News Analysis |
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa chaired a Corps Commanders Conference on Tuesday at GHQ Rawalpindi. The meeting between the Army Chief, the Corps Commanders and the Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) reportedly lasted for seven hours.
The media must also act responsibly instead of giving air to conspiracies by dishing-out unverified reports of the happenings inside the GHQ
The conference is a routine affair in which the top military brass of the country discuss security and regional matters. As expected, continued ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) by Indian forces, counterterrorism efforts inside the country and the Afghan imbroglio were the main topics of discussion.
However, the media wing of the military, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) neither informed about the conference nor has given out a statement after the conference. This is a deviation from normal practices of the ISPR. The media wing issues a customary press release followed by the DG (currently Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor) tweeting it.
With none of this happening till now, the rumor mill is running in the country through media speculations. This comes at a time when the legal noose is tightening around the Sharif family. It also comes a day after civil-military tensions were portrayed to have been rising because of the incident with the interior minister, Ahsan Iqbal.
If the disqualification of one lawmaker on violation of the Constitution is undemocratic then questions are raised as to how democracy is construed by those who are defending it
The minister was debarred from entering NAB while former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was there in relation to corruption references. The Rangers did not allow Iqbal to enter the court, to which he took serious exceptions. It was followed by an uproar by the PML-N and like-minded on mainstream and social media. It was deemed a clear-cut defiance of civilian authority.
It also gave a strength to elements who link the accountability sword Sharif with a behemoth military. The “script” narrative gained traction; hence the huddle at GHQ is seen through the lens of civil-military differences.
The way this conference will be analyzed in the days to come will also be affected by political responses. The Parliament passed the Elections Bill 2017 which removed all hurdles in the return of Nawaz Sharif as the head of the PML-N. On Tuesday, the 67-year old was re-elected as the head of ruling party amid boisterous claims of victory by party members. The prime minister called it a historic day while federal minister for state, Talal Chaudhary emphatically said that Nawaz will be the premier in the future.
The prime minister called it a historic day while federal minister for state, Talal Chaudhary emphatically said that Nawaz will be the premier in the future
Many analysts and political workers have conveniently turned this accountability drive into one between Nawaz and the “rest”. The line that is now gaining more mileage is: Nawaz fights back against an unbridled military and an active judiciary.
The script narrative appears weak when it is increasingly evident that the Sharif family is still ruling the roost in the country despite being on the cusp of an indictment. The media termed the Corps Commander Conference “special” without hearing anything from the ISPR. This amounts to disinformation, something which is unneeded in a very tense environment.
It was followed by an uproar by the PML-N and like-minded on mainstream and social media. It was deemed a clear-cut defiance of civilian authority
Attributing the accountability drive to a civil-military squabble is far-fetched especially given the fact that the government and the parliament are functioning. If anything, due processes were followed strictly in-line with the Constitution. If the disqualification of one lawmaker on violation of the Constitution is undemocratic then questions are raised as to how democracy is construed by those who are defending it.
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Certainly, ganging up with arms outside the court with ministers flanking one convicted lawmaker is anything but democracy. The media must also act responsibly instead of giving air to conspiracies by dishing-out unverified reports of the happenings inside the GHQ. The media must be cognizant of the fact that the situation on the LoC is serious enough to compel the commanders to join heads. Certainly, giving hints of generals discussing political matters over those of security is not what the media should do.