By Mansoor Ali Khan.
Finally, in an unprecedented move, Pakistan Army has terminated its six high rank officers including one Lt. General, Major General, three Brigadiers and one Lt Colonel over corruption allegations. The dismissed officers will not get any benefits and the amounts they are accused of embezzling will be recovered from them.
The decision to sack the officers was taken in a corps commander conference. However, the step is being taken in the context of Army Chief’s recent statement on across the board accountability. For too long, the military had insulated itself against representative advice and devised policies, which have came haunt its own image. It was perceived by an overwhelming majority that military officers were untouchables and they could never be held accountable. There was an ongoing demand that the army should take the initiative and initiate transparent accountability measures against corrupt officers — and that it should be open to the public. It was Gen Raheel Sharif who tried to change the course and set precedence for other power centers.
Gen Raheel Sharif, who enjoys a massive public support, belongs to a family of soldiers. It wasn’t the first time he has set a new precedence. Earlier, he had used this opportunity to revise security doctrines prepared behind closed doors known as the “Pak Army’s Green Book” which deals with operational preparedness. He was the architect of the new policy which stated that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and a host of assorted militants within the Western Border with Afghanistan, were a bigger security threat than India.
Is it enough..?
Despite of a good precedence, there is much more to be done by military itself. General Musharraf, who could well be a test case, has flown and living a luxurious life in Dubai. Gen Kiyani’s brothers, who were accused of Rs 62bn DHA Valley scam, have not been made accountable yet. A lot has already been discussed about two ex-Generals who were accused of being more interested in politics than national security of the country. One of them has reportedly been working as an advisor to UAE government, which itself was a violation of security parameters of the Army. It is high time for Gen Raheel Sharif to launch transparent inquiries against them. The initiative will take Pakistan Army to high moral grounds and boost its popularity further.
Who can initiate the accountability process..?
The decision to sack military officers has been hailed countrywide. The move has definitely put the ruling Pakistan Muslim League under pressure. The premier Nawaz Sharif cannot escape from holding a transparent inquiry of Panama leaks. Politician had a bigger responsibility to come up with answers to the questions arising out of the controversy.
However, is military authorized to make politicians accountable? Three times 1958, 1969 and 1977 the whole country was placed under Martial Law. In 1999 when the mismanagement of a ruthless dictator had reached a new zenith the Army moved in and replaced the civilian government. All military rulers claimed ruthless accountability of civilians, but resulted in a painful and severe security crises, cloned a new corrupt political class, damaged the unity, political and economic stability of the Pakistan. Therefore, military must restrain from moving into political arena following the historic speech of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Quetta Staff Collage on June 14, 1948 which stated that:
“I have no doubt in my mind, from what I have seen and from what I have gathered, that the spirit of the Army is splendid, the morale is very high, and what is very encouraging is that every officer and soldier, no matter what the race or community to which he belongs, is working as a true Pakistani”
One thing more, I am persuaded to say this because during my talks with one or two very high-ranking officers I discovered that they did not know the implications of the Oath taken by the troops of Pakistan. Of course, an oath is only a matter of form; what are more important are the true spirit and the heart.
But it is an important form, and I would like to take the opportunity of refreshing your memory by reading the prescribed oath to you”
Responsibility of the Politicians
It is high time for all politicians now to declare their assets and bring back their foreign wealth. PM has finally decided to write a letter to the Chief Justice for the formation of a judicial commission. It might let him breathe for a while, but he may not survive unless he takes an initiative for across the board accountability. One must keep in mind that everyone is harmed, when politicians ignore the crucial aspects of governance and accountability.
Writer is a Current Affairs Producer with a News Channel based in Islamabad.