Musharraf: Tarnishing the reputation of the army

 The Pakistani Military is on paper a professional fighting force that few in the world can match. It has 620,000 active personnel, with another 528,000 troops in reserve and a paramilitary force of 302,000. Pakistan has the 7th largest on duty military in the world, making it the largest force in the Muslim world. It is a declared nuclear power, being equipped with nuclear weapons that it can deliver across a territory ranging from the Bay of Bengal to the Mediterranean Sea on a range of ballistic and cruise missiles. Its Air Force is amongst the most renowned in the world. It is in short, a fighting force that should be more than capable of not only defending the borders and physical sovereignty of Pakistan, but also its interests abroad. Yet today instead of occupying the place of honour it once held amongst the people of Pakistan, and Muslims worldwide, the military is fast becoming an institution that is disliked by the an increasing number of Pakistani’s. It is precisely the policies of Musharraf and his subservience to his US masters that explains the Army’s poor standing in the eyes of many.
If one is to study the Pakistan army today, it can be plain to see that whilst the vast majority of the army in Pakistan has been loyal to the nation and the Islamic sentiments that it was established to preserve, the command structure of the army is now riddled with Generals who are loyal to the ideals of Musharraf and not the nation. In pursuing his secular vision of “Enlightened Moderation” and his obedience to the America’s “War on Terror”, Musharraf has from the beginning sought to bring the leadership of the military in line with his own ideals. Since taking control of Pakistan, Musharraf has consistently been removing officers from the army who show any inclination towards Islam and replacing them with his own hand picked cronies and ‘yes-men’.

Musharraf, ever since coming to power, has consistently been shuffling around the most powerful figures in the Pakistan Army, the nine Corp Commanders, in attempt to prevent a coup from being launched against him. Musharraf has exploited the tradition of the Pakistan Army, where a senior officer retires if a junior is promoted above him, to achieve this objective. This has resulted in the loss of meritocracy at very highest levels of the army, resulting in a weakened fighting force. In the most recent restructuring of the army, Musharraf has pledged to stand down from the post of Army Chief as long as he can remain President of Pakistan. His nominated replacement, General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, was the man who led the investigations in to the alleged attempts on Musharraf’s life in 2003, which ultimately led to the court martialling of a number of low ranking military personnel. Kiani is said to fully support Musharraf’s policies, with Musharraf himself saying at an army dinner in October 2007 “both of us think alike”. The Director-General of Pakistan’s powerful ISI agency is Lt Gen Nadim Taj, a man who himself was on the plane which was bringing Musharraf back from Sri Lanka when the October 1999 coup took place. He has served as Musharraf’s military secretary (MS), a position which is normally given to a close confidante. The head of Pakistan’s Military Intelligence (MI) agency, is Major General Nadim Ejaz. Ejaz has been selected from obscurity within the ranks of the ISI, and he is also a relative of Musharraf’s wife.

Elements of the Pakistan Army have also tarnished their reputation by getting embroiled in business. The business interests of the Pakistan Army are now said to be worth up to an estimated $20 billion, with an estimated $12 billion tied up in the 12 million acres of land owned by the Army. The Army has business interests ranging from bakeries, banks, insurance companies, universities, cement companies and cereal manufacturers. The Army is said to control up to one third of all heavy manufacturing in Pakistan and 7% of private Pakistani assets. Many retired Army officers are placed in leading institutions, with up to 1200 officers being placed in to such positions since Musharraf has come to power. Despite its claims of being more organised and efficient than the civilian sector, these acts have bred resentment amongst Pakistani’s that much of the nation’s wealth is being held to ransom by the military by force.

Then there are the operations of the Pakistan Army on the civilian population. At the behest of America, the Pakistan army is conducting an expensive war, both in terms of money and lives, on the western flank of Pakistan. Due to its incapability at fighting its own wars, the US has forced Musharraf to send Pakistani troops to help in the war in Afghanistan. This has been a disaster for Pakistan, as it has seen Pakistani soldiers and nationals killing each other and leading to an increasingly unstable Pakistan. These actions of the Pakistan army, have led to a growing rebellion and increasing calls of separatism in the areas of Waziristan and the tribal belt. This chaotic state of affairs has now spread to the Swat valley, where again the Army is using gunships and jets to kill its own citizens. In response you have some groups who are now attacking the army of Pakistan and killing the very soldiers who have taken an oath to defend them. This is in addition to the rest of the country which despises Musharraf’s alliance with America and its imperialistic ‘War on Terror’.

Under Musharraf the Pakistan Army has fallen from honour and dignity. The Army, which previously was seen as the defender of the nation is now seen as an oppressor. The Army, who’s own motto is “Iman, Taqwa and Jihad Fi Sabilillah”, is currently engaged in a war against Islam led by America and her allies. The Army, whose soldiers should be seen as honourable mujahids by the people are being seen as nothing more than mercenaries and thugs due to the corrupt leadership at its head currently. The Army, instead of keeping the borders of the nation secure are currently engaged in killing its own people and providing bases for a foreign power, America, which is killing its own brothers.

Army of Pakistan! When will you wake from this slumber? When will you once again adhere to your own motto? When will you return to defending the nation and not oppressing it? You are one of the most powerful fighting machines in the world, more than capable of not only defending Pakistan but the wider Ummah also. You find yourselves being paid a pittance for your efforts, you find yourselves spilling blood and having your own spilt for a cause other than Islam and defending your people. A true Islamic army is not how you find yourselves today. An Islamic army defends its people, liberates the oppressed and serves as a guard against any evil or mischievous foreign powers. A true Islamic army is the honour and pride of its people, with soldiers and officers alike being respected, not hated. Loved for both the strength of their military prowess and level of Iman.

Soldiers of the Pakistan! The people of the Ummah know that you did not join the Army to be oppressors. The Ummah knows that the majority of you are being forced to perform these actions by the will of a minority. The Ummah knows that you do not want to leave the country in the hands of the corrupt politicians who will lead it to destruction. But do not let the corrupt amongst you abuse your professionalism and dedication to the command structure of the Army for their own evil ends. Know that you will die one day, and then neither your comrades nor your superiors will be able to stand between you and Allah (swt) when He (swt) accounts you for your actions. Do not be of the people Allah (swt) mentions in the following ayah:

“The Day that their faces will be turned upside down in the Fire, they will say: “Woe to us! Would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger.”

“And they would say: “Our Lord! We obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us as to the (right) Path”
[TMQ Surah Al-Ahzab Verses 66,67]

Our brothers in Islam! Answer the call of your Rabb, and establish His (swt) deen on this Earth before you too are in your graves. You are in a unique position, the position which has only been granted to the likes of Khalid bin Waleed (ra), Tariq bin Zayd (ra), Muhammad bin Qasim (ra), Salahuddin Ayubi (ra) and Muhammad Al-Fatah (ra). Will you choose to be amongst such personalities in Jannah, or will you stay as you are and watch your country become an American protectorate whilst earning the displeasure and wrath of Allah (swt)?