Rajat Sharma


akbThe Pakistani army on Monday announced it has dismissed three senior officers, including a Lieutenant General, and concluded disciplinary proceedings against 15 army officers, including three Majors and seven Brigadiers, for their role in the May 9 nationwide violence after Imran Khan was arrested from High Court premises. Though the army spokesman Maj Gen Ahmed Sharif Chaudhary did not name the officers, it is understood that the seniormost officer sacked was Lt Gen Salman Fayyaz Ghani, former Lahore Corps commander, who was removed from the corps and attached to Army HQ. It was the Lahore Corps commander’s house (known as Jinnah House) which was ransacked by a violent mob on May 9. Several other military installations were attacked on that day by Imran Khan’s supporters. The three top officers were sacked for “failing to keep the security and honour of garrisons, military installations, Jinnah House and General Headquarters intact”. Two close relatives of retired four-star generals, including a granddaughter and son-in-law, wives of a retired three-star and a retired two-star general were facing “self-accountability proceedings”, the spokesman said. Over 20 military installations in Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Lahore, Sargodha, Mardan, Chakdara, Faisalabad, Mianwali and Multan were attacked by protesters, he said, adding that 102 individuals were facing trials in 17 military courts. The overall scene in Pakistan is worrisome. The action taken against army officers clearly show that the army is divided between pro- and anti-Imran Khan camps. There were reports that during May 9 violence, several senior army officers had refused to obey the orders of the army chief to fire on protesters. Questions are now being raised. Those in the know say even though the latest action could be an attempt to douse the sparks of mutiny in the army, the embers of fire and anger against the present army chief Gen Asim Muneer will continue to burn. The army spokesman, at his briefing, consistently harped on the theme that the entire army stands united behind Gen Asim Muneer. Looking at the overall picture, Pakistan has become a nation, where army officers are at loggerheads, the army has become a pawn in the hands of politicians, senior army officers are being sacked on charge of mutiny and the army is muzzling the voice of its own people. This, at a time, when the nation’s foreign exchange reserve is almost empty, there are riots over wheat and the government is fast going bankrupt. People have come out on the streets and a sort of revolt is brewing. In order to divert people’s attention from this, the army has taken action against its own officers. And very soon, there are chances that India may be blamed for the present crisis in Pakistan. But I think the people of Pakistan have become wiser and they will soon realize the tricks that the army and government are up to.


Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is angry. He has lashed out at Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and former Army Chief Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa, in a tweet while commenting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s successful USA visit. Imran in his tweet quoted India-US joint declaration which says, both Modi and Joe Biden “strongly condemned cross-border terrorism, the use of terrorist proxies and called on Pakistan to take immediate action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for launching terrorist attacks. They called for the perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to be brought to justice”. And this is what Imran Khan tweeted: “ General Bajwa along with his followers of PDM claimed that I have isolated Pakistan internationally. We would like to ask Gen Bajwa and PDM that after one year of government and countless visits of Pakistani Foreign Minister to America, the India-US joint declaration has mentioned Pakistan’s role in inciting terrorism in India across border. There is no mention of human rights violations in Kashmir or about the treatment meted out to Muslims in India. This imported government has not only made Pakistan irrelevant at the international level, but our democracy, rule of law, economy and institutions are crumbling before our eyes.” Imran Khan said, the American President is hugging the Indian PM in public, the members of US Congress stand and clap in honour of the Indian PM, and on the other hand, American officials do not even bother to speak to Pakistan’s rulers. Imran Khan said, India is emerging as a big world power, and on the other hand, Pakistan’s image before the world now is that of an impoverished nation.”


On Monday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, while addressing a national security conclave in Jammu, slammed Pakistan government for describing India-US joint declaration as “unwarranted, one-sided and misleading”. Rajnath Singh said, “Pakistan felt insulted by this joint declaration and they made the same old remark that India is diverting world’s attention from Kashmir. I agree with them. We have been successful in diverting world attention from Kashmir. I want to tell Pakistan government it won’t gain anything by constantly harping on Kashmir. Apna ghar sambhaliye (get your house in order).” Rajnath Singh mentioned how people in Pak Occupied Kashmir have come out on the streets protesting price rise and shortage of food. “You are seeing what’s happening in PoK now. We won’t have to do much. The oppressed people of PoK will themselves demand that they become a part of India. They have been raising slogans in support of India.” Rajnath Singh also said, ‘Pakistan’s illegal occupation of a part of Kashmir does not grant them any legitimacy over the territory’. There is no doubt that Pakistan forcibly occupied the part known as Pak Occupied Kashmir, and it must vacate this territory. Pakistan has been exploiting the resources of PoK but never considered the people of PoK as its own citizens. Atrocities have been committed on them and their fundamental rights have been ignored. That is why people of PoK are now out on the streets. It was in this context that Rajnath Singh said, the days are not far off when people of PoK will start demanding that their territory be merged with India. Already, Pakistan’s image across the world is that of a poor country that sponsors terrorist outfits. Earlier, when Indian leaders used to visit foreign countries, the issue of Kashmir was raised almost every time. No more. Prime Minister Modi visited the USA for three days, and not a single leader mentioned about Pakistan or Kashmir.

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