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frequently in peace than in \var. Through successive political failures, martial law became an integral part of our national life. "Armedforces are not mobilised the day martial law is lifted. On the contrary, in the light of the past experience, they gain in strength more in the politico-administrative backyard than up front. No civilian regime feels strong enough to do completely without the support of the armed forces. The armed forces should normally stand in dire need of protection from the government ami the people once they transfer power to the elected representatives of the people. What happens actually is just the opposite of it. Their disengagement from political power after the elections, instead of reducing their power, goes on to enhance their prestige and credibility. At the same time, however, it might as well and does create a sense of frustration that goes invisibly with the loss of power. A military establishment, after a long period of enjoyment of absolute political power, is never really the same. In he first place, ;ts professionalism suffers owing to divided attention consequent upon its involvement in political affairs. Secondly, us psychology undergoes a basic change due to prolonged exposure to the laxity, indiscipline and corrupt values of political life. These are only some of the major problems that could and did arise at the end of martial law. To this might be added a more important one relating to the role of our armed forces in the context of our drastically changed strategic equation with India. The Indian military threat the Pakistan has not ceased to exit. On the contrary, it has aggravated manifold and is now beginning to look increasing!)' difficult to meet within our existing resources. The size and fighting potential of the armed forces would either have to be augmented , therefore, to match India's or else so rationalised as to correspond to our own severely limited resources without impairing their combat potential. It is an extremely complicated problem which only a strong civilian govcrnihent, could tackle with a fair chance of **s. 194 Emporium Current Essays success. Left to a comparatively weak government the problem could lead to a direct politico-military confrontation and to yet another martial law. Regarding the basic role and character of the military establishment, it seems of the utmost importance to strike a balance between professional requirements and ideological commitment. A wholly professional, standing military establishment can in practice operate effectively even without an ideological commitment. The British Indian army had
been such a military establishment -- wholly professional and devoid of any ideological content. And yet it had been a highly motivated outfit know.i for its professionalism, loyalty and devotion to duty in peace and war. In an ideologically orientated state like Pakistan, however, the armed forces have, since the Zia period taken upon themselves the role to act as the guardians of the state's ideology as much as that of its territory. The vital need here is to define the thin line between professionalism and ideological commitment. Perhaps ideology is relevant to professional military establishment only as an essential concomitant of political through of the nation rather than as a spiritual (or a theological) force. The matter is not a simple on and calls for a through examination. Yet another problem is regionalism. It has often presented a serious challenge to national integrity. This was seen in East Pakistan in 1971 in all its ugly manifestations. The East Pakistani (Muslim) personnel of Pakistan army mutinied, deserted en masse and then took up arms against their own countrymen, co-religionists and comrades in-arms in a bitter civil strife and war. It can't be said that the East Pakistani military personnel had in anyway been inferior to their West Pakistani counterparts in religious (ideological) motivation and belief. And yet the monstrous wave of Bengali chauvinism completely overwhelmed them Pakistan soldiers were pitted against Pakistani soldiers; and the common enemy (India) became the ally of the mutineers. We must answer for ourselves the question as to why our ideology failed in East Pakistan. Was it because our ideology had been less strong in pre-1971 Pakistan than it is today? If ideology is an extension of geography only, we will have to revise drastically all our ideas of universal Islamic brotherhood. Admittedly geography is at the base of statehood. Is there any difference, however, between an ideological and a non-ideological state in terms of real politics? The bulk of the armed forces comes predominantly from two provinces - Punjab and NWFP. There are not many Sindhis and Baloch in the rank and file. In spite of the sustained efforts by Emporium Current Essays 195 the armed forces, not many Sindhis and Baloch take to a military career. The situation thus caused holds much potential for political exploitation. One hears loud whispers in this regard cverj now and then. If the country is closely knit politically - with two or three strong political parties - regionalism ceases to be an active force. Unfortunately, this docs not seem to be the case in Pakistan at least in terms of the public statements of certain responsible political leaders. The impact of regionalism on the spirit and structure of the •armed forces needs to be examined in detail. Every time the military option is invoked, particularly in peacetime, rcgionalist elements seem to regard, it as yet another case of one or two provinces asserting their hegemony
over the rest. It is disturbingly true that instead of weakening, regional forces and pulls seem to have been gaining strength in Pakistan. This was one of the major challenges which was faced by all martial law regimes in : Pakistan. Regardless of countless other factors, the emergence of Bangladesh came in the wake of military action under a martial law j regime. Was it simply the failure of the military option or the failure I of political process caused by the politicians own lack of mutual ; accommodation? Whichever might have been the case, the country was ruptured irreparably and the military was squarely blamed for it. It had been a total national failure; and the military was simply used as the whipping boy by fiercely ambitious politicians. The terms of reference given to the Hamoodur Rahman Commission had significantly made no mention of the political debacle preceding the military debacle. Politicians had, by and large escape the nemesis which overtook the country and the armed forces. A professional military establishment such as ours in trained to fight war and to tackle the law and order situations during peace time. Its capability to deal vith political anarchy and insurgency remains limited both in terms of orientation, training and specialised hardware required to deal with such situations. Furthermore an essentially law and order situation (such as followed the PNA protest movement (March-July 1977) (against Bhutto) is materially different from one of insurgency and rebellion (such as Shaikh Mujibur Rehman's seizure of government authority on March 2, 1971) - virtually a declaration of war on the central authority. The military, however, initially mistook it for a law and order situation and tacked it accordingly and ended up in Zia's martial law. Martial law's main weakness flows from its absolute unshared authority. It is good to associated politicians or bureaucrats as cabinet ministers, but so long as the umbrella ofEmporium Current Essays martial law remains, the ultimate responsibility continues to rest with the military establishment. The military establishment in Pakistan has been caught in a cross-fire of professional duty and ideological (or political) commitment. It is like a trap easier to get into than to get out. In a situation like this, the main threat materialises suddenly catching one of one's balance. It is of utmost importance, therefore, to visualise the threat clearly and mobilise the means to meet it, if it docs arise. What may well be described as the military will, unfolded itself in its awesome majesty and dominated the national scene between 1958-1988) with brute forccfuiness. It smothered the political will and virtually banished it from the affairs of the state for the next three decades (1958-1988). The Bhutto interregnum (1972-77), between General Yahya's (1969-71) and General Zia's (1977-88) martial law regimes could be described as the only lucid interval. Unfortunately, however, it too was stigmatised by full-scale military deployment in Balochistan and finally eclipsed by the imposition of martial law in several major cities at the behest of a beleaguered political government. Under Zia, the military will exerted itself so powerfully as to force the political will into wildness. The sheer apathy which the political forces showed through over a decade of Zia's authoritarian rule, robbed them of much of their credibility a vital factor in national
affairs. MRD agitation of 1983, a magnificent show ol people's power, ailed to achieve the contours of a well-led and purposeful mass movement because of the absence of politica orientation and leadership. It only helped Zia to impose tcrrifyinj attrition on the forces, arrayed against him, first by crushing then with an iron hand and then by beguiling them with meanly handful of democratisation through partylcss polls, etc. In the person o General Zia, the military will reigned supreme in the country fror 1983 (post-MRD campaign) to May 29, 1988, when in the over inflated vision of his own power, Zia committee the terminal erro of dismantling his own hand-crafted political order by dismissing th Prime Minister, Muhammad Khan Junejo, his own protege, an dissolving the National an the Provincial Assemblies, his own noi party handiwork. Zia's 29th May fiat was an awesome display i highly individualised power and arrogance beyond which there the inevitable fall. .
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