It was a hot afternoon in June 1948. The voice of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and who had attained the status of Baba-e-Qaum, was pouring out of the grand corridors of a high-arched building, and there was something in it that even today after a short interval of time, there was a special His echo is heard on the spot. This building was the Staff College of Quetta, which was built by the British princes in the grand Gothic style for the training of officers of the army of undivided India. The group in front of which Jinnah was speaking was of those military officers, on whose shoulders was the responsibility of protecting the nascent nation, they also believed that they had to prove the justification for its existence in the future.
Jinnah wanted to clear this second misunderstanding. He told the army officers in an almost scolding manner that their job was to follow the orders of the elected government of the people, not to make policies. Jinnah reminded the army officers of the oath taken by him, according to which, he was allowed to participate in any political activity. It is a different matter that within a few years of Jinnah’s death, the military officers forgot their oath and sometimes openly dismissed civilian governments and imposed martial law, and sometimes they continued to support such a weak government, which danced to his gestures. doing. Imran Khan had such a hybrid government, whose ministers had to reassure the country every other day that the government and the army were on the same page.
Jinnah’s cautionary advice given in Quetta is being cited because the leaders of every elected government of the country remind the army after a coup. The only difference is that after the fall of the government in the past, when Imran Khan and his supporters attacked the Pak Army, the Chief Public Relations Officer of the Army, ie DG ISPR, mentioned Jinnah’s above speech in a press conference. By saying that his organization is a professional organization, whose job is only to follow the orders of the elected civilian government and hence they should not be dragged into any political controversy. It is interesting that it was not hidden from anyone in the country and the world that the previous government of Nawaz Sharif was dismissed by the current leadership of the army by flouting the established judicial procedures with the active help of the then Chief Justice. Neither the bigoted ministers of the Imran government nor the army ever hid this fact. That is when Imran, surrounded by inexperienced and sycophantic advisers, drove the country to the brink of economic ruin and the doors of the military headquarters were scorched by the fire of criticism, then the generals decided to spit them out like hot potatoes in their mouths. Once again Jinnah was remembered and the DG, ISI declared the army in front of the journalists as an institution not participating in politics and completely neutral in the ongoing uproar for power in the country. Now it was Imran’s turn to panic. He started making statements in public meetings that neutral can only be animal. However, on the day the army declared neutrality, the countdown to the Imran government began and fell within a few months.
Imran is on the road today. Opposing parties have gathered against him and formed a joint government and demonstrations of strength are taking place in the streets and squares. The funny thing is that everyone is remembering Jinnah of Quetta. The role of the military in politics was hotly debated at the Corps Commanders’ Conference, the most powerful policy-making body at military headquarters, and a consensus was reached that it should distance itself from it. The memory of the public is weak, but not so much that it should be forgotten that there is a risk in blindly believing this decision of the army, which repented every time after spreading filth in politics. Politicians have also commented on it according to their own interests. For Imran Khan, neutrality means support of opponents, while Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari are skeptical about past experiences.
It should be taken as a great misfortune that no one took Jinnah’s speech in Quetta seriously, not even Jinnah himself. Everyone is aware of the fact that the military-led intelligence agency ISI was founded by Jinnah. Prior to that, the responsibility of espionage was on the Intelligence Bureau or IB, which was a civilian organization. Jinnah created a military intelligence organization and put them behind the politicians. Slowly blood started pouring in his mouth and the result is in front of us.
A saying in Pakistani society that is repeated time and again for some politicians is that they are a product of gate number four. Sheikh Rashid, the Home Minister of the Imran government, used to proudly say for himself that his age had passed through this gate. Gate number four is the entrance to the Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi, through which senior military officers or their guests move in and out. After the assassination of the first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, most of the top leaders are the creation of the army. Of these, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan have also been prime ministers. It is another matter that after being a puppet for a few days, as soon as the ambition of a prime minister to take independent decisions takes hold, the army coups him with some trick or the other. Imran Khan is the first prime minister to be constitutionally removed from power, even though the military’s “neutrality” has made this possible. Now he is roaming around the streets and at present he seems to be getting the support of the public. General elections are to be held next year. It remains to be seen how much he will be able to save this support till then.
(These are the author’s own views)