By Rukhshan Meer
What is required to develop a strong Pakistan? The answer is “A strong democracy”. Democracy doesn’t only extends to the parliament but It also covers a wide variety of civil institutions i.e. Police, Medical, Education, Foreign and Internal departments of the country. Every institution must work as it was supposed to do the work at the time of its inauguration. Officers must come through a transparent system, work as they are assigned by the government and return home after their tenure has ended. This process should apply to all sort of civil servants.
The Pakistan Army has been a well reputed and powerful institution of the country since 1947 when General Frank Messervy was his Commander in Chief. The Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army, (reporting name: COAS), is the four-star rank appointment in the Pakistan Army, which is held by the senior four-star rank officer appointed by the President of Pakistan, and on a summary sent by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The appointment of COAS is for a period of three years unless President of Pakistan (on the recommendations of Prime Minister of Pakistan) extends its tenure for any sacred cause. After the second Chief of Army Staff General Douglas Gracey (office tenure from 11 February 1948 to 16 January 1951), came the turn of Field Marshal Ayub Khan – who held the Pakistan’s most well reputed institution for eight years, i.e. 16 January 1951 to 26 October 1958. Ayub Khan was the first man who brought out and utilized the constitution of Pakistan and afterwards many like him followed the ideology.
The appointment of COAS is for a period of three years unless President of Pakistan (on the recommendations of Prime Minister of Pakistan) extends its tenure for any sacred cause.
General Muhammad Yahya Khan held the COAS office for six years and left the office after the most tragic incident of the history, the Fall of Dhaka – 1971. General Muhammad Zia ul Haque held the office for a little over 12 years or till his assassination, i.e. 1 March 1976 to 17 August 1988. I am an eye witness of the General Pervaiz Musharraf’s Marshall Law. I was sitting in front of my TV along with my parents when Pervaiz Musharraf went on the national TV. My father had a little political interest with a minor love for the flourishing of democratic system in Pakistan. After watching this news he said ” Might is Right” as is always spoken about here in Pakistan.
Pervaiz Musharraf led the President and COAS office for seven years (i.e. 6 October 1998 to 28 November 2007) and left his office after setting out many conspiracy theories and flaws into the system. Many experts even say that he is responsible for every drop of blood that has been shred on our soil. I think it would be wise to let the past be the past. Since it is useless to cry over spilled milk, we can’t do anything except to make better decisions for the future and we did.
General Raheel stood strong for democracy – he stood strong for the constitution.
General Raheel Sharif from 6 Frontier Force Regiment held the COAS office on 29 November 2013 and soon after he became our National Hero. From training camps to the muddy morcha, from the war zone areas to the foreign tours; he did his best. He actually did more than best, in a very less time he became hero for the tribal people, students, Punjabis, Sindhis, Balochis and all of Pakistan. Yes, he carried out his duties well, even at the time when there was misleading information being circulated due to the lack of knowledge about his extensions; he informed the journalists and clearly rejected any news on extension of his service – bravo! He respected the constitution at the time of dharna when two parties standing at D-Chowk were ridiculing Pakistan and dancing to a beat. General Raheel stood strong for democracy – he stood strong for the constitution. There were many elements at that time which were starting a fire by saying a coup d’état is must now and things like “Umpire ki Ungli”. However, now the same people from the same parties are saying that he must take extension for the betterment. No doubt he is the best General from the past and presently the most cherished military leader – he will be remembered throughout the history. The main reason behind this love and affection towards Raheel Sharif is that he respected the constitution and democracy. So let him be. He is our hero and heroes live forever. He is a guy behind 200 million smiles, let him be our hero.
The author is pursuing his bachelors degree from School of Media and Communication Studies, University of Central Punjab Lahore with International Relations major. He is the winner of best University Debater Award 2015 and is planning to write for an Urdu and English daily. He tweets @rukhshanmeerpk