Pakistani generals’ oath at the Kakul Academy and the bloody civilians – by Kamran Shafi

The ‘happening place’

“PAKISTAN is the most happening place in the world where there is never a dull moment.” So pronounced the Commando to a “packed audience” at Chatham House in London, to much laughter and mirth.

‘Happening place’ did the man call our poor and bleeding country that is reeling under the onslaught of murderous yahoos who do as they will, wherever they will?

Pakistan is a ‘happening place’ when a women’s bazaar in Peshawar is attacked and over 100 defenceless women and children are blown away to kingdom come? Or when Lahore’s Moon Market is wantonly attacked and over 60 innocents, again mainly women and children, die needlessly and cruelly? Or when an army mosque in the heart of Rawalpindi cantonment is assaulted by people who knew what they were doing, and who identified the children of senior army officers and then brutally killed them? Or and indeed, when a bus full of junior ISI functionaries, clerks and the like is blown up, again in Rawalpindi cantonment?

There is ‘never a dull day’ in Pakistan when according to the latest estimates of none other than the ISPR, 30,457 Pakistanis — 21,672 civilians and 8,785 military personnel — have been killed so far in the war against terror; when in 2009 alone over 10,000 people were killed; when in 2009 and the first two months of 2010, 78 officers and 2,273 soldiers of the Pakistan Army were killed and 6,512 injured, many of them horribly disfigured and maimed?

Never a dull day, what?

Ask the mothers and the fathers who have lost their sons and daughters; ask the sisters and brothers and the sons and daughters who have lost their loved ones to this mad orgy of killing by fiends in human shape. Fiends, let us quickly point out, who were suckled at the ample breast of the security establishment that the man himself headed for far too long. A period, let us also not forget, in which they were allowed to grow stronger and stronger still, due to his own disastrous policies of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds.

Should he not be deeply ashamed of himself for talking so lightly of the hellfire our poor country is passing through?

But wait. Gen Musharraf also said: “I love Pakistan and I would do anything for Pakistan. I took this oath at the Kakul Academy. For Pakistan one would be prepared to do anything.” Hang on a minute. He took an oath at the ‘Kakul Academy’ did he say?

What was the Kakul Academy to him, a man who violated one of the most basic precepts, an almost holy covenant, upon which every military academy is based: that of the honour system? When as a so-called gentleman cadet, he cheated in the nine-mile run and boasted about it in his nonsensical and ludicrous In the line of fire, even the title of which was plagiarised from one of Clint Eastwood’s films of the same name? (Stand up, Humayun Gauhar).

For the information of the ‘bloody civilians’ who might be reading this, a cadet would be relegated for taking a packet of cigarettes from the mess bar without signing for it.For cheating on the scale that Musharraf indulged in i.e. taking a shortcut in an endurance test, the punishment would be no less than being disgracefully drummed out of the academy after the badges of cadet rank (if any), shoulder flashes and cap badge, were cut off in front of the whole First Pakistan Battalion formed up on the parade ground.

So what ‘oath’, what ‘academy’ does he talk about? I should have thought that the ‘happening place where there is never a dull day’ would be Edgware Road, London and its shisha bars, where he lurks these days and not poor, bleeding Pakistan.

By the by, could he please explain even at this late date especially now that he is, as we say in the vernacular, ‘weighing his wings’ before jumping into Pakistani politics (!), why Adm Shahid Karimullah, the ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia at the time, was present, hands respectfully folded in his lap, as Bilal Musharraf and his boss, one Asad Jamal, chairman and CEO of ePlanet Ventures, Global Venture Capital, were meeting Prince Alwaleed bin Talal?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the federal government is going on making a laughing stock of itself by repeatedly first doing something stupid and then when the going gets tough, making shameless U-turns. And then doing nothing about the flunky/functionary who put it in difficulty in the first place.

Witness the judges’ appointment issue and the embarrassing loss of face the government had to suffer. I am told by people who should know that Babar Awan (yes, of the judges’ restoration fiasco fame) was principally to blame — surprise, surprise. Yet, the man continues as heretofore as law minister. Whilst one supports democratic rule by the elected representatives of the people one has to condemn such lackadaisical governance.

However, the politicians will be sorted out by the people at the next elections if they are perceived to be inept etc; what upsets me is that no one, not the government, not the opposition reacted when the army announced last week that the COAS needs no such approval to give extensions in service to generals.

What is the difference between giving extensions and promoting generals when an extension can put someone within reach of the next higher rank obviously at the cost of other officers waiting in line to be promoted?

If the army arrogates more and more powers to itself at GHQ outside the writ of the government, nothing is going to work. Doesn’t the opposition understand that whilst it may snigger at the present government’s discomfort when the army takes it head-on (such as the ill-considered public outburst of ‘fury’ by the generals at the Kerry-Lugar Bill, whilst themselves asking for American aid the very next week), it might be the next government of Pakistan. How will it rein in the (already) rampant army then?

As pleaded many times in this column, might one say to the political forces to come together on the main principles of governance, the first of which should be the elected government’s suzerainty over all the departments of the state?

Source: Dawn, 02 Mar, 2010

7 responses to “Pakistani generals’ oath at the Kakul Academy and the bloody civilians – by Kamran Shafi”

  1. Another Lt-Gen gets extension Tuesday, March 02, 2010 By Umar Cheema

    ISLAMABAD: Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has given one-year extension to yet another Lieutenant General, Tanvir Tahir, the third beneficiary after Lt Gen Masood Alam and Lt Gen Sikandar Afzal, in six months.

    The ISPR neither denied nor confirmed the report, when contacted. Two major general-rank officers are already running on extension. Lt Gen Tanvir Tahir, Inspector General Communications and Technology, was about to retire this month together with Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Lt Gen Mohammad Ashraf Saleem, Commander of the Air Defence, and Lt Gen Ahsan Azhar Hayat, Inspector General of the Training and Evaluation at the GHQ. Lt Gen Sikandar Afzal, who was to retire on March 1, has already been put on a year-long extension. With Tanvir emerging as the latest beneficiary, the future of his other colleagues will be decided in a week or so.

  2. Promotion, Seniority and SUO MOTO NOTICE OF CJSC OF PAKISTAN!!!!

    A request to their lordships of the Supreme Court who just recently humbled an elected govt. The ISPR announced that whilst promotions of generals are to be ratified by the govt, it is the army chief’s prerogative to give extensions to whichever general he wills. Suo motu notice, my lords? – File photo – As an aside, a request to their lordships of the Supreme Court who have just recently humbled an elected government all ends up. The ISPR has announced that whilst promotions of generals are to be ratified by the government, it is the army chief’s very own prerogative to give extensions to whichever general he wills. Suo motu notice, my lords? For, after all, all the organs of state are to remain within their own constitutional limits. Good news, bad news BY Kamran Shafi Tuesday, 23 Feb, 2010

    Govt offers Kayani two-year extension By Absar Alam Sunday, February 14, 2010

    ISLAMABAD: The government has asked General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to accept an extension in his tenure as Chief of Army Staff for another two years. The verbal offer was made to sound out General Kayani whether he would agree to or turn it down. The move has been made to ensure continuity in Pakistan’s policy on the war on terror and it also has a nod from Washington as the Army has achieved remarkable successes in the war on terror under General Kayani’s command. General Kayani has not yet given his consent and is considering this offer, it was learnt. The offer of extension has come at a time when battle lines for a second round have been drawn between the government and the judiciary. It was learnt that the Army has communicated its decision to all stakeholders that it would prefer not to be seen taking sides.

    According to the sources, the extension in service cases of Chief of Army Staff General Kayani, Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Muhammad Mustafa Khan, and DG ISI Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha are ready to be sent to the prime minister and the president for approval. The ministry formed the recommendations on the basis of a consensus that emerged within Pakistan and outside after military’s successes in Swat, South Waziristan and other Fata areas. Although, the DG ISI has already given his consent to accept the extension, the cases of General Kayani and Lt-Gen Mustafa are still pending. Knowledgeable sources claim that General Mustafa, who retires in October this year, will accept the extension if only General Kayani decided to stay. Washington, which has already given an extension to its Centcom Chief General David Petraeus, has supported this move by Islamabad as it believes that such an extension would ensure continuity in Pakistan’s policy towards the war on terror. The decision is linked to the resolution of the ongoing confrontation between the judiciary and the government and the constitutional package that would ensure the supremacy of parliament vis-i-vis the president. The problem with Pindi establishment is that Washington is not comfortable with the perception of Zardari government’s governance style which is being equated with the corrupt Karzai administration in Kabul. “The US is not comfortable working with two corrupt administrations in two neighbouring countries which are at war with terrorists,” the sources said. The sources claimed that the establishment had no axe to grind and was making sincere but quiet efforts to play the role of a firefighter to end the confrontation between the executive and the judiciary.

    Kayani gives one more extension By Umar Cheema Sunday, February 21, 2010

    ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who previously extended the tenure of the corps commander, Peshawar, has now granted a one-year extension to another lieutenant general, as the DG ISI is the third in a row who is likely to be its recipient, all in a space of six months. Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar confirmed to The News that he and Prime Minister Gilani had been intimated about the extension to the general serving with the UN. The minister was reluctant to discuss the nitty-gritty terming it a sensitive issue. Lt-Gen Sikandar Afzal has received a one-year extension that will come into effect from March 1, the day he will retire from service. He is currently abroad serving on deputation with the United Nations Peace Mission. After commanding the peace troops in Liberia, he is now believed to be stationed in New York, United Nations’ headquarters. His official engagement abroad has been cited a reason for extension in service, a senior Army official privy to the development said. The Army chief previously granted extension to the Corps Commander Peshawar, Lt-Gen Masood Alam, in November 2009. Sikandar is now second in the row and the DG ISI Ahmad Shuja Pasha retiring on March 18 is all set to receive one-year extension in no time.

    The extension in lieutenant general’s service was made the prerogative of the Army chief during Gen Zia-ul-Haq’s time when he was COAS-president. In Benazir Bhutto’s 2nd term in office, the issue again cropped up with the prime minister wanted to reclaim the lost authority of her office. But General Kakar had told Benazir Bhutto that the generals seeking extension would be running around the politicians in case the authority to do so was rested with the prime minister/president. Gen Kakar finally succeeded in retaining the authority of granting extension. However, Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz, former secretary defence, said that the extension requires approval from the federal government and cited the example of extension to Lt-Gen Kidwai. “Granting extension is considered the prerogative of the Army chief but he sends a summary to the federal government that is rarely objected to,” he said. Same kind of views was echoed by former ISI head, Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Gul. Another former secretary defence, Kamran Rasool, who is the only civilian, headed this ministry, when contacted, said no extension was granted during his time hence he was not aware of the rules about it.

    Extensions do not need govt’s approval: Army ISPR clarifies only promotions require ratification
    By Ahmad Noorani Sunday, February 21, 2010

    ISLAMABAD: As promotions of senior officials in the Army are becoming the centre of focus in the national politics, the Pakistan Army has officially clarified that extension in services of lieutenant generals is purely the prerogative of the Army chief and does not need the federal government’s approval. Director-General Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR) Maj-Gen Athar Abbas told The News that the COAS can extend the service of any serving lieutenant-general without any ratification from the federal government. “The cases of promotion are sent to the federal government for approval, but, according to rules, there is no need to get approval in case of extension in service of a lieutenant-general,” the Army spokesman said.

    This issue is being considered very important because the extension in service of any of the lieutenant generals retiring this year would have significant impact on the present seniority list.
    Lt-Gen Ahsan Azhar Hayat, Lt-Gen Tanvir Tahir, Lt-Gen Mohammad Ashraf Saleem and Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha are retiring in March this year; Lt-Gen Ijaz Ahmad Baksh and Lt-Gen Nadeem Ahmed in May; and Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Lt-Gen Shahid Iqbal, Lt-Gen Zahid Hussain and Lt-Gen Mohammad Asghar are retiring in October this year.

    The ISPR chief’s statement has also raised question marks on some news reports that a summary for the extension in services of some top Army generals is being or has been sent to the Prime Minister Secretariat through the Ministry of Defence. It has also been reported that Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Corps Commander Peshawar, was given extension last year by the COAS without any approval from the federal government. The second most important issue is the appointment of CJCSC which would definitely have an impact on the appointment of COAS. This appointment will be made six weeks prior to the appointment of the Army chief (if the PPP government does not extend the service of General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who is retiring on November 28, 2010). The incumbent CJCSC General, Tariq Majeed, will retire on October 8, 2010. Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz told The News that after creation of this office some thirty years back, this position was given to the services chiefs in rotation. However, during the tenures of Gen Zia and Gen Musharraf this criteria was not followed and this office remained with the Pakistan Army.

    Lt-General Hamid Nawaz was of the view that this time the position should be offered to some top official of the Pak Navy or the PAF keeping in view the tradition of democratic governments in the past. This issue is being considered very important as this position could be used to manipulate the appointment of the COAS. If a junior officer is pushed up, others may be forced to retire, thus creating space for the desired officer, many analysts think. According to Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid, a major-general is retired on reaching the age of 57 while a lieutenant general is retired either on reaching the age of 58 or completing the four-year tenure, whichever comes first. He explained that if a major-general is promoted as lieutenant general at the age of 56 he will be retired after two years on becoming 58 and if he was promoted as lieutenant general at the age 52 he will stand retired after four years at the age of 56. Hamid said that the COAS is always made form the armoured, artillery or infantry corps of the Pakistan Army and lieutenant-generals from the engineering or services corps are not considered.

    Following this principle and considering all lieutenant-generals who will retire this year, the seniority list will be as follows on November 28, 2010 (the date Gen Kayani will retire):

    1- Lt-Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne (retiring on March 8, 2011)

    2- Lt-Gen Muhammad Yousaf (retiring on March 8, 2011)

    3- Lt-Gen Syed Absar Hussain (retiring on March 8, 2011—never commanded any core)

    4- Lt-Gen Javed Zia (retiring on Sep 21, 2011—never commanded any core)

    5- Lt-Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar (retiring on Sep 21, 2011—never commanded any core)

    6- Lt-Gen Mohsin Kamal (retiring on Sep 21, 2011óhe has opted for a office job because of health issues)

    7- Lt-Gen Jamil Haider (retiring on Sep 21, 2011 ñnever commanded any core)

    8- Lt-Gen Nadeem Taj (retiring on Sep 21, 2011)

    In case ISI chief General Pasha is given extension by the COAS, he will be on the 12th position and Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Mustafa Khan will be on number 13 on the seniority list.
    According to Gen Hamid, for being a suitable candidate to become COAS, command of a corps is almost a mandatory condition. Some experts say that the present seniority list is also the result of tactical and strategically planned promotions and appointments by ex-Army chief and military dictator General Pervez Musharraf. These experts said that during Kayani’s tenure as COAS, appointments and promotions were made on merit. At the same time, they fear that any mistake by the political rulers of the country may lead to handing over the command of the Pakistan Army to someone very close to Musharraf. These experts also say that while making recommendations for the next COAS, the issue of illegal allotment of agricultural farmhouse adjacent to that of former prime minister Shaukat Aziz at Chak Shahzad, could also be considered by the relevant influential circles.

    These experts say that in fact the equally important appointment will be that of CJCSC. If he is taken from the Pakistan Air Force or the Pakistan Navy as per the democratic tradition, issues could be resolved amicably. Otherwise, if some junior-lieutenant general is promoted as general to make him the CJCSC, those senior to him will have to resign keeping in view the Army norms and that could possibly open a Pandora’s box which will pave the way for political appointments. General Aslam Baig was of the view that the outgoing COAS sends a list of five senior lieutenant-generals to the federal government four months prior to his retirement, and the government can appoint anyone from this list keeping in view the criteria and cannot go beyond this list. However, Lt Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz was of the view that the federal government had full powers only in case of appointment of the COAS, and it could appoint any of the senior lieutenant generals for the position.

    Generals on extension never considered for top slots By Shakeel Shaikh Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    ISLAMABAD: No three-star general either on extension or on ROR (retirement on return) will be considered either for the top slot in the Army as chief of the Army staff or for the office of chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) when the incumbent generals retire after serving their tenure. This was the crux of the lengthy discussion with several retired and serving senior military officers, who received with surprise speculations of putting some officers on extension or on ROR as potential candidates in the race for the new Army chief to succeed Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in November or Gen Tariq Majid in early October this year.

    Investigations reveal there would be two seniority lists to taken by Army Chief Gen Kayani to give extension to ISI Director-General Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, there will be three lieutenant-generals (Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Lt-Gen Sikandar Afzal and Lt-Gen Pasha) who would be on extension or on ROR. “Lt-Gen Sikandar Afzal, presently Force Commander UN Mission in Liberia is on ROR and as such he would be retired immediately on his return from posting abroad and he stands no chance to be considered for the two big slots of generals,” said an official source. Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Corps Commander Peshawar, is also on extension for an unspecified period, as he was asked to continue for the sake of operation against the militants. “Lt-Gen Aslam is one of the finest soldiers in the Army and he has sacrificed a lot in the shape of Shahadat of his beloved son in an attack on a mosque located on the parade lane,” said a retired military official.

    Similarly, ISI Director-General Lt-Gen Pasha, who is all set to get extension, would continue to work in the ISI, as his shifting from the ISI to command corps does not arise, and he would retire from Pakistan Army without being considered for promotion to the rank of a four-star general. Military sources say it is the exclusive right of the Army chief to give one-year extension to any three-star general. However, for any further extension the Army chief has to secure approval of the federal government. Military sources say it is not relevant who is senior at present on the seniority list of three-star generals but it is most relevant who would be the senior-most officer at the time of appointment of chairman JCSC and Army chief later this year.

    They maintain seniority does not give a right to an officer for promotion to the next rank, particularly in the case of these two appointments. This constitutional right to appoint services chiefs rests with the president, though President Asif Zardari has decided in principle to endorse or accept the advice of the prime minister in all such appointments. He did it in case of appointments of naval chief and air chief and he is all set to accept the advice of the prime minister in case of appointments of Army chief and chairman JCSC. The ideal scenario, said a senior official, is that the senior-most officer with experience of both command and staff should be appointed to command Pakistan Army or get an appointment as chairman JCSC.

    This unwritten rule has hardly been observed by any civil ruler. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Gen Pervez Musharraf as Army chief by ignoring both the seniority plus the factor that by that time (October 1998) Gen Musharraf had not held a staff appointment as a three-star general, though he was holding a command position as corps commander. Similar is the case with other appointments made in the past. And the most prominent amongst others was the promotion and appointment of Gen KM Arif, who was promoted general without commanding corps. Many pre-2000 period military officers like Hameed Gul or Hamid Javed or others seem not fully aware of the importance of the Army Strategic Force Command (ASFC), its strength and above all the only factor which maintains “deterrence”, as everything is dependent on “deterrence” and the ASFC is the custodian of strategic assets of the country.

    The strategic force was established after 2000 and it turned into a force which forced India at least four times in the past to pull back from the international borders. India is not feeling threatened by conventional forces, including armoured, artillery, infantry or deployment of troops but the strategic force which controls, employs and deploys strategic assets like nuclear arsenal, missiles and their operations. “This unconventional force is the real force which maintains deterrence and those commanding this force should not be matched with commander of a conventional corps,” said a former military officer. Pakistan has nine corps with two command structures. The two commands are known as strategic force command and air defence command and they have whole of Pakistan under their command, not like the corps where a commander can operate being in-charge of specified or limited/designated area in Pakistan. Coming back to seniority issue, the first appointment would be open when October 7, 2010 comes nearer with retirement of Gen Tariq Majid. By October 7, 2010, Corps Commander Quetta Lt-Gen Khaliq Shamm Wyne will be on top of the seniority list of three-star generals. He would be followed by Command Strategic Forces Lt-Gen Syed Absar Hussain (commander of only unconventional force – artillery). Javed Zia (adjutant general-infantry) will be third on the seniority list. He has not yet commanded a corps but it is expected that he would be given corps by April this year. On No 4 will be POF Chairman Lt-Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar (infantry) who has not yet commanded corps. Military Secretary Lt-Gen Mohsin Kamal (infantry) will be on No 5 position on the seniority list. He had already commanded a corps and now fully fit health-wise.

    Lt-Gen Jamil Hyder (inspector-general arms-artillery) will be on No 6th, with Lt-Gen Asghar (chairman Nust-engineering), Lt-Gen Nadim Taj (Commander Gujranwala Corps-infantry), Lt-Gen Tahir (Commander Rawalpindi Corps-infantry) and Lt-Gen Shahid (Commander Karachi Corps) are at No 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th positions, respectively. Both Gen Kayani (COAS) and Gen Tariq Majid (CJCSC) were promoted as generals in early October 2007. However, Gen Kayani got command of Pakistan Army from President Gen Musharraf on November 28, 2007. It simply means Gen Kayani got around 50 additional days as a four-star general, as he assumed the office of the Army chief on November 28, 2007.

    MORE ON PAGE 3 OF DAILY JANG LAST NEWS: Tuesday, February 23, 2010, Rabi-ul-Awwal 08, 1431 A.H

  3. Army intrusions hampered progress, says Nawaz
    By Our Staff Reporter
    Tuesday, 02 Mar, 2010

    LAHORE, March 1: Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif blames army generals for damaging progress of the country by taking it over whenever it starts journey towards economic development.

    “Army generals brought a bad name to their profession and the institution by stepping into politics,” Mr Sharif told a gathering held in connection with NA-123 by-poll.

    He said that some politicians had stepped back from their commitment and sided with the dictators for petty interests like getting a cabinet slot. He dubbed the defeat of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in NA-55 by-polls the “defeat of betrayal”.

    He also criticised President Zardari for arranging “an honorable exit” for former President Musharraf, who had “ousted and arrested an elected prime minister, dissolved parliament, violated the constitution and arrested judges”.

    Mr Sharif said he had returned from exile and now Gen Musharraf too should muster courage to return home from London.

    Referring to the efforts of slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto in preparation of the Charter of Democracy, the PML-N chief said after the death of Ms Bhutto he had made a sincere and unconditional offer for cooperation to her successor (and spouse) Zardari. But, he said, that the PPP co-chairperson did not honour the commitments.

    He said whosoever would come into power started plundering national wealth and depositing it with Swiss accounts. He promised to bring back all the “looted” money from foreign banks.

    He said the (PPP) government did nothing in the last two years. He said he was opposed to any undemocratic step against the government, arguing the policy had damaged the country a lot in the past.

    “I believe that a government should be formed or ousted through your vote,” he told the audience. “It is you to decide which party can better protect national interests.”

    He urged the people never to give in to any dictatorship in future and stand up in the way of any adventurer.

    Stolen power: PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif was talking of corruption-free government when he addressed an election meeting for his party’s candidate in NA-123 on Monday. But, ironically, the venue for the very meeting was being illuminated with stolen electricity from Wapda poles, as was shown in a video grab screened by a private TV channel.

    The meeting was taking place at the compound of Punjab Education Minister Mujtaba Shaujaur Rehman’s G.T. Road factory. The minister was not available for comment when multiple attempts were made to contact him on his cell phone.,-says-nawaz-230

  4. There occurs a spot in your life when “FUN” no more signifies pub moving, going to clubs, staying out and about unti 4am or perhaps drinking too much. This means motion pictures, heading out to see relatives cuisine, going to bed stories, and also asleep at 8pm.

  5. Besides all other oaths , Mush, Zia, Yahya, Ayub ..all must have surely violated the oath taken to uphold the law of the land when they overthrew a Govt !

    Wonder how they handled cases of misdemeanors within the Armed forces when they themselves were guilty of violating the Army act ?