Kayani’s words: myths and facts

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

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

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