Army Rule Prevents Pakistan from becoming a Nation

Seminar in Washington DC

By: Khalid Hashmani

Once again, Washington DC witnessed another interesting and informative session. The “Pakistan and Its Army: A Changing Relationship? ” event was held on Friday, September 28, 2007 and organized by the South Asian Program of Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. The key panelists at this event included Shuja Nawaz, author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its army, and the wars within” and Colonel (ret) David O. Smith, Country Director for Pakistan in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Policy).

Mr. Shuja Nawaz, who is writing a new book on Pakistan Army, comes from a Pakistani military family and is a brother of a former Chief of Staff of Pakistan Army. He began with the statement that “Pakistan is a country that is still struggling to become a nation”. With the separation of half of the country in 1971, a divide between religious and moderate segments of Pakistan has allowed military to rule Pakistan.

He said that although the country was created in the name of religion, the founders of Pakistan were unanimous that it was not to be a religious state. The power of military has grown mainly on account of fear and relationship with India. In the past, people had utmost respect for Army and considered it a strong non-corruptible institution but with time people has come to see it as a one of the root causes of country’s problems. The successful military rules have left national institutions so weak that these institution cannot even work during civilian governments. He said that Army does not have any close relationship with religious elements or attached to a particular ideology. He called Army’s rule as “controlled form of democracy” in which a Parliamentarian form of government becomes more like a de-facto Presidential form of government. He criticized the increasing involvement of Pakistani military in running businesses and industries and said these involvements often lead to decisions that are counter to national interests.

Mr. Nawaz tried to convince that present day military is changing as it is no longer predominantly from the three districts of Punjab. He said that the current trends show that its composition mainly comes from those who are from large urban areas. To emphasize that Army is no longer a Punjabi Army he said that the recent figures show that recruits are being hired in all provinces. It is only after I questioned him about the numbers of native Sindhis and native Baloch in Army that he conceded that many of these recruits may have come from those families that migrated from India, Punjab, and Pakhtonwa and are now settled in Sindh and Balochistan.

Talking about the perception that Pakistan should adopt the Turkish model where military has a special role, Mr. Nawaz said that such a model is not going to work because neither the Pakistan Army is as homogeneous nor the people of Pakistan are passive any longer.

Comparing the past and current financial burdens imposed by military, he said that in 1965-70 period, Pakistan spent about 2.8% of GDP on military and in 1970-75, it grew to 4% compared to only 3% that went to the “development” expenditure. He added that today only 14% of all revenues remain available for investment on the social needs.

Talking about one of a critical “governance” changes that has occurred in Pakistan since the start of military rule was in the “warrant of Precedence”. Before Ayub Khan, the senior most military position was at the 20th position in the order of precedence and now the Chief of Staff is at the number one (1) position. He commented that not even periodic civilian regimes have tried to change this order precedence.

Mr. David Smith, started his remarks by saying that he was proud to have attended the Pakistani Army Staff College in Quetta. He said that like the US military, Pakistan Army too is ill prepared to deal with insurgency type of warfare as it requires decentralization in decision making, creativity, and taking risks. He added that “centralized” system has roots in the South Asian culture (from father to his son – to his son –) and poses the greatest challenge in successfully introducing serious changes. Citing an example from his stay the the Quetta staff college, he said that he was impressed with many things but felt that his fellow student did not show much creativity. Often in certain exercises, even though the students were told to think on their own and come up with own solutions, invariably, students came up with the “cookbook” solutions.

In the Question-Answer session. a member of audience citing the recent event where 280 soldiers including officers and one Lt. Colonel surrendered to insurgents without firing a single shot, asked if the Pakistani Army has lost its will to fight against stronger adversary. One of the panelists responded that the actual facts have not come out in public so we do not know the real story and added that newspapers quote some soldiers as saying that they could not fire on fellow Muslims because if they died in the return fire, they would not go to heaven. To which, another member from audience said, that such stories do not make sense as soldiers from the same Army did not hesitate in firing on and killing innocent Baloch men, women, and children who too were Muslims. In conclusion a panelist said that he would agree that we really don’t know who is being recruited and who is joining Pakistan military.

29 September, 2007

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups,

Educate Sindh Forum Organized a get Together in London

The New Ray of Light : Young Sindhi Leadership is rising

– Sohail Kalhoro

Educate Sindh forum organized a get together dinner at my residence in London on the evening of 15th Sept 07 which presented an opportunity for many SINDHI PROFESSIONALS to personally come together and participate in a vibrant evening which saw friends with diverse backgrounds ranging from: Information Technology, Law, Medicine, Chartered Accounting, Satellite Communication, Business Administration, Environmental studies, Civil, Electrical, and Telecoms Engineering.

Sincere thanks to all friends who took time out of their busy weekends and joined us from London, Slough, Bristol, Birmingham,Surrey as well as Pakistan. Group members started arriving 17:00 onwards on a warm London evening. The event started with an informal introduction of the participants and their respective professional fields. Dinner was served following which an interactive suggestions/recommendations session was initiated focusing on;

1) AIMS/OBJECTIVES: Responding to a query by a member it was informed that the objective of EducateSindh is to channel the resources and capacity of the SINDHI PROFESSIONALS in the field of education, employment opportunities, and career counselling.

2) TARGET AUDIENCE: Again, in response to another question put up by a friend regarding who the target audience is which would be benefited from the services provided by this group.It was elaborated that the group’s expertise and resources is not confined to a single segment and in order to maximize the benefits of the participation of SINDHI PROFESSIONALS as many audience should be catered to.

3) EDUCATESINDH STRUCTURE: It was informed that the credibility and success of EducateSindh is due to the fact that it is an open forum, having no hierarchical boundaries which makes it an inclusive and participative platform for all.

4) ORGANIC GROWTHIt was unanimously agreed that the benefits of this group should be extended to wider community audience and thus the participants agreed to share their contacts by providing a minimum of 5 to 10 new members and thus helping this forum to grow organically. In this regard it is down to the responsibility to each individual of this group to similarly help add new members.

5) EMAIL AS AN EFFECTIVE MODE OF COMMUNICATION It was emphasized that exchanging emails should be made a habit as it provides the most efficient and productive means of communicating as well as encouraging friends and social contacts to stay in touch over this medium. QUICK, EASY & EFFECTIVE.

6) “SINDHI PROFESSIONALS” AS A BRAND The essence of this group is the participation of highly motivated, qualified & enthusiastic Sindhis and this should be made the unique selling point (USP) of our endeavours hence the association with the brand “SINDHI PROFESSIONALS”. Furthermore, it is a step forward in helping relate the common link between sindhis world over.

7) SHARING EXPERIENCESEducateSindh provides a flexible & friendly platform to SINDHI PROFESSIONALS where they could share their practical experiences not just limited to the exchange of emails but also by actually personally talking to the local community including schools, colleges, universities which would benefit the most from the sharing of these experiences.

Each one of us can contribute by sharing whatever little experience we have gained whether it is just by visiting Sindh, Khairpur, Nawabshah & other Universities and talking to a handful of students and guiding them on the spot about their path to being qualified & successful in their respective fields or even just visiting our own primary/secondary schools in villages and talking to the teachers and headmasters. This trend should be encouraged as it will maximize each of our individual capacity to help. The idea here is to not limit ourselves to large gatherings or wait for such opportunities but to utilize whatever little time we have at our hands to broaden the horizon of many.

The get together which went on until around 22:30 was concluded with an aim to further continue holding these interactive get togethers extending to different geographical and wider audience which began with the successful meeting of SINDHI PROFESSIONALS in Karachi on the 12th Sept 07 following onto 15th Sept London dinner with a view to organize a seminar in sindh after Eid.

Special thanks to our friends who attended last night’s dinner. Abdullah Abbasi, Ahmed Kamran, Amar Jalil Metlo, Asad Palijo, Ashraf Lakho, Dr Ali Gul Metlo, Dr Shoaib Qazi, Gul Laghari, Haleem Junejo, Hassan Junaid, Imran Mahar, Imran Soomro, Junaid Ahmed Narejo, Khalid Jamali, Manzoor Unar, Mohammad Ali Shaikh, Mujeeb Metlo, Razzak Solangi, Roop Panjwani, Saboor Mahar, Saeed Soomro, Shabbir Mallah.

News courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups,