General Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the last Muslim general who was able to defeat the combined Allied Force in the famous Battle of Gallipoli in 1915. He then resisted the break-up of his own country against the combined strength of the Western armed forces led by the United Kingdom and its Sandhurst-trained officers. Ataturk was a graduate of the Ottoman Military Academy located in Istanbul. Famous military training institutions of the world include Sandhurst (UK, Est. 1741), Dehradun (India, Est. 1932), West Point (USA, Est. 1803), Ottoman (Turkey, Est. 1849) and Kakul (Pakistan, Est. 1947). Perhaps the Ottoman Military Academy has produced the most successful Muslim generals. The Ottoman Empire was spread over 19.9 million square kilometres. The Sultan’s seat of power was Constantinople (Istanbul). Every military academy produces soldiers according to its strategic objectives. In the case of Pakistan both the graduates of Sandhurst, the first and the second Presidents worked against the democratic interests of the new republic. General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan (Third President) and General Muhammad Zia-Ul-Haq (Sixth President) were graduates of Dehradun while General Pervez Musharraf (10th President) passed out from Kakul. All of them had one common trait, disrespect for the constitution. This has to change for the democratic order to take root. The most recent (August 12, 2022) graduation ceremony at Sandhurst in which the current Army Chief was the chief guest also included two Pakistani graduating officers. In the past training at Sandhurst has always been kept in high esteem in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which indicates the commonality of curriculum and approach in the two academies. Officers also take pride in attending courses at West Point.
A major overhaul of our national training institutions is the need of the hour. The objectives have to be rationalized and reviewed in the best national interests. Service to the people has to be supreme for which adherence to the constitution is an essential requirement. It is the most important state document as it is an agreement between the rulers and the ruled whose disrespect should result in an effective reprimand. General Musharraf was tried and convicted under Article 6.
In addition to discipline, a soldier needs courage and cause to fight for. Every nation defines its causes and then trains its soldiers to defend them. The Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst was created to serve the British Royalty. As a result, the spread of imperialism and colonisation of the world took place. Today 54 independent countries are a part of the British Commonwealth of nations which speaks highly of the contribution made by the Sandhurst Graduates in building the empire. Only the United States of America (USA) has refused to be a part of this international community of nations who were kept under the royal yoke. General George Washington led from the front, he drove out the colonial forces and declared freedom on July 04, 1776. There has been no looking back since then. After enacting the constitution, Washington was elected President of the republic. He served two four-year terms and then sought retirement. Currently, Joe Biden is the 46th elected President of the USA. No graduate of any military academy has ever crossed the line in that country. In August 1974, when President Richard Nixon was close to being impeached, his Chief of Staff General Alexander Haiq advised the President to declare an emergency as Commander-in-Chief and dissolve the Congress. Nixon preferred to resign and go home.
Dr Farid A Malik
The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation, email: email@example.com