‘Pak Army should step down from pedestal for calm to prevail’

The fact that it hits out whenever it perceives a provocation of any kind has been made is disturbing.

Islamabad: An editorial in a Pakistani daily has said that the military needs to step down from the pedestal onto which it has elevated itself and accept that it stands at the same rank as other institutions, for calm to prevail in the country.

The editorial in The Express Tribune mostly referred to the ``strong`` speech made by Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani in his address to officers at the General Headquarters.

The Supreme Court`s verdict in the Asghar Khan case that held the ISI and the then military chief responsible for the distribution of funds to political parties to rig the 1990 polls, does not seem to have gone down well in military circles. Neither have other actions by the court in cases of corruption involving military men, the editorial said.

The Army has, in certain instances, moved to protect its own - even reinducting retired officers into the service to ``protect`` them. How this serves the ``national interest`` that the military seems to be so attuned to speaking of is something to ponder upon, it added.
Kayani confessed that mistakes had been made by the army in the past - which is certainly a positive aspect of the speech - but also warned against "weakening institutions" in any way or attempting to act against them.

Despite Kayani`s carefully posed stance as being ``non-political`` and ``pro-democracy``, it is clear that like many of his predecessors, he is not accustomed to a situation where the military is, in any fashion, taken to task or awkward questions raised about its actions, the editorial said.

Any nuance of criticism has been interpreted by the military as being a slap in the face and the Supreme Court`s actions may have come across as such to the military. This explains why the military has found them difficult to swallow, it further said.

The fact that it hits out whenever it perceives a provocation of any kind has been made is disturbing. If Pakistan is to achieve true stability, this mindset must change. Otherwise, the country`s troubles will multiply.


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