Syed Ali Zia Jaffery |
The explosive, controversial and damning report of the Joint Investigation Team(JIT) has brought about furor and euphoria alike. The government and the Sharif family have rejected the report and have vowed to rough it out in the courts. Despite demands of resignation, the PM has decided to hold ground and challenge what his supporters call as a “conspiracy” against democracy.
The reactions to the report entailed references to nefarious forces at play to subvert the system. Federal ministers and other representatives of the ruling party along with the likes of Asma Jehangir and Javed Hashmi have pointed out that a plan is afoot to bring the government down.
This has again brought about civil-military relations in the discourse.While one cannot circumvent the force of history in analyzing events, but it is important to note that there are few takers to the claims that the Panama Case is part of a well-orchestrated campaign to topple the government.
Civil-Military relations have largely remained smooth; the tensions over the Dawn Leaks report were short-lived. The fact that the military took back the “rejection tweet” meant that institutional confrontation was not in order. It is also important to mention that the military, despite being invited to resolve the then simmering impasse with Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri did not go the distance. Pundits and governments representatives confidently said that the “umpire didn’t respond”. This was enough to suggest that the highly-dreaded establishment put its weight behind the incumbent government.
During the last four years, the military and the civil government has been on different pages on quite a number of issues, to include counter-terrorism; the squabble over Geo TV or perhaps on the issue of General Musharraf. However, tensions were papered over and both institutions have gone along in dealing with matters pertaining to the state.
It would be poignant to say that this cooperation has led to considerable success in dealing with terrorism although the work on the non-military aspects of CT leaves a lot to be desired for. The resolve on part of both the military and the civilian leadership over CPEC is commendable.
The Army realizes the multifarious threats and challenges faced by Pakistan.There is also an understanding of the need for stability amid a fluid, which has resulted in creating a workable yet tenuous balance between the civil and the military.
Accountability is certainly not a threat to democracy. If anything it is its essence.The Sharif family must lead the way in ensuring transparency and exonerate themselves as private citizens. The government functionaries must not give the impression that they are saving the skin of a family over the system.
It is reasonable to assume that the government is not fending off a behemoth military; the case is not against the government and hence it is important not to make it into a fight for civilian supremacy.
Syed Ali Zia Jaffery is a Research Analyst and Sub Editor at Global Village Space.He frequently writes on defense and strategic affairs. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.