I firmly believe that Pakistan's army is the source of all the trouble in Pakistani society. I am not saying this because I personally have had any bad experience with them. No, the reason is that our budget for any year--doesn’t matter, present or past--sets aside more than 50 percent for the army in the name of defense. This means the army cannot defend us until they have properties for prices much, much below the market value. They can't save us unless their children can attend the best schools; if ordinary parents try to enroll their brilliant kids in that school, they are prohibited by the monthly fees, which are equal to that family’s budget for two months (maybe more). Army personnel have their secured jobs with high school pass-or-fail diploma, but they don’t care if masters degree holders are jobless. And this frustration is drawing teenagers, parents, everyone into crime. The army doesn’t care if somebody rapes an innocent teenage girl, because they're doing the same thing (Example: Dr. Shazia's story is not too old.).
In the last sixty years, Pakistan's army, under the command of fascist generals, has betrayed the nation four times. The generals have no respect for their oath and our constitution. Moreover, they have used their political influence to transform the military into an organized crime syndicate and a business mafia. This organization is the biggest stakeholder and stockholder in every big business in Pakistan. It has the biggest share in Pakistan’s stock exchange, commercial banks, airlines, steel, cement, Telecom, petroleum and energy, education, sports, healthcare and even grocery chains and bakeries. In short, the army's monopoly is present in every sector of Pakistan’s economy. On the other hand, its performance at its profession is nil--the Pakistani army, ranked the seventh-biggest in the world, has not conquered a single inch of terrain. In fact, it has only brought embarrassment to the nation in the battlefields of Kargil and Dhaka, and now with these Swat extremists.
Nowhere in the world is the army is allowed to interfere with the civilian administration, but Pakistan's army is exceptional. Any ordinary member of the army can go to any civil administration office and can do whatever he want to. He's wearing an army uniform, so he can even take out arrested criminals, without any bail.
If Pakistan's army would be honest with its duties, which includes defending the borders and obeying the civil government of Pakistan and its judiciary, then Pakistan would be different. Pakistan's army never liked civilian governments. That’s the reason it openly attacked civilian governments, but always a sudden attack--cowardly. Pakistan has a civilian government, but actually the army has all the strings in its hands, and all politicians are its puppets.
The first solution for Pakistan is to bind the army to only one duty, which is to defend borders.
I know it is very difficult for Pakistanis who already are in crises, but I also know that when the public gathers its anger and frustration to use it as a weapon, the army will at least think twice before doing anything wrong to civilians.
Most important citizens are the Pakistani women. They have to step up and stand in front of this male-dominant army and, of course, male-dominant society.
Mrs. Abeer Khan
West Palm Beach, FL
Aug 9 2008 - 10:06pm