In ordinary times, the extension of a COAS term might be considered curious. But these are not ordinary times. PM Gilani’s announcement of a three-year extension for Gen. Kayani, then, provides comfort and stability during a time of worry.
This stability is not unimportant. As Frahan Reza mentions today, the world needs a stable Pakistan.
After Afghanistan’s experience, it has become clear that disintegration of a country in this region will fuel long-term instability and chaos. The first gas pipeline project was scrapped because of instability, and the world cannot afford to let Pakistan’s internal situation shatter its dream to extract a trillion dollars worth of minerals in Afghanistan, land access of the world community to untapped oil and gas reserves in Central Asian states and exploring the full potential of middle-class based Indian markets.
Thus, India and the world need a stable Pakistan. They will settle regional issues to pave the way, but only in the face of Pakistan’s flexibility. A prudent and cautious attitude towards regional issues will provide Pakistan an opportunity to have a greater say in the region than it currently does.
The extension of Gen. Kayani’s term also demonstrates why it is important to stop these constant attempts to knock over the present government and let the parliament elected by the people serve out its term. The government works well with the military. For the first time in decades, we have military and civilian institutions that are learning to talk to each other, to respect each other.
The fact is that we are facing an existential attack from terrorist militants, and without a stable and functioning government, we will find ourselves extinct. In an ideal world. Gen. Kayani would be able to retire to a comfortable life knowing that the nation is not threatened. But we live in the real world, not an ideal paradise. By extending Kayani’s appointment, PM Gilani has made the correct decision.