By Sajjad Shaukat
Although the 14th August is celebrated every year as the Independence Day of Pakistan, but, this time, it has come at a time when Pakistan is facing multiple threats of grave nature internally and externally, which are worrying all the citizens.
In this regard, on July 28, 2017, five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan announced its verdict in connection with the Panama Papers case and disqualified the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in relation to the charges of corruption. It said that Nawaz Sharif is not honest as he failed to disclose un-withdrawn salary as chairman of Capital FZE Jebel Ali, the UAE, London flats etc., while filing nomination papers in the 2013 general elections.
Supreme Court also issued directives to the National Accountability Court (NAB) to file references against the Sharif family on the basis of material collected and referred to by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in its report and other such material as may be available with the Federal Investigation Agency”.
On the other side, deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and head of the Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) who started a procession from Rawalpindi to Lahore via GT road on August 9, this year said that the huge rally has proved that the people of Pakistan have rejected his disqualification. Nawaz Sharif, while forgetting Supreme Court’s various decisions of the past, which went in their favour, have declared the verdict of the apex court—conspiracy against his family and government.
While, leaders of the mainstream political parties such as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamaat-e-Islami have which want to eliminate corruption in Pakistan have emphasized the former Prime Minister Sharif to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court. PTI Chairman Imran Khan remarked that by criticizing the decision of the apex court and Pakistan Army in this respect and through rallies of the PML-N, the disqualified P.M. Nawaz Sharif wants to create rift between his party workers and the key institutes of the country. Some other political leaders, renowned persons and analysts have also expressed similar thought by opining that Nawaz Sharif seems determined to create anarchy in the country.
Meanwhile, the corps commanders’ conference was held in Rawalpindi on August 7, 2017. According to the press release of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), “The conference was presided over by General Qamar Javed Bajwa, chief of Army staff (COAS)—undertook a comprehensive review of internal and external security environment—Forum was also briefed about situation along the Line of Control (LoC).The Forum acknowledged positive long term effects being achieved through Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. COAS especially appreciated successful conduct of Operation Khyber 4 in a most inhospitable terrain of Rajgal with minimal own casualties which is made possible through high standards of professionalism. Expressing full satisfaction on Army’s commitment to national defence and security, COAS directed that efforts must continue, in concert with other elements of national power to defeat terrorism/militancy in order to establish Rule of Law and uphold supremacy of constitution.”
Besides, while appreciating the verdict of the Supreme Court, Dr. Muhammad Tahirul Qadri Chairman of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) who returned Pakistan on August 8, this year, stated that he had come back to seek justice for the victims of the 2014 Model Town incident and their families. Notably, in June 2014, fourteen people, including several members of the PAT were killed by the policemen in Lahore.
Addressing a huge public gathering at the Nasir Bagh in Lahore, Dr. Tahirul Qadri said that a dishonest and disqualified person asks as to what is his fault—his question to this man is that what crime had the fourteen innocent people committed who were killed in cold-blood on June 17, 2014 in broad day-light—it is Allah’s way of holding the former premier accountable for shedding blood of innocent people in Model Town.” He stated that the “workers have authorized him to stage a sit-in—set to take place now will be the last and final one.”
It notable that the Pakistan’s armed forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the successful military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan. And Pakistan’s primarily intelligence agency, ISI has broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts.
Besides, since the government of the Balochistan province announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants as part of reconciliation process, many insurgents and their leaders have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan. It is due to the successful operations of Pak Army and the Rangers that peace has been restored in Balochistan and Karachi.
Externally, from time to time, Pak Army and the Rangers have boldly been responding to India’s unprovoked firing at the LoC in Kashmir. While, the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda.
But, recent blasts in Balochistan and other regions of the country show that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel have again started acts of sabotage to destabilize Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
In this respect, in the recent past, new wave of terrorism in Pakistan, killed several innocent people, while various terrorist outfits, particularly the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL), and the affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) claimed responsibility for these brutal acts. TTP based in Afghanistan has its connections with ISIL and other terrorist organizations and affiliated terror groups, including Baloch separatist elements, and all these outfits are promoting the anti-Pakistan agenda of the foreign entities against Pakistan. As part of the double game, CIA, RAW, Mossad and Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) which are in collaboration, are using these terror outfits in weakening Pakistan and especially Balochistan in order to fulfill the covert strategic aims of the US-led India and Israel against Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran.
These external secret agencies are especially supporting the TTP which is hiding in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan. Reportedly, Mullah Fazlullah led TTP is behind several terror activities inside Pakistan, as the latter has also become center of the Great Game due to the ideal location of Balochistan.
However, Pakistan’s security forces have been facing a different war, while enemy is also different, which employs subversive activities of various kinds which also include internal and external challenges. In these terms, Pakistan is in the state of new war, being waged by the Armed Forces and intelligence agencies against terrorists.
At this juncture, Pakistan is facing multi-faceted crises and challenges like corruption, soaring prices, energy-shortage, unemployment, crimes, lack of health facilities, and dependence upon the US-led developed countries, IMF and World Bank for financial aid.
Notably, present drastic situation cannot be comprehended by the general masses and even the political leaders who abruptly change their opinion. Therefore, they become unintentional victim of the external plotters who succeed in creating a rift particularly between the political groups, divided on ethnic and linguistic lines. These foreign enemies also seek to create a division between the political leaders and the armed forces of the country.
Nevertheless, today, Pakistan stands at the crossroads of its destiny, facing internal and external challenges and threats to the national security of the country.
At this critical moment, the Independence Day demands practical national unity, instead of verbal statements. This significant day emphasizes that our political leaders must pledge that they will not manipulate their regional and provincial differences at the cost of the national interests so as to grab political power. In this connection, a blind dedication to one’s own race, tribe and creed should not be allowed to create hatred in one group against the other. They must avoid exploiting present thorny issues in order to increase their vote-bank at the cost of the integration of the country. If any controversy arises, it can better be settled in consonance with the constitution or mutual understanding of the government and political parties. In this respect, in order to castigate the conspiracy of the external enemies against the integrity of the country, our political leaders, media and human rights groups must also stop manipulating any crisis against Pak Army and ISI whose image are deliberately being tarnished by the external plotters.
True and selfless unity against the external enemies requires that our rulers and leaders of other political parties and must create national cohesion among various segments of society. Especially, our electronic media should give a matching response to malicious propaganda of the US-led some western countries including India and Israel which are distorting the image of Pakistan, its army and ISI.
No doubt, at this crucial time, Pakistan’s survival lies in selfless practical unity and strong cohesion, as at present, even a layman can note that our country is in chaos and it seems as if there is a “war of all against all” in the sense of ‘Hobbesian state of nature.”
On the occasion, we must follow the essence of the Pakistan Resolution which explained the basic idea of an independent state (Pakistan) in real terms by displaying practical unity which is not possible unless the government, the opposition leaders, civil societies and media owners including all other segments of society pledge to sign a charter of integration which is very necessary to pull the country out of the ongoing serious crises and threats.
We may conclude in wake of our internal and external crises that the Independence Day demands practical national Unity.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations