Anal­y­sis

Army, Cor­rup­tion and Ter­ror­ism

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The def­i­ni­tion of an army is that it is “a large or­gan­ised body of armed per­son­nel trained for war, es­pe­cially on land”. The words of Quaid-e-Azam to the army are in­dica­tive of his vi­sion of its role. He stated, “You will have to be alert, very alert, for the time for re­lax­ation is not yet there. With faith, dis­ci­pline, and self­less de­vo­tion to duty, there is noth­ing worth­while that you can­not achieve.”

qo­day, the Pak­istan Army has widened the land­scape of its ac­tiv­i­ties due to myr­iad fac­tors that in more ways than one have had an im­pact on the sur­viv­abil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity of the moth­er­land. Its pri­mary as­sign­ment as the de­fender of the bor­ders has been com­pounded sig­nif­i­cantly with var­i­ous ex­i­gen­cies that have ne­ces­si­tated di­rect in­volve­ment ei­ther in a sup­port­ing role or, when it be­came im­per­a­tive, from a van­tage po­si­tion.

Pak­istan’s sta­tus as a geostrate­gi­cally im­por­tant coun­try, with many ad­van­tages and ben­e­fits, un­for­tu­nately has been af­fected by the bel­liger­ence, hos­til­ity, and med­dling of coun­tries on the western and east­ern bor­ders. Pak­istan was pro­pelled into be­ing the front­line state in the Global War on ter­ror. The war is be­ing fought not only at the bor­ders but also within the coun­try. In­im­i­cal forces, boosted by for­eign fund­ing and sup­port, have cre­ated havoc with se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions to the in­tegrity and sovereignty of the na­tion. The colos­sal loss of men, ma­te­rial, and money has se­ri­ously dam­aged the progress and pros­per­ity of Pak­istan.

Ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ism fil­tered down to Karachi, the eco­nomic hub of the na­tion. Karachi was in the throes of near an­ar­chy where the city of lights was ruth­lessly rel­e­gated to be­come the city of doom. Mil­i­tancy and break­down in the law and or­der sit­u­a­tion stained the im­age of the me­trop­o­lis and its cit­i­zens be­came cap­tive to the will and might of des­per­a­does, es­pe­cially those who had the back­ing of po­lit­i­cal par­ties or ex­trem­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions. The

politi­cised po­lice force was un­able to ex­er­cise its writ. The city, prov­ince, and fed­eral gov­ern­ments were over­in­volved in po­lit­i­cal squab­bling and point scor­ing, much to the cha­grin of the Karachi res­i­dents.

The pri­vate sec­tor was be­tween the devil and the deep blue sea. In­vest­ment, com­merce, and in­dus­try be­came hostage to the twin men­ace of ter­ror­ism as well as cor­rup­tion. These two heads of the hy­dra dam­aged the com­fort zone en­joyed by the pri­vate sec­tor, forc­ing them to seek safer for­eign av­enues of do­ing busi­ness as well as se­cur­ing a safe en­vi­ron­ment for their fam­i­lies and fi­nances. trade and in­dus­try graph nose-dived, ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions were un­der at­tack, and for­eign­ers made a hasty re­treat.

The in­duc­tion of Pak­istan Rangers in Karachi was much de­sired and wel­comed by trade and in­dus­try. Karachi Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try hi­er­ar­chy was vo­cif­er­ously de­mand­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a plan to elim­i­nate ter­ror­ism as well as cor­rup­tion. The men and ve­hi­cles of the Pak­istan Rangers have been a ubiq­ui­tous sight in Karachi for nearly a quar­ter of a cen­tury, and are grad­u­ally im­ple­ment­ing Op­er­a­tion Clean-up.

De­spite calls for a fast track re­sponse and ac­tion, the Rangers have pro­ceeded at their own real time pace and the ef­fec­tive­ness of their op­er­a­tions has re­stored nor­malcy to a large ex­tent. In fact, the suc­cesses of the last two years have trans­formed Karachi into a rel­a­tively peace­ful me­trop­o­lis as is ev­i­dent from the up­surge in real es­tate prices, the huge pres­ence of cus­tomers in shop­ping dis­tricts, mar­kets, and plazas, and the boom­ing and bullish ac­tiv­ity at the Pak­istan Stock Ex­change in the city.

It was as­sumed that the op­er­a­tion against mil­i­tants and ter­ror­ists would be ex­panded to In­te­rior Sindh and that within a spec­i­fied time­frame the suc­cess in Karachi would be repli­cated there too. How­ever, po­lit­i­cal road­blocks, parochial vested in­ter­ests, and the aver­sion of the govern­ment hi­er­ar­chy thwarted all no­tions of op­er­a­tion clean-up in in­te­rior Sindh. The ra­tio­nale is still un­palat­able, and for Karachi res­i­dents, un­ac­cept­able and cre­at­ing a pro­found sense of ac­ri­mony. This also gave rise to the oft-re­peated al­le­ga­tion that the en­tire op­er­a­tion clean-up was only spe­cific to Karachi and an ur­ban-based po­lit­i­cal party.

Chief of Army Staff Gen­eral Ra­heel Sharif re­it­er­ated Pak­istan Army’s re­solve in break­ing down the nexus be­tween ter­ror­ism and cor­rup­tion. He very rightly es­tab­lished that there is an or­ganic link be­tween cor­rup­tion and ter­ror­ism and hence tar­get­ing cor­rup­tion would di­min­ish the hold of the ter­ror­ists since these ill-got­ten funds are chan­nelised to ter­ror­ists too.

Cor­rup­tion is not just Pak­istan-spe­cific since it is en­demic in most of the third world coun­tries and in some de­vel­oped na­tions too. How­ever, the mag­ni­tude of cor­rup­tion has spread omi­nously and has en­sued into a sin­is­ter sit­u­a­tion where lo­cal cit­i­zens as well as for­eign in­vestors have placed cor­rup­tion at the top of the list of the dam­ag­ing fac­tors af­fect­ing Pak­istan’s eco­nomic progress and pros­per­ity. The dis­clo­sure by the COAS gives fur­ther cre­dence to this neg­a­tiv­ity.

More­over, the China Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) is a wel­come ini­tia­tive and is her­alded as the be­gin­ning of global con­fi­dence in Pak­istan. In to­day’s dif­fi­cult times, CPEC has in­stilled hope that its suc­cess would be a show­case that Pak­istan could ex­hibit to at­tract global in­vest­ment and in­ter­est in Pak­istan. This is fur­ther en­cour­aged by the fact that Pak­istan Army is fully be­hind its im­ple­men­ta­tion and that a spe­cial se­cu­rity force has been es­tab­lished to pro­vide se­cu­rity, safety, and con­fi­dence to those Chi­nese cit­i­zens who are or will be based in Pak­istan. The essence of these mea­sures is akin to the se­cu­rity of the coun­try’s strate­gic as­sets and is a man­i­fes­ta­tion of the suc­cess of Zarb-e-Azb and other mea­sures.

Cor­rup­tion is a defin­ing fac­tor that should be termed as eco­nomic ter­ror­ism. Un­der the Na­tional Ac­tion Plan (NAP), cor­rup­tion has to be tack­led on a war-foot­ing ba­sis. Pak­istan Rangers Sindh has hinted at nab­bing the cor­rupt in govern­ment, in po­lit­i­cal par­ties, and in other sec­tors. How­ever, in­flu­en­tial and high pro­file per­son­al­i­ties, known for amass­ing huge ill-got­ten wealth were de­lib­er­ately per­mit­ted to leave the coun­try or are still un­abashedly al­lowed to con­tinue their ne­far­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties. The Na­tional Ac­count­abil­ity Bu­reau (NAB) is a tooth­less tiger catch­ing small league play­ers while cases against top-notch per­sons are gath­er­ing dust.

The re­solve of the army to ar­rest the cor­rupt, whether high pro­file or not, is yet to be seen in gen­uine re­al­ity. The ques­tion arises whether there is se­ri­ous­ness in this mat­ter or are there other com­pelling rea­sons. There has been no let down in the cor­rup­tion syn­drome and, like ter­mites, it is eating away the moral fab­ric of the na­tion. Cit­i­zens are tak­ing the an­nounce­ments of ar­rest­ing the cor­rupt by NAB, Fed­eral In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency, or through NAP with a pinch of salt. At present, these are hol­low claims since no tan­gi­ble ef­fort has com­menced.

Re­cently, there was a re­newed call from GHQ for a full-force im­ple­men­ta­tion of NAP, since it has so far been a lack­adaisi­cal process and since the fruits of the plan have not been fully re­alised. It must be im­ple­mented in let­ter and spirit all over the coun­try be­cause the das­tardly im­pact of ex­trem­ism and ter­ror­ism are not iso­lated cases. The ten­ta­cles are spread from Karachi to deep in­side North Waziris­tan Agency. Op­er­a­tion Zarb-e-Azb, de­spite a heavy toll of men, ma­te­rial and money, has in­dis­crim­i­nately elim­i­nated many ar­eas from the men­ace of ter­ror­ism and mil­i­tancy. Notwith­stand­ing these suc­cesses, it is a fact that ter­ror­ism and mil­i­tancy is still en­trenched in many parts of Pak­istan.

The 200 mil­lion cit­i­zens of Pak­istan have al­ways looked up to the Pak­istan Army. The Founder of Pak­istan’s mes­sage is so true to­day. He said, “Let us now plan to build and re­con­struct and re­gen­er­ate our great na­tion…. Now is the time, chance and op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery Pak­istani to make his or her fullest and best con­tri­bu­tion and make the great­est sac­ri­fice and work cease­lessly in the ser­vice of our na­tion and make Pak­istan one of the great­est na­tions of the world.”

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