Once more, confusion has been created regarding the civilian-army relationship because Lt. Gen. Nadeem Anjum could not assume the charge of the director general Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – the most powerful position after the Chief of Army Staff – despite a clear order issued by the ISPR.
In fact, he could not take the charge even after a week of the announcement because his appointment as per rule, was not notified by the Prime Minister’s Office. This confusion could have been avoided if a timely notification had been issued as previously done in such sensitive appointments. The incumbent is still waiting for orders from the Prime Minister House.
This kind of a situation should have been avoided based on previous experience. There was a similar scenario regarding the extension in the term of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. It was a last-minute showdown — just before General Bajwa’s term was set to expire on November 28 — between the federal government, which had ordered the extension, and the Supreme Court, which on November 26 took notice of a petition challenging it and suspended the extension. It was resolved after a lot of confusion. That case was also unprecedented.
Now that the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has made it clear that it has been a standard practice that the Prime Minister meets the candidates before appointments are made to key positions such as the ISI chief, the confusion should end. Let the prime minister meet the candidates and take a decision.
Since the Prime Minister Imran Khan has said in very clear terms that there is no misunderstanding between the government and the army, the ambiguity regarding the appointment of DG ISI has been removed. In fact, there was a technical error in the deployment of DG ISI which will be rectified.
Talking to media after the meeting of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) parliamentary party on Thursday, Fawad Chaudhry said, “He (Imran Khan) had personally witnessed the history of civil-military relations in Pakistan. This relationship has never been better. Now these relations are good, of course the credit goes to General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The dignity of the army is dear to the whole of Pakistan.”
While talking to reporters, Fawad Chaudhry said that there is no difference between the army and the government, because they are all on the same page. It is a fact that Prime Minister Khan had established a smooth working relationship with General Headquarters (GHQ). Khan granted General Qamar Bajwa a full three-year extension as COAS. The COAS, on the other hand, for the first time ever curtailed the military’s budget in recognition of the dire economic problems facing the state.
Fawad Husain has confirmed, “The process for appointing the new DG ISI will be completed soon. The game that a specific section wants to play on this has been defeated. A meeting before such appointments is conventional. As such making this process controversial is highly inappropriate.”
An organised hybrid media warfare has been initiated against Pakistan with approximately 845 fake websites spreading disinformation against Pakistan with the Indian news agency ANI spearheading the campaign. According to reports, a very large number of the social media trends led by India are using people from within the country to malign Pakistan. A total of 3.7 million tweets were against Pakistan, with most tweets supporting Baloch separatists.
We must refrain from adding fuel to the fire because that will only harm us. One feels pity for those non state actors who have nothing better do to do than to sow the seeds of confusion. In the greater national interest, the rumour mongering about civil-military relationship should end. With the country at such a critical juncture as it faces down an external threat, there is no point in making a mountain out of a molehill. Now is the time when we should not be separated or divided. We must stand together until the end. It is time to understand that we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.
Describing such a political impasse, Sir Winston Churchill rightly said, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
The writer is Sub-Editor, Bol News