Bickering within Pak army waiting dead end
oi-R C Ganjoo
Lt Gen Hameed’s resignation after Gen Munir’s elevation and TTP suddenly calling off its ceasefire indicate a deep intrigue story behind fast developments. The sudden increase in TTP attacks on security forces is a thought-provoking issue.
Eventually, the blame game has turned out to be bad blood between civil-military relationships in Pakistan.
The truth came out when former Pak army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in his message dropped a brick that the new army chief will have many challenges ahead of him. The most important would be to restore the trust of the army with the public damaged by continued malicious campaigns against them. For several years, the Pakistan army has been the target of criticism by political parties, politicians, and their social media brigades.
Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif appointed Lt Gen. Asim Munir as General Bajwa’s successor, soon after Lt Gen. Faiz Hameed resigned from the Bahawalpur Corps Commander post. Earlier, Munir was forced out as ISI chief by Imran Khan in June 2019 and Lt Gen. Faiz Hameed was appointed in his place. It is widely believed that in the corridor of power that Lt Gen. Faiz Hameed had helped Imran’s election campaign in 2018.
Lt Gen Faiz Hamid’s proximity to Imran Khan was vividly proved when after resigning from the army he attended a political gathering of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Dec 15 at Imran Khan’s hometown Chakwal. It is a matter of time before retired general Faiz Hameed tries his luck in politics. It has been admitted by none other than PTI Chakwal’s vice-president Chaudhry Khursheed in a meeting while addressing Gen Hameed: “You can still continue to serve our country in a better way,” adding, “It’s God’s will as you could not make it to the most coveted post in the armed forces.”
Besides, Lt Gen Hameed’s proximity to PTI, his closeness to TTP, is beyond any doubt. As DG ISI Lt Gen Hameed quietly visited Afghanistan without the knowledge of the army chief the then Bajwa and met new Taliban leadership after US forces withdrew. Gen Bajwa removed Lt Gen Hameed as DG ISI and transferred to command the Peshawar corps. Gen Hameed didn’t show any signs of annoyance. But his close connections with the Afghan Taliban and proximity to TTP continued. But, his abrupt decision to resign immediately after Gen Munir’s appointment as army chief has raised a number of questions about his loyalty.
The security establishment is tasked to safeguard the life and property of Pakistanis but some insiders are allied with terrorist groups. The intelligence agencies are also involved in allowing captured terrorists to escape to Turkey from top security prisons. The agencies have the power to enjoy police authority.
After Gen Munir’s elevation, Lt Gen Hameed’s resignation and TTP suddenly calling off its ceasefire indicates a deep intrigue story behind fast developments. The sudden increase in the TTP attacks on security forces is a thought-provoking issue. The attack inside the Bannu Counter-Terrorism Department centre, on the 18th Dec after the TTP called off an uncertain ceasefire in late November when 33 of its militants overpowered their interrogators and took a number of law-enforcement personnel hostage. However, Pakistan Army’s Special Forces on Tuesday killed all 33 hostage takers, news agency AFP reported. Two Special Forces troopers were also killed in the siege. According to reports more than 107 police officers had laid down their lives in the war against terrorism in the first 11 months of 2022.
The fall of Kabul to the Afghan Taliban in August last year has produced a new era of uncertainty for regional security in South Asia; emboldening the TTP to regain much of the power it lost in the face of Pakistani and American counter-terrorism initiatives.
In the past 75 years Pakistan, except within Punjab, has not gelled together as a nation as a result thousands have gone missing. There are fault lines everywhere – religious, ethnic, and political. The country has gone on a rough path caused due to various political and economic reasons and in this given disruptive situation the army has taken its pound of flesh. Assassinating of political leaders is not a new feature in Pakistan.
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Gen Zia, who succeeded as President of Pakistan and served as Chief of Army Staff from 1976 until 1988, died in a mysterious plane accident. Gen Pervez Musharraf escaped two assassination attempts within a span of two weeks in 2003. Musharraf took control of the country in a coup that overthrew Nawaz Sharif’s administration in 1999, but resigned in 2008 to escape being impeached. In 1990, 1997, and 2013, Nawaz Sharif served as prime minister but was ousted by the presidency, the military, or the judiciary each time. The two-term Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the first democratically elected female leader of a Muslim nation, was killed in Rawalpindi in 2007.
Former prime minister Imran Khan survived an assassination attempt while participating in the long march. But Pakistani politicians seldom survive assassination attempts. In 75 years of Pakistan’s history over 45 politicians have been killed. In the one-upmanship jostle, politicians who have been elected try to portray Pakistan as liberal, contemporary and democratic. But a very powerful military projects Pakistan’s image differently as a highly militarised state. Thus no one is focused on social and economic welfare issues. It appears that this will remain an aspiration and will not translate into reality for the people in Pakistan.
In the ongoing blame game state of affairs, the US has put its hat in the ring with a definite strategy. After the debacle, it has found fertile ground in Pakistan to settle its score against Afghanistan. The division in the Pakistan army and civil-military sour relationships is another vantage position for the US to keep a check on China also.
(R C Ganjoo is a senior journalist and columnist having more than 30 years experience of covering issues concerning national security, particularly Kashmir. He has worked with several prominent media groups and his articles have been published in many national and international publications.)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
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