating the elections results. People who are savvy of the political history of the country and the role that the establishment has been playing in the make and break of the governments before February 2021 when it decided to become apolitical do not give credence to this narrative of the party. Their argument that if the establishment had played the alleged role then there would not have been a split mandate and the PTI would not have achieved unprecedented success at the polls carries a lot of weight. They argue that if the establishment really wanted to manipulate the results it would have helped its preferred party in sweeping the elections rather than keep the things in limbo. Regrettably the party being unmindful of the precarious situation the country is confronted with continues to exacerbate the political situation. Its members in the national and provincial assembly of Punjab are persistently creating rumpus to thwart proceedings of the houses.

The KPK government is already on war path with the federal government and the party is threatening of launch a movement against rigging and independence of the judiciary after Eid in the wake of the letter of the six judges of the high court as well as threatening letters received by judges of the SC, IHC and LHC. The party has found a new punching bag to rub in its anti-Army narrative I would not be surprised if as a result of the investigations it is revealed that like the commissioner’s press conference the party is also behind the letters written by six judges of the IHC as well as the threatening letters received by the judges to reinforce anti-Army narrative. Its track record suggests that it can go to any extent in achieving its political objectives. Army is a symbol of national unity and custodian of our ideological and physical frontiers. The role that it has played in curbing the scourge of terrorism by rendering unprecedented sacrifices deserves unqualified gratitude of the nation. Any attempt to malign and weaken the Army would mean harming Pakistan. I think now is the time to stop those elements in their tracks who are contemplating to persist with their anti-state acts. Intellectual circles believe that had the state punished those who were involved in the 9th May attacks as resolved by the Army leadership, the parliament and the government of the time without any delay the country would not have been pushed into a situation that it is faced with at the moment. Expressing only resolve is not enough. The state must take practical measures immediately to thwart the designs of those who are hell bent to undermine the national unity and harming economic and political interests of the country. National interests must take precedence over political expediences.

Malik Muhammad Ashraf
Malik Muhammad Ashraf
Malik Muhammad Ashraf is an academic. He can be contacted at: [email protected].

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