Pakistan’s Punjabi-dominated military runs a parallel “state within state” It is about time for the international community to devise a strategy to end Pakistani army generals’ involvement in civilian affairs
The Voice of Karachi chairman Nadeem Nusrat has welcomed the former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s frank admission about the presence of “non-state actors” on Pakistani soil and their involvement in cross border terrorism. In the light of this admission, it is about time for the international community to devise a strategy to end Pakistani army generals’ involvement in civilian affairs and to establish a true democratic set up in Pakistan where all ethnic and religious groups have equal representations in decision-making.
Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s candid admission, Nadeem Nusrat said, about the presence of “non-state actors” on Pakistani soil and their involvement in cross-border terrorism is nothing new, as he has merely repeated what the rest of the world has been saying for a long time. What is important is that this admission comes from a man who has served Pakistan as prime minister for three times and, more significantly, is an ethnic Punjabi, the group that dominates Pakistan’s powerful military.
Nadeem Nusrat added that for decades India has been complaining of Pakistani intelligence agencies’ role in fanning violence in Kashmir and other parts of India. In the last few years, successive Afghan governments have also been protesting over presence of alleged safe sanctuaries on Pakistan soil for terrorists groups involved in deadly attacks in Afghanistan. While Pakistan’s civil and military spokespersons may have been denying these allegations, Mr. Nawaz Sharif has exposed the reality by admitting that “Militant organizations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?”
“Unfortunately, Pakistani military establishment is overwhelmingly dominated by personnel form one ethnic group, Punjabis. Since the creation of Pakistan, this military establishment has persistently targeted non-Punjabi ethnic groups and has stopped democracy from flourishing in the country. Running a parallel “state within state”, Pakistan’s Punjabi-dominated military establishment has always followed its own agenda that is independent of democratically elected governments,” lamented Nadeem Nusrat.
“It is a tragedy that it is the people of Pakistan, not the retired or serving army generals, who are suffering from the consequences of such policies. Inflations is sky high; unemployment is rising every day; the country is suffering from an acute power shortage during a brutal summer; water supply is scarce; government investment in the education and health sector is shrinking by the day, yet the country’s army generals continue to spend Pakistan’s precious resources in such adventures that do not serve Pakistan and its people in any way. It is about time to
put an end to this crazy adventurism and start spending money on projects that actually serve common Pakistanis, such as education, health and human development,” Nadeem Nusrat added.
Expressing fears about security of Mr. Nawaz Sharif following his said interview, Nadeem Nusrat demanded the international community to exert pressure on authorities in Pakistan to take every possible precautionary measure to ensure the safety of the former Pakistani prime minister.