A picture is worth a thousand words. In the picture above, top Pakistani military leadership is seen catching their lost sleep (as they were earlier busy engineering the Faizabad protest and distributing money, bribing protesters) during the 206th Corps Commanders Conference in Rawalpindi chaired by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. This picture published in Dawnmentions that internal and regional security issues were the highlight of the meeting. But the seriousness of Pakistani generals in discussing these issues is now no more hidden and is another black blotch on the already tainted army.

This meeting comes a day after United States (US) Defence Secretary retired Gen James Mattis, in his maiden visit to Pakistan, told the country’s civil and military leadership that Islamabad “needs to do more” to combat militant networks operating on its soil. A day before  Mattis arrived in Islamabad, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo had warned Pakistan that if it does not eliminate the alleged safe havens inside its territory, the US would do “everything we can” to destroy them.

Pakistan remains a politically underdeveloped country. While there is no denying that the country’s politics, directly or indirectly, is a by-product of the policies the military favored as an institution, in general, civilian institutions are not allowed to grow out of the phase where they have to concur with the military. More precisely, political parties are expected to play the role of assisting the military establishment in managing mundane national bureaucratic affairs while the latter keeps control of major strategic security and economic issues that extend beyond the country’s borders. 

During the recent Faizabad protests, the Pak military intervention in politics where religion was used to whip up political sentiment and a Pakistani Army General was seen distributing money to the protesters has once again eroded Pak Army’s credibility not only amongst Pakistan’s public but worldwide.

Pak army triggering radicalization along the lines of al-Qaeda’s rhetoric is based on the fact that Lashkar and Pak army recruit from the same pool of educated youth, mainly from Deobandi sect and the districts in Punjab. The army gets the pick of the youth, while the Lashkar chooses from those remaining. Madrassas are not the factories of jihad, what they do engender is a mindset that supports jihad common to both Pak army and terrorists.

When Muhammad Ali Jinnah envisioned the creation of Pakistan as a secular state for Muslims, he had little idea that his dream country would turn into an Islamist republic that enforces religion over its citizens, a hunting ground in which liberal Muslims are killed and is a safe haven for the world’s most wanted terrorist. Sure he must have turned in his grave many a times by now.