Bravo, Raheel Sharif for respecting the Constitution!
I thought everyone would be happy that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) announced that he will retire when his term ends and will not seek an extension. This is what happens in practically every civilised country in the world, so why should it surprise us that this highly professional soldier has chosen to stick to the Constitution?
But the way some people in the media and on Twitter have reacted, one would think the country will collapse if the good general leaves and hands over command to another general.
— Sir Javed Miandad (@SirJavedMiandad) January 25, 2016
— Zunair Khan (@zunairkh) January 25, 2016
This extension is the need of Nation. Period. #COAS
— Muhammad Arsalan Ali (@_arsalan) January 25, 2016
Pakistan Need you Boss for many years #COAS
— irfan Khan (@islah6_khan) January 25, 2016
There is a bearded media anchor on TV who was almost in tears today (the day after the COAS’s announcement). He invited his listeners and viewers to call and demand that the COAS take back his decision and continue after his retirement date. He even said that the National assembly and all the four provincial assemblies pass resolutions that the COAS be asked to stay on and continue the war on terrorism. People like him apparently think that this country still exists only because General Raheel Sharif has been the Chief of the Army for the past over two years.
Let’s go back in time.
In 1948, just over a year after the country’s birth, Mr Jinnah passed away. At that time, most people thought Pakistan wouldn’t be able to survive. After all, the country was still reeling from the pangs of independence. Refugees were swarming all over the country, we were embroiled in a war over Kashmir, and the government was still finding it difficult to pay salaries to its employees. Yet the country managed to survive, and no general dared to take over the country to “save” it.
Contrast this with what happened 10 years later.
The country was placed under martial law by a general who was hailed as “the saviour” of Pakistan. For 11 years Ayub Khan ruled the country with an iron hand. But when people came out on the streets, and the time came for him to leave, he handed over power to another general, instead of Abdul Jabbar Khan, the Bengali speaker of the national assembly, as required by the Constitution. There is no doubt in my mind that if he had followed the Constitution, the country would have remained united.
But, unfortunately, he had been brainwashed into believing that only the army could manage the country, as a result of which we had to undergo the trauma of Jinnah’s Pakistan being dismembered.
Why do our people believe in one-man rule?
Is it inherent in our genes?
General Raheel Sharif should be felicitated for not taking over the country when Imran Khan’s “dharnas” paralysed the capital. He should be commended for sticking to the Constitution and affirming that strengthening of institutions is what ultimately counts, and that change at the top should not make any difference.
Our virtually illiterate people (including sycophants like the media anchor shedding tears today) should take note.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.