Sharif’s Merit Policy

By Dr Shahid Qureshi

Appointment of new COAS is a major decision for the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. I am sure he has learnt many things during his exile and one of them is the respect of merit. According to seniority list Lt General Haroon Aslam is on the top of the list with vast experience in dealing with terrorists involved in both domestic and international terrorism. It is irrelevant where he was in 1999 and what he was doing. The most important thing is he was following the orders from his commander. If MNS can take back ministers of General Musharraf cabinet why should he be discriminating someone who was part of military operation which Indians didn’t like? This policy of ‘us & them’ in political and military circles must end, all should be one page.

Pakistan and its Army has suffered due to the dictatorships of Generals Auyb Khan , Yayaha Khan, Zia ul Haq and Pervez Musharaf. Many brilliant officers were denied chance to reach on top because these dictators. It is high time for Prime Minister to start institution building by following open merit policy. Surely ideas and instructions move downwards from the top. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan have already suffered by the appointment of General Pervez Musharraf when senior officers were by passed.

Pakistan is facing major challenges at the moment:
(a)Treachery – conspiracies against Pakistan (b) Terrorism (c) Financial terrorism (d) Energy Crisis (e) Media War (Psychological War)
To deal with the above bravery is not enough but a cool, calculated and collected effort is required. A person who is experienced in dealing with all the above challenges or having in depth knowledge as well as leadership qualities can handle this better. MNS might be nervous about appointing a SSG (Commando) as COAS due to the Gen Pervez Musharraf’s misadventure. It was a miscalculation and probably a bad advice to him. But now merit should prevail. It is time for MNS to build his image in the armed forces as a statesman and appointment of the senior most will send a message down the spine of the armed forces that anyone can become COAS if he is on merit.


He needs a man who has in depth experience in dealing with terrorism and terrorists. Once law and order is maintained in the country economic activity will start automatically.  The media war and psychological war against Pakistan is in full swing at the moment and Pakistan seems defenceless. This war cannot be won or fought with tanks and jets. That’s where the elimination treacherous elements come as a top priority.

Once armed forces to go war politicians and intellectuals normally shut up and support their soldiers, keep their views for later because (a) it demoralise the soldiers,(b) negative impact on the moral (c) create doubts about the legitimacy of the mission. Pakistani politicians especially religious and other parties should show maturity, stop giving immature statements and should visit the soldiers on the front line.

MNS should also visit soldiers on the front line for moral boasting and confidence building with Pakistan’s army forgets about how Indians feel. This abusive relationship with Indian must end and MNS should keep away from dodgy characters.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must let go his past and create a new prosperous Pakistan shining with rule of law, merit, peace and justice. The whole nation will be behind him.