Army’s self-accountability drive and need for conclusiveness

Recently, the Pakistan Army media wing has informed the nation that Pakistan Army dismissed three senior officers including a Lt General from the service while action has been taken against three Major Generals and seven Brigadiers over their alleged role in May 9 riots. As said, the Pakistan Army successfully accomplished its process of self-accountability in the light of two comprehensive inquiries that were initiated to ascertain the facts surrounding violent events that took place at various Army garrisons on May 9. According to the DG ISPR, these penalties showed that accountability in the Pakistan Army was carried out with discrimination. Military Chief Spokesman announced that the Pak Army believes that the responsible and facilitators of the May 9 tragedy will not be pardoned and the people who will create hurdles in the process will also not be tolerated and would be punished under the Constitution of Pakistan. Maj Gen Sharif said the families of martyrs and all ranks of the army are raising questions over the May 9 incidents and the desecration of martyrs’ monuments during the riots.

May 9 was undoubtedly a black day in the Country’s history, that has created an unremovable stain on national prestige and earned a bad name for the country. On that day, the Pakistani nation witnessed unprecedented lawlessness and vandalism by the violent protestors allegedly belonging to the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) following the arrest of the PTI Chairman Imran Khan. The violent mobs vandalized public and state properties and fearlessly attacked the Military General Headquarters (GHQ), the Corps commander’s residence in Lahore, several other military installations, and desecrated martyrs’ monuments in different parts of the country during the riots. In fact, those heinous acts had been condemned by every patriotic citizen, while the coalition government and Army leadership vowed to bring the miscreants to justice by trying them in the military courts under the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and other relevant laws in the constitution.

Recently, the Pakistan Army media wing has revealed that the Army has initiated two separate inquiries to ascertain its institutional security lapses and involvement/ professional slackness of Army personnel in the riots that created havoc with the Army. The Director General ISPR shared very shocking and heart-wrenching details that three senior officers, including a lieutenant-general, have been removed from their jobs, and strict disciplinary proceedings are currently underway against 15 officers, including three major generals and seven brigadiers. As said, the Pakistan Army carried out this process of self-accountability with discrimination, while numerous family members of former Senior military officers including the granddaughter and son-in-law of a four-star general were also under trial in the courts.

Realistically, thousands of retired military officers and their families and countless serving military men from all ranks fell prey to politics and compromised their allegiance and loyalty to their profession and institution. Ironically, senior military officers of General and Brigadier ranks were influenced by political sentiments and failed to differentiate between facts and fiction, truth and lies, and even they violated their oath and betrayed their institution and the country out of their political affiliation and fake ultranationalism. It is a great national loss and a serious institutional setback for a professional Army in that such immature and weak figures reached top positions, commanded thousands of soldiers, and had access to sensitive information and equipment which they surely do not deserve. This situation also raises serious questions regarding the preliminary selection, vetting process, and promotion criteria of our armed forces that failed to identify and weed out such gutless characters at an early stage. Seemingly, this was not the first case that Pakistan’s military faced such an unpleasant situation among its ranks and files, that incompetent individuals got top slots and worked for their agenda and earned a bad name for the institution.

The incumbent Army Cheif General Asim Munir has an accurate assessment of the events, the disillusion, and the misperception that prevails among the common military officers regarding the military’s role in the governmental and political affairs, relations with political leadership and civilian bureaucracy as well as the philosophy of jihad that is the core asset of Pakistan Army and commonly our young officers and soldiers fell victims to subversions on those grounds. Historically, Islam, jihad, and patriotism are those sentiments that had often been used by the enemy forces to their advantage against Islam and Pakistan. There is an urgent need that our soldiers and military officers must be briefed about current-day hybrid war, the enemy’s tactics of subversion, and propaganda, while essential reforms must be incorporated into the professional curriculum to effectively neutralized this severe challenge in the future.