ISLAMABAD - Though there was no significant item on the agenda of the Upper House of the Parliament to discuss On Wednesday, however, a torrent of criticism unleashed by couple of Senators belonging to treasury benches on what they called the historic mistakes and malpractices of military’s top brass spanning over decades stirred the House.
Today (Thursday) when the Pakistani nation is celebrating Defence Day to commemorate the services of Pakistani armed forces, the Senators called upon the democratically elected government to undertake some “necessary” reforms aimed to mend the ways of armed forces.
It started after Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed of PML-Q being chairman presented the report of the Senate Committee of Defence and Defence Production before the House. Soon after presentation of the report, speaking on a point of order, Senator Abdul Nabi Bangash of ANP criticised top brass of the armed forces for their alleged role in derailing democracy in the country several times for their vested interests. He questioned the huge military spending and defence budget and called for an oversight on military accounts.
“Military in Pakistan is not more than a “white elephant” that consumes most of the resources but delivers nothing. There is nothing on Army’s credit that makes the nation proud except conquering the PM House and Presidency several times,” Bangash observed. Senator Bangash put the entire blame of worst law and order situation in Balochistan province on the military saying whatsoever was happening in the restive Balochistan was not the will of civilian government.
“When a child falls severe ill, the parents do not provide him with candies or ice-cream, instead, sour pills and injections are used to make him fit and sound,” Bangash suggested.
Army generals even used jawans as pan and staged coups and they must be made accountable for their adventurism. He also recalled the last regime of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saying Army undertook Kargil adventurism at the time when India and Pakistan were about to resolve peacefully the Indian held Kashmir dispute. Kargil war was the misadventure of Pakistani Army but upon defeat they put the blame on civilian government, he claimed.
He also alleged that the military establishment led by Gen Musharraf had even refused to collect the dead bodies of our brave soldiers from the battlefield of Kargil but later they did it when Indian Premier Vajpayee announced that India would bestow brave Pakistani soldiers with highest gallantry awards in recognition of their courage.”
He said that Army always created mess in the country by imposing military coups which civilian government cleaned later.
Senator Kazim Khan of PPP endorsed his fellow Senator Bangash’s speech and said that the generals must mend their ways as all the wrong policies, confronting the country, are due to the military establishment.
According to him, waging Kargil war was the idea of only four generals including Gen Musharraf, while rest of the military was completely kept in dark.
“This Kargil war claimed lives of thousands of Pakistani soldiers and the casualties exceeded even the two wars fought between the two arch rivals in 1965 and 1971.
This happened only due to the wrong decisions of the top military generals. The martyrs had no fault because they were bound to abide by the orders only,” he added.
Senator Kalsoom Parveen said that the accountability should be done across the board.
Col (retd) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of MQM said that the services of the military cannot be ignored as they are the protectors of the country’s territorial borders.
“We must acknowledge their sacrifices and the whole institution should not be blamed just for the sake of a few corrupt elements,” he added.
Senator Raja Zafarul Haq of PML-N said that the military adventurism was all pre-planned as they had realized the mistake they had made in Kargil. They staged a coup in October 1999 to save their skin, he added.
Mushahid said that the days are gone when defence of a country was dependent on military might. The defence of a country, he added, now relies on key civilian institutions like parliament.
The concept of atom bomb, tanks and missiles to strengthen the defence of a country is quite outdated and no more applicable, he maintained.
Earlier, Senator Shahi Syed of ANP expressed serious concern over the ongoing meeting between PPP and MQM for holding local governments elections in Sindh before general elections. He said that the government is busy in meetings with one of its allies, while others have been totally ignored on this count.
He warned of stiff resistance if Sindh was divided through local bodies’ elections. Syed was of the view that LG polls are being planned solely in Sindh while rest of the three provinces have rejected the move and termed it a conspiracy to divide Sindh, which will not be tolerated at any cost.