By Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan

General Kayani

The Government while extending the service tenure of the Chief of Army Staff, General Ishfaq Pevvaz Kayani elucidated that, the extension is necessary for the continuation of the Global War on terror. But, literally speaking, this is not the only aspect. The General is widely known for his professional competence, acumen and intellectualism, a diversified personality, somewhat quite in nature, but with a resolve for the attainment of ultimate national objective. I would cover his character traits and achievements one by one in this and a few more forth coming articles.

Presently, General Kayani is the most experienced and second to none among the serving and retired senior military officers in Pakistan.  Through a rare combination, the General had the chance of head of the Military Operations Directorate as well as the head of premier intelligence agency, the ISI. Incidentally, the country was passing through the most critical and trying times while General Kayani was heading these two premier organizations. On either occasion, the General proved that he was capable of handling the situation at the time of crises in the best interest of Pakistan.

His commitment to combat the global war on terror is quite evident. Soon after assuming the command of Pakistan Army, the General formulated the strategy to eliminate the terrorists by targeting their breeding centres and areas in their direct control. In this major task, General Kayani did not act in isolation, rather sought the approval of concerned quarters, which were thought as the preliminaries.

These include: firstly; the unanimous consent of the Parliament of Pakistan after arranging in camera briefing for the members of the parliament from both houses.  Secondly; he sought the backing from the people of Pakistan, the real stake holders. Through a number of his statements and media interactions, the general apprised the people about the real situation in the terrorists hit areas and their true motives. Thirdly, in order to minimize the collateral damage, the locals of the areas were moved out on to the temporary camps through internal displacements as IDPs, before the commencement of the military operations.

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Indeed, over the period of time, the terrorists like TTP and many other organizations had become the de-facto rulers in their respective areas, mostly the FATA and Swat. So much so, that they were challenging the authority of the state of Pakistan and had established their own courts for awarding the punishments in the name of Islamic rule. They even declared the constitution of Pakistan as non-Islamic and besmirched the authority of the parliament. In over 99 percent cases, the members of the Parliament from the terrorists hit areas, were unable to visit there. The local civil administration and police force had fled the area. In fact, the existence of the state of Pakistan was made a big question mark for its subjects.

Under these circumstances, this saviour of the nation, through the dedicated support of the people of Pakistan acted boldly to re-establish the writ of the State of Pakistan.  Through his dedicated subordinates and troops, he managed all the phases of these military cum public combats. The innocent people of the areas were moved to safer places and later, on the clearance were rehabilitated. Military Operations in the Swat-Malakand and the South Waziristan were the major examples of this displacement and rehabilitation. Within weeks, there was the restoration of the writ of the Government and lives of the people were made safer as before the start of militancy.   Here I would not go into the dynamics and modus-operandi of the military operation in the FATA and surrounding areas of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhaw.  However, this is for sure that these were the most meticulously planned and well executed military operation with bare minimum collateral damages.

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In this great combat, though the nation and the MPs sided with this resolute Army Commander, but he has been facing a constant and stiff opposition from the neighbours as well as the global actors, who never desired a peace in the region. The infamous Indian spying agency, RAW, through its abettors and perpetrators helped these terrorists otherwise coloured as Islamists. Afghan Government and its intelligence agency, trained by India, fully supported the activities of the RAW in creating the terrorism inside Pakistan. Unfortunately, our so-called allies, the current occupant of Afghanistan instead of siding with the Pakistan, always supported the Indian stance. In many cases the terrorists in Swat and Waziristan were found while fighting with the latest weaponry being used either by US, Israel and Indian Army. They have been funded and trained by the intelligence networks of these countries.

These were, and still are the circumstances under which General Kayani had to act in the best interest of the Pakistan. He accepted all these challenges; both internal as well as the external and so far gaining successes for this nation of 170 million are concerned. Through his various international interactions, General Kayani has thwarted the foreign role in the backing of terrorism inside Pakistan and even in Afghanistan. As he said that, ‘Pakistan cannot wish anything for Afghanistan,’ which it does not wish for itself. Certainly, Pakistan desires peace and stability for itself and so for the Afghanistan.

Winning over the terrorists and thwarting the global conspiracies was not possible without having acumen, a determined personality, the utmost love for the nation and above all, the approval of the people of Pakistan. By the grace of Almighty, the General has all. Therefore, the extension of the service tenure of General Kayani must be taken as a very affirmative and judicious decision of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani. The country needed this gallantry military commander at this time of test and trial. After all, the nation has heavily invested in making the General such a vibrant a personality. Why that investment and diversity be dumped into the drawing room of a retired soldier.

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Dr Raja Muhammad Khan is PhD in International Relations from Karachi University, Pakistan. Now he is an Associate Professor with a prestigious institution, National Defence University, Islamabad, Pakistan. His area of focus is South Asia, Central Asia and the Muslim World.

Dr Khan is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.