Will the Pakistan Army Take Ownership of Our Problems?

An Open Letter to Pakistan Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan Corps Commanders General.

Dear Sir and the Public at large, We all know that the “establishment” of Pakistan has the influence of Pakistan Army to a very large extent. Let’s not talk about its constitutional role, but reality.

At a personal level, the majority of Army Officers I met have been thorough ladies and gentlemen. At a national level, it’s a different story.

I am sure you are well aware of this, sir, but for the last 4 decades, the leadership has chosen to conveniently ignore it.

Pakistan Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa. NewsBlaze cartoon
General Qamar Javed Bajwa. NewsBlaze cartoon

Yes there were three terms of “martial law” but they were not permanent solutions, and led by dictators who had their own faults. But you well understand that democracy in its current form has been even worse than dictatorships for Pakistan!

Such is our pathetic state!

Torn between the devil and the deep blue sea. Under democratic leaders we took loans from the West to the tune of 120 billion US dollars. Most of which, like our budget, was plundered and used for personal gain of politicians, bureaucrats and other institutional leaders.

Did you see that? What did you do about it?

Technically speaking, our constitution is a practical guide except for some elements relating to religious discrimination. But it has been in the wrong hands ever since it was created.

On the face of it, the world and Pakistanis are fooled that we have democracy. You and I and our 250 million people know better. Our system of democracy has been skillfully hijacked for decades by politicians supported by your institution and the bureaucracy.

Why is it that an ordinary citizen cannot win elections unless they become slaves to the “Big 3” now?

The Real Problem With Pakistan

Herein lies the real problem with Pakistan. A constitution that is on paper only and is not implemented in spirit. Yes, as of late the judiciary has taken an active stance. But it is too little, too late, and cosmetic. Unless the constitution is followed in letter and spirit, Pakistan has no chance.

Today our economy is destroyed. For decades investors have lost confidence in Pakistan, what was once a booming industrializing nation. Our national airline, PIA, which helped gulf airlines, is today being banned from 188 countries. You know the story of steel mills, railways, K-electric, WAPDA, it’s a long and painful list.

Our foreign relations are pathetic at all levels. We do not have good relations with a single one of our neighbors except China! The world either mocks us or uses us. Even today we harbor religious extremism and minorities are unsafe in Pakistan. In fact, even the majority is unsafe in Pakistan!

That is because our law and order system has been systematically destroyed by the so-called “establishment” to serve only the rich and powerful. One proof of our international standing is the visa restrictions imposed on Pakistani travelers almost all over the world!

There was a time when life was different. When our economy was stronger. Our image was better. And we had hope. Not today.

Our Constitution has only one downside. It is ultra-religious. I too am a Muslim but object to the use of Islam to persecute minorities. The fact that Ahmedis are disenfranchised and persecuted is pathetic. A religious leader can discuss religion, as long as they do not spread hate. But to mutilitate our constitution is simply beyond wrong, just to appease the Mullahs.

These are painful but stark realities. And it is all the result of one thing. Not following our constitution (except the religious bigotry parts.)

Everyone in Pakistan and abroad is very well aware of the Pakistan Army’s role in bringing political leaders to the fore. Bhutto through Ayub, Nawaz & Altaf through Zia, NRO by Musharaff that paved the way for re-election of Zardari and Nawaz, our corrupt looters, and 80 billion US dollar loans on Pakistan in just 10 years from 2008-18.

Today Imran Khan is openly called a “selected” Prime Minister because of the Army’s support for him behind the scenes.

My question is simple: why go to these complex lengths of engineering to achieve a simple task? Why not consider the constitution for once a document that needs to be implemented in letter and spirit? Why not create a system where it CAN be implemented?

I ask you to play your role to ensure the constitution is understood and implemented, unlike today, when it is misused by looters to gain power.

I don’t have all the answers. You need to find them. Work with the good people in judiciary (There may still be some left) and find a way.

Find a way for the constitution to be implemented. Where an ordinary man can fight and win elections, and lead Pakistan. That is impossible today.

You have the ability to turn the impossible to possible. Please do it … I know you can.

Imran Owais Kazmi

Imran Owais Kazmi is a an expat Pakistani vocal on change locally and globally through good governance and tolerance.