The Sandhurst Military Academy has graduated many prom­inent soldiers who went on to defend and serve their na­tions but in our case, the results have been disastrous. Is­kander Mirza and Ayub Khan, the first and second Presidents of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan were both graduates of this pres­tigious institution. Mirza took oath as President under the 1956 constitution on March 23, 1956. In October 1958 in­stead of holding elections, he conspired with the Army Chief Khan to abrogate the constitution together with his appointment as the Chief Martial Law Administra­tor (CMLA). On October 27, Khan declared himself the omnipotent ruler. After failing to get support from the US Ambassador, to hold on to power, Mirza went into exile. He died in London in the year 1969 and was buried in Tehran as his wife hailed from there. Khan ruled Pakistan for over a decade till he was forced to step down in March 1969. He passed away in April 1974 and is buried in his home village Rehana in Hazara. While Mirza joined the Civil Service, Khan rose through the ranks of the Army. Both of them had a very poor track record of service yet they managed to move up to higher positions against merit with disastrous consequences for the new country. The derailment that they caused not only detracted the democratic order it also re­sulted in the break-up of Jinnah’s Pakistan.

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: fmaliks@hotmail.com