cosmetic value

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Feb 2019 12:22:35

THE Pakistan Supreme Court’s order prohibiting members of Armed Forces any way associating with political activity and asking Government organisations like powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to operate within the country’s rules and regulations, will be taken with a pinch of salt and holds a mere cosmetic value. Because the world is witness to who runs that country and how since Independence. So powerful has the Army and its protege the ISI have become that they are final arbiters of how the country is governed and what should be the policy that the so called elected Government should pursue, including foreign affairs. In this situation it is questionable whether the judiciary itself enjoys the independence it is expected to exercise. It is doubtful whether the two most powerful entities, the Armed Forces and the ISI, would give any importance to the Supreme Court edict. 


Ever since Independence the Armed Forces have wielded enormous powers during much of its existence. Not satisfied with acting from the wings, the Armed Forces have overthrown elected Governments on several occasions and have held firm grip on Pakistan’s governance. The Army’s presence, especially in foreign affairs, has been much domineering than civilian government. It is, therefore, no surprise that Pakistan’s foreign policy has an indelible stamp of the Armed Forces authority. This makes the existence of the civilian Government and their elections periodically farcical. In fact the Army has ensured that no Government decision is taken without its stamp of authority.


The strained relations with India is a direct result of Pakistan Army’s unwavering interference. There have been numerous occasions when the civilian Governments of the two countries have come very close to sorting out their differences and very nearly had finalised agreements. On such occasions the Pakistan Army has ensured that these efforts are sabotaged by stage-managing attacks on India’s interests. The Kargil war is a fine example of how the Army dictates policy governing neighbours like India and Afghanistan. No civilian Government in Pakistan is free to take decisions on its own accord unless the Armed Forces are kept in the loop all the time.


Pakistan’s Supreme Court has asked the members of the Armed Forces not to indulge in political activity. It is surprising that the court should be so oblivious to the reality that exists right now. It is widely known the world over that the present Government under cricketer-turned-politician, Mr. Imran Khan has been elected with the blessings of the Armed Forces. It was the support of the Armed Forces besides that of some terrorist groups like the one headed by Hafeez Sayeed that ensured the victory of Mr. Khan. After being elected the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Khan has been verbalising policy issues that have an unmistakable reflection of the Armed Forces’ thinking.


The Pakistan Supreme Court has also asked the country’s provincial and Federal Governments to prosecute those individuals and groups which advocate hate, extremism and terrorism. This again is far from the reality of the situation that exists in Pakistan. In fact several international agencies and governments are unanimous in their view that the Government and the Armed Forces are blatantly using terrorism as a policy tool to cause unrest, destabilisation and encourage separatist forces in neighbouring countries.
Pakistan Supreme Court’s edict wishes away the reality that exists there. If the Armed Forces, the ISI and the political community in that country are really going to follow the edict of their Supreme Court that will be a golden day for the lawless country. In that case there will be a real rule of law where the writ of the civilian Government will run. As of now it is a pipe dream.