Kayani’s words: myths and facts
mentals that have governed policy formulation in the decades since independence.
To the wider public it was an intimation of a recognition that institutions, including the military, have indeed made mistakes in the past and followed policies that have landed the country into dire straits. It also intimated that, while a process of reorientation of policies may appear slower than intended, such reorientation to meet the needs of a 21st century Pakistan is indeed in place. And that no more shall such a definition be the claim of just one institution, traditionally the military, but a composite and collaborative public effort evolved through discourse and debate. Myth: The November 6 rebuttal by the chief justice in his remarks, while reviewing another case, indicates that the message was indeed intended for the Supreme Court in the wake of the trial and indictment of retired generals.
Fact: This couldn’t be further from the truth, since the statement by the ISPR quotes the army chief emphasising to his officers a national commitment to uphold the rule of law and to function within the parameters of the constitution. What might appear distasteful in the short run (such as seeing some retired senior officers of the army undergoing the ignominy of public trials), augurs well for the nation in the long run, when institutions are strengthened through the inimitable tradition of following the constitution and working within their constitutional domains. The chief justice’s remarks were a response to an overzealous attorney intending to clear the air of misperception between the court and the military, while pursuing an entirely unrelated case in the court – and hence misplaced.
Myth: If not the judiciary, the media for sure was under the spotlight. Fact: There is significant truth in that, and it emerges from some ill-considered formulations in the debate in the media that are unable to correctly ascertain where must lie the limit on freedom of expression and where from begins the slippery slope of damaging the integrity of the institutions. The army chief, when referring to the gulf that wittingly or unwittingly is intended between the generals and the soldiers by remarks that own the army of the soldiers but ridicule the generals of the same army, indicates it as an insidious attempt to rupture institutional integrity. In legal parlance such an attempt is considered seditious. Also, such repeated insinuations against institutions – borne out of individual conduct – are firstly misplaced, and secondly yet to stand the test of trial and due process. Indictments must still