Civil-military relations are very important for ensuring the progress, prosperity, and development of a state. If the civil government and military work hard in their own domains then the country flourishes rapidly. But, when there are some issues between civil government and military then the survival of the country becomes difficult. Therefore, the smooth relation between both of them is inevitable. There is a long history of ups and downs in civil-military relationship in Pakistan. Whenever they deteriorated, country suffered a lot.
All eyes are currently on the appointment of new Chief of Army Staff as the current COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa is going to retire on November 29. But, before going home the current COAS, Bajwa has opened a new debate during his farewell speech at General Headquarter Rawalpindi. During his speech he opened a new Pandora box by saying that Pakistan Army has been indulging in the political affairs in Pakistan. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Wednesday while terming army’s interference in country’s politics as unconstitutional said that a state of confusion was created by creating a fake and false narrative. Addressing the Defence and Martyrs day ceremony in Rawalipindi. he said that the army has decided not to interfere in political affairs, adding that the interference of Army in politics is unconstitutional. Gen Bajwa said, “I feel proud to have served as the commander of this great army for six years, adding that the peace in cities and villages is accredited to the sacrifices of its martyrs.” The Army Chief went on to say that the army cannot remain silent if there is external conspiracy in the country. “I want to forgive the aggressive behavior against me and the army and move forward,” he said and added he hopes the political parties will also change their attitudes and we should learn from the mistakes and move forward.
The speech of outgoing COAS has provoked a discussion regarding the history of civil military relations. The Army Chief said that people usually avoid talking about and this is related to the performance of army in the former East Pakistan in 1971. He said that erstwhile East Pakistan was not a military but a political failure, adding that the number of fighting soldiers was not 92,000 but only 34,000 and the rest were from various government departments and these 34,000 people were against 250,000 Indian Army and 200,000 were trained Mukti Bahini but still our army fought very bravely. The outgoing COAS has put the ball in the goal of political leadership in the country regardless of any particular political party by saying that 1971 was a political failure.
Pakistan Army has vowed that the institution has decided not to interfere in the political affairs of the state. This is a great announcement which will definitely be fruitful for the country and nation. But, at the same time the institution has admitted that it has been interfering in the politics in past. This confession has posed a big question mark over all the elections which have been taken place in the country so far. However, the good thing is that the military wing has vowed to stay away from political affairs now. In the current scenario there is dive need of strong civil-military relations in Pakistan. Political and military leadership should cooperate with each other in this regard.