Pakistan Opinion Blog

‘Powerful Army’ Caught with its Pants Down

Entries may be a little edited for clarity or brevity. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of PakPositive.

By Dr Muhammad Iqbal

Whenever the world media describes Pakistani Armed Forces, there’s always an almost-salutary sounding title preceding it: ‘Powerful’.

That is not because the Pakistan Army is being given a nod of approval for being militaristically powerful. It is to describe the Army’s power-hold that it wields over the Pakistani establishment: domestic society, foreign policy and everything in between. Like an Arab authoritarian regime, like a monarch of the old world.

Ruling over Pakistan for most of its existence, owning more businesses and land in Pakistan than any other institution or organization or entity, the Pakistan Army is indeed the most ‘powerful’ in context of its surroundings and environment and what it’s up against usually: rag tag bands of Baloch tribes, Taliban guerillas, a fat-in-the-middle Indian army, urban warlords and youth revolutionaries from Karachi.

It is easier to be powerful over a marginalized, weak-willed and subdued opponents: your own suppressed countrymen.

So it is no great surprise that one hears the Army’s knee-jerk reaction of “Gosh we didn’t know Bin Laden was living right under our nose!” Of course you didn’t know, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

They even made a third-rate political player turned President Mr Zardari to attach his name on a hastily written ‘clarification’ opinion article by the ISI for the Washington Post.

Of course the Army doesn’t know anything about what’s going on. The government doesn’t know. The people don’t know.

The only thing now the world knows is that Pakistan’s Powerful Army can’t even be trusted to be in control of its most important Cantonment, its highly pride, selective garrison town of Abbottabad.

Who do we, the ordinary citizens of Pakistan, the humble people trust now?

  • Raghib

    I’m becoming a fan of u doctor sahib! second first! ;)

    Very aptly put and also i wanna point out that pak army is not accountable to anyone! complete authority corrupts too.. everyone else is answerable to someone, for example people and govt to courts, lawmakers to supereme court etc, except the army!

  • Syed Obaidullah Madni

    I think Army has become soft and used to staying in power, it forgot that its professional duties are to protect the nation, it’s wealth, land and resources, NOT CONSUME THEM! The greatest land grab in Pakistan’s history, Defence extensions, Golf courses in Karachi, Lahore etc just small examples, and those are Army’s feathers in caps instead of combat efforts. Not to forget coups after coups.

  • Female Cadet

    Army is the only one disciplined institution woven into our nation’s fabric. It is the only institution where merit and hard work is the only requirement for advancement. Which other Pakistani organisation can claim such a thing? Political parties are divided into rich families and tribes!? Civil Service is corrupt and sifarishi. Businesses are crooked and black market!! Army is only genuine institution where a son of a shopkeeper or even an immigrant from India can be its Head.

  • Aye M

    Obaidullah has nailed it. Army has been so occupied with running its own companies, “housing authorities” and retired general’s welfare programmes that defence of the nation has become the secondary duty. All with the largest expense in national budget.

    ISI is busy making movies and television shows instead of gathering intelligence.

    Clubs for begums and posh schools for their kids, no offence Female CAdet, great living quarters and CSD type superstores are all that Army’s good for now.

    Kyani recently said the Army had broken terrorists backbone. Looks like the terrorists were safe and sound but Army’s own bones are broken by the Americans in Army’s own house!!!


  • shahid

    Is OBL really dead or is he taken alive and will be tortured for rest of his life to extract information?

    It is possible for the Americans to actually stun OBL and fake an encounter in the presence of OBL’s wife and children and make it appear that he is killed.- for there can not be any better witness of his death than his own wife and children.

    Then whisk him to a secret location and claim that he is given burial in sea.

    For the same reasons the Americans did not take OBL’s wife as hostage who supposedly knows a lot about OBL’s plans.

    That is the reason the Americans can not give an authentic picture of the dead OBL

  • Rahim

    @Aye M “ISI is busy making movies”

    That should be ISPR on behalf of ISI…. ;)

    But I do agree that Armed forces must be for the defence of the realm, not defence of their own interests.

  • wahab

    We only had the army to look up to in this country now it seems even that hope is fading I remember my entire mohalla
    people were filled with tears when the news of surrender in Bangladesh in 1971 reached Lahore. Today it seems we are heading towards a bigger doom. Its like Allah has decided to do away with Pakistan may be He wants to punish for our selfish and corrupt lifestyle in Pakistan we are now Muslims only in name

  • Zuberi

    Pakistan Armed Forces are taken over by greed. Over years they have built a unique empire. Immense wealth and power has changed their focus from professionalism. Those who served armed forces develop another disease that they are far more smart than ” poor civilians who pay taxes for their Ayyashees”.
    Their example is like a members of one large family hired a chokidar and arranged for him the best weapons, food and welfare. Chokidar turned his gun towards family and took possession of most valuable assets of the family and then declared himself as head of family.
    Armed Forces have placed them above laws of our nation and they firmly believe not accountable to anyone like President, Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Parliament, Supreme Court etc.. Killing in Khroat Abad and Karachi by Para Military Forces in their belief is perfectly alright and question of punishment does not arise.
    A beggar buying soap pays tax on soap but a Army General buying soap even after retirement from CSD will not pay tax on soap. A nation without justice cannot survive and for that Armed Forces must shed away their undue pride and feel equal to any other citizen of Pakistan. This means that civilians must scrutinize the entire defense budget spending and Courts in Pakistan can try any serving and retired general and govt. to implement punishments.

  • jay

    I would say Pakistan Army is an organised mafia ..engaged in looting the civilians and the country in the name of defence.

  • Khan

    I dont know the authenticity of Doc Iqbal.. I have never seen him in media or any of forums. He writes well, but needs to show up himself. I would definitely like to see him in some TV shows displaying his knack of analytical cum research abilities and then can commend..

    what ever he has written, has now a days become very common in media. I think he should turn up with solid material as a proof to presented aspects. In my opinion, blame game is a very easy subject.

    people have continuosly been blaming MR PRESIDENT !!!!. but so far nothing in tangible terms !!!!!

    point to think…

  • Khan

    Come on Jay,
    i think you should not be here on this forum ” reading and commenting”, if you have to speak like our mighty politicians….
    why don’t you refer to massive looting by our present rulers…

    for God sake, the foriegn debt in 2008 was around 38 billion dollars and now has crossed 60 billion dollars in Jun 2011…..

    has army looted it…..

  • hansa

    yes mr khan army has not looted it because army is not accountable. can u or anyonelse here can say how much army has looted. i dont think anyone can, because army affair is very secret whereas politicians are not as much.
    so mr khan be careful of taking the side of an organisation that does not reveal its accounts to anyone u might be in for a big shock when the real truth comes out.