Original Articles

Dysfunctional, incapable or extra clever?

Dysfunctional or incapable of performing their duties?

The Pakistani Army and it’s leadership is facing worst sort of credibility crises and increasing criticism of poor administrative and defense practices, and right now practically it finds itself in the midst of a inferno, particularly after Osama Bin Ladan debacle, Saleem Shahzad’s murder and 16 hours siege of the Naval Air Base PNS Mehran in Karachi.

The self- image and public perception of the GHQ and ISI hit bottom and at an all time low right now.

It is unthinkable & unbelievable to suggest that the chiefs of Army and ISI had no clue for five years that OBL was lived/settled in the cantonment of Abbottabad.

Saleem Shahzad’s emails to Ali Dayan Hasan, Hameed Haroon backs Human Rights Watch claims, as well as evidences are suggesting that Saleem Shahzad was killed while in custody of the Intelligence agency. The mode and way of doing things of the murder bore all the hallmarks of intelligence agency. All media representative groups and lots of journalists and activists accuse the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of having a role in the slaying, something the agency forcefully denies.

These incidents brought sharply in the focus the weakness, in-capabilities, above the constitution attitude, extra-judicial killings in safe houses and radicalization within the armed forces and it’s premier intelligence agency ISI.

Since May 2 and Saleem Shahzad’s brutal murder, [humiliated] chiefs of security and intelligence establishment are trying to restore their liberal and democratic credentials, and they are using all their resources to bring back the old golden days when they were beyond the reach of criticism.

To help restore the tarnished image of chiefs, Pakistani media and the the few foreign journalists are wrongly and deliberately presenting Pakistan top Military brass as liberal and pro American and Junior ranked officers linked to extremist organizations. There are reports that suggest Pakistan Top Military Brass is A Hindrance in Implementing US Wish List.

It is very interesting to read planted and fabricated stories not only from local patriotic journalists, but also from foreign renowned journalists. For anyone who has ever questioned naive understanding of foreign journalists in the foreign media, simply examine the news story of Jane Perlez’s published in the New York Times, which states, the United States may soon lose its closest partner in Pakistan: Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, whom The newspaper calls “the most powerful man in the country,” is coming under increasing pressure to cut ties with the United States.

Jane Perlez’s analysis which suits to General Kayani, clearly aims to boost Kayani’s character as liberal, democratic, pro American and anti Taliban chief of staff. The fabricated story speculates about a possible “colonels’ coup” to replace Kayani. Observers and scholars who read Pakistan know very well that the offbeat of junior officers seizing control of the army, and effectively the country, is not possible. The Pakistani political history tells us that Pakistan’s army chiefs are deposed by fellow generals, not by extremist and adventurous colonels.

Furthermore, to see that by arresting Pakistani military is once again trying to legitimize its position in the helm of affairs- a position which was completely tarnished by suspicions of harbouring and exporting terrorism after 2 May episode.

So does it mean Brigadier Ali Khan was made a scapegoat?

This arrest and move also connoted that the Army and its leadership wants to show the Pakistani people as to how sincere and determined it is to fight against the extremism, and particularly within its own file and rank.

Surely there is an unrest in the Pak Army, and It was General Zia who ushered in a new era of Islamisation, bigotry and fanaticism in Pakistan Army, and nurtured radical, armed Islamic groups bent on waging jihad across the world.

But questions are what our present security and intelligence leadership did to make Army a professional and apolitical institute? And why even in their extension they could not eradicate extremist tendencies within the rank and file of the military and ISI, if they were capable and functional? Moreover, if army works under federal government and the ISI is under civilian control than why its leadership is not following civilian govt’s policies? And if General Kayani is so liberal and democratic than why he is not saluting civilian president, who is ethnically Sindhi of Baloch origin and religiously belongs to the Shia sect of Islam? These are legitimate questions and refer to the heads responsibilities towards the state institutions. Both chiefs are govt servants, thus answerable and accountable to the 18 million people.

LUBP had already raised concerns over the General Kayani’s extension as army chief: And termed it as a bad decision. Furthermore criticised ISI Chief General Pasha’s extension. There are still several questions that plague my mind about their extensions, and to be honest I’m not able to figure out what really are they incapable or extra clever -simply confused.

About the author

Jehangir Hafsi


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  • Initially I too was worried after reading posts like the writer has mentioned. But soon I realised that these generals have utilitarian approach.

    They have no problem in siding with Taliban or Alqaeda If they consider it financially beneficial for their institution, and they can sell the same elements to United States for financial gains.
    If there is Al-qaeda on side with their global agenda, then Pakistan Army can rightly be called Al-Faeda.

  • As a nation, its time we move on and forget what happened in the past. Have we forgotten that the army has sacrificed so much for this country. If we are blaming some big shots it doesn’t mean that the whole army should be blamed.

  • Demoralizing the army further won’t serve the purpose, but it being an institution must understand the gravity of the situation and should act accordingly. It is hard to fool the masses anymore, because media has grown many folds and awareness about politics and other matters has also increased.

  • They are extra clever first (derh hoshiar) and largely incapable with jaded world views. This is an unfortunate reality.

    On the matter of Brig. Ali Khan, a number of people have been trying to say that Brigadier was “questioning” Pak Army’s relations with the US because of which he was branded a Hizb-e-Tahrir supporter. Just think if he was such a problem, branding him an Al Qaeda supporter would have been even better. I am sure, his links with right wing media will also come out in due course.

    In all a very good article.

  • Hey was Kayani not a liberal, modernist General when Benazir Jahanami – oops I mean Lanati oops I mean road kill oops I mean dead whore oops I mean brain matter splattered on the open sun roof – was dealing with him and signing NROs?

  • @Kazim Azam
    I know everyone is entitled to their opinion but i think you are being harsh. The Pakistani Army has done so much for our country and suddenly after OBL operation we seem to bash army forces. Have we forgotten all the sacrifices they have given for their homeland. If you want to blame someone blame few people in the higher authority. u just cant blame the whole army.

  • Army has given sacrifices in the war on terror. There are lives lost every day. But the army will also have to take some serious steps in removing the extremists, from within their ranks.

  • @ wasim younis … !

    Brother it seems that you Pak-Studies is very weak, may I enlighten you & many other fellow Pakistanies, that,
    1. Major Gen. Sikandar Mirza grand son of Mir Jaffar of Bangal.
    2. Field Marshal Ayub Khan 1st stretegic partner of USA. Broke the back bone of country ( civil berucracy ), false winning claims of war 1965 & much much more …
    3. Gen. Tikka Khan …. !
    4. Gen. Yahya … creation of Bangladesh… 90,000 wet trousers … Gen. Niazi a shinning star … !
    5. Gen. Zia … ! rise of Heroin & Klashinkov culture … Ojarhi Camp burn out to hide aid weapon sale to MQM type engineered facist & religious groups ……. !!!!
    6. Gen. Pervaiz Musharaf … An Iron fist on fellow countrymen & tender hand for Foriegn Masters, compulsive liar, destroyed the spirit of “the constitution of 180 million Pakistanies” single handedly, converted Army Institution INTO Financial/Trading Institution … Applied the NRO shit on PAKistanFace … !!!

    And if my brother & my like minded countrymen still think the these few people … ! were they not backed by each & every sipoy, havaldar, subaidar, leutinent, capt, major, col, brig, maj gen & Lt Generals … think again.

  • Patriotism and the National Interest

    Editorial By Najam Sethi

    Pakistan’s Military Inc is angry at leading sections of the local and foreign media for spreading “false”, “baseless” and “malicious” news and analyses designed to “destabilize and undermine the armed forces”. Nothing less than a vicious “conspiracy” against the noble and heroic armed forces is alleged.

    There are two core dimensions to this angry retort. The first relates to domestic media criticism of the military’s performance, role and policy as demonstrated by a string of recent failures which show the military and its various agencies and allied institutions in rather poor, even humiliating, light. The second concerns the local media which is fearful and angry after Saleem Shahzad’s abduction and killing and is alleging that the criminals’ “footprints” (as per Saleem’s last testament to media watchdogs) lead to Aab Para.

    The first clutch of criticisms relates to the military’s performance. The issue for the military here is not so much about the validity of the facts – which are undeniable – but whether it is proper to reveal them because they weaken the morale and public standing of the armed forces and thereby undermine “national security”.

    A rejoinder is in order.

    In a democracy there are no “sacred cows”. If elected prime ministers, presidents, chief ministers, opposition leaders, civil servants and businessmen can be hounded out of government or dragged off to jails and courts, if the conduct of judges and their judgments can be seriously questioned and criticized, if the media can be regulated, if parliament can be put on the mat, why can’t the armed forces be stretched on the same accountability rack? Surely, “national security” is determined as much by the potency of the military (which potency is determined by the yardstick of actual performance on the ground in any eventuality) as it is by the vitality of the politico-economic system and its interlocutors (civilians) that underpin the nation-state. Therefore if the latter is kosher for critical appraisal, the former should not take exception to an application of the same rules to its own behaviour and output.

    The military should also realize that it cannot and should not monopolize the definition and defense of the “national interest” if it simultaneously wishes to confer the “ownership of it to the elected civilian government when it runs into trouble because of indefensible and opaque policies – contradictions in point being the “strategic” or “transactional” relationship with the US, the winking policy on drones and the war against the Al-Qaeda-Taliban terrorists (our war or theirs).

    The military’s case on all core issues has been enormously weakened by its outright refusal, at first, to accept independent and credible commissions of inquiry both about its performance and about the Saleem Shahzad case and then, faced with relentless media pressure to concede, to try and tilt such inquiries in its own favour by clutching at exclusionist notions of “national security” and “national interest”. It would have been less arrogant and more advisable to concede independent commissions but to restrict their findings to parliamentary or judicial committees with powers to classify “sensitive” or “national security” issues, an acceptable norm in most democracies.

    The military’s understanding of the way the free media functions in most established democracies is also lacking. Such democracies in the West or in India are built on solid and enduring foundations of civilian and constitutional oversight over their respective militaries. That is why the civilians are quick to bail out their militaries because they have established institutional “ownership” of their country’s military adventures and policies. That is also why the media in such consensually-built democracies is quick to line up behind their democratic governments and subservient militaries and the slogan of “my country, right or wrong” resounds with force. Therefore it is tilting at windmills to accuse the western media of “destabilizing” Pakistan by spreading “lies” that undermine the Pakistani military, without making the same charge at their strategic foreign allies in which such media are democratically and consensually embedded.

    The difference between the free media in such established, consensual and functional civilian democracies and the free media in a dysfunctional and fledgling democracy with excessive military overhang in Pakistan is also worth stating.

    The Pakistani military accuses the Pakistani media of not being as “patriotic as the Western and Indian media” because it is critical of its national security institutions unlike the “enemy”. In the event, the boot might well be on the other foot. Even after three disastrous interventions spanning thirty years and a military misadventure in Kargil in which elected civilians and fellow air force and navy comrades were kept out of the loop, the Pakistani army refuses to be subservient to the civilian constitutional order and insists of monopolizing the “national interest”. Under the circumstances, it is a moot point at best whether the media or the military is more or less patriotic in heeding or hoodwinking Pakistan’s democracy and the constitution.


  • @Free Pakistani Again as wasim said a few people. You cannot blame the entire institution for this. Taking out the institution won’t solve the problem of terrorism. To be accurate the military men you mentioned, were aided and encouraged by civilians and politicians also.

  • The military must be supported by the citizens to fight the war against terrorism which is literally at its peak!!