May 11, 2011

Why the Pak army generals need to go home

A friend of mine wrote the following blog post. I thought I'd reproduce it here because it is an excellent read and it asks extremely pertinent questions.
Kayani must resign, right away. Never have I felt this let down as a Pakistani. For me, after 1971, this is the lowest point in Pakistani history of our failure as a state and as a nation. And I hold General Kayani responsible for this, as I hold AK Niazi and Yahya Khan responsible for the 1971 fall of Dacca. Let me tell you why:
A week before the fateful night OBL was killed the mighty chief of our army General Kayani had rather arrogantly declared that 'we have broken the back of terrorists'. He said this in a speech to the 125th graduating class of Pakistan's elite military academy, located in Kakul. At the time he was making this statement, OBL listened to Kayani's speech and his bogus words of 'victory' and Pakistan's 'impregnable defense', not from a TV or a radio but from a loudspeaker a mile away, located at the very place where Kayani was speaking. Yes, OBL was less than a mile away from the army chief on the day of April 22nd, 2011.
This wasn't the first speech OBL had heard live in his stay. Over a period of five years, in which he is reported to have lived in Kakul, various military dignitaries have spoken at the graduation ceremony at the academy, speeches in which they have made many tall claims about Pakistan Army's fullest preparedness to 'meet any eventuality' and thwart 'designs of aggression' by its 'enemies'. I can imagine OBL rolling in laughter on listening to claims about Pakistan Army's capabilities by the speakers all those years--and rightly so, for he had openly declared Pakistan Army its enemy and a 'jihad' in Pakistan to be mandatory, and still he was enjoying the hospitality of the 'Wazirsitani Haveli' right under the nose of Pakistan Army.
Kayani, and his side kick, AS Pasha, now accept that they did not know of OBL's presence. I believe them. But if that is so then here are some questions which the two gentlemen holding the highest and most powerful offices of the country must think about:
1. Pakistan's declared enemy Osama Bin Laden lived under the nose of the Pakistan Army, in a cantonment for five years. Intelligence services, which abound in Pakistan, carry out a security clearance for all purposes, and leave no unturned in harassing the weak and the ordinary. Yet they were somehow unable to identify the many suspicious aspects of the 7-8 canal facility OBL was living in. Wasn't this an intelligence failure? And because Pakistan's enemy was living in Pakistan, was this not a blatant violation of Pakistan's sovereignty?
2. Four (or more) helicopters of United States armed forces entered Pakistan's territory undetected. Carried out an operation for forty minutes and took out their 'high value' target, undetected. Destroyed a helicopter using a missile, and then flew over Pakistan for four long hours towards Arabian Sea, undetected. That Pakistan did detect something at some point and scramble air planes is correct, but it is also true that this happened much after the Americans had left. Was this, I must ask, a breach of Pakistan's defense?
3. Osama was Pakistan's enemy. It is a fact -- which we can deny, but the man, the enemy himself minced no words in saying so. And still, the chief of CIA Leon Panetta declares to the world that Pakistan was not informed because it might have 'alerted the target'. That in the comity of nations, we are the providers of safety and security to all terrorists. That our citizens die on a daily basis because of bomb blasts by OBL's partners or affiliates, and still we are perceived to be comrades in arms with terrorists. Is this not an insult of every Pakistani?
The answers to these questions are simple and they lead me to conclude one thing, and one thing only. Pakistan Army failed in protecting Pakistan. On multiple counts. It failed those 3000 jawans who have died fighting OBL and his affiliates in the last ten years. It failed the ordinary Pakistani, who bears the cost of having the seventh biggest army in the world by continuing to live below the poverty line.
Yahya Khan never accepted that Pakistan Army failed in East Pakistan. Even after his top lieutenant general had quiet shamefully surrendered to the forces of Jagjit Singh Arora in the Race course ground of Dacca, he insisted on continuing. He did not accept that in its failure the army had failed the state and the nation. He refused to accept that by doing so Pakistan Army had taken away a sense of hope and security from Pakistanis.
Kayani, like Yahya, has also not accepted his failure. He is refusing to take responsibility for something he alone is responsible for. He assured Pakistanis of impregnable defense, highest levels of preparedness, ready to ward off any threat, any eventuality, etc...Claims too hollow to be even brought up again. He failed in providing any of that, and still he says 'incomplete information and lack of technical details about the issue had resulted in speculations and misreporting'.
What a farce? The man, who for some time was held in high esteem by many across the world, has anticlimactically brought his own institution, Pakistan Army, into disrepute. He has demoralized the Pakistani people. He has compromised the honor and integrity of the men he leads. And, he failed in bringing the killer of 3000 Pakistani soldiers to justice.
Kayani must resign.

- Asfandyar Ali Mir