An Iron Fist in Velvet Robes

Late Wednesday night, the Ministry of Defense submitted to the Supreme Court that the Army and ISI are operating outside the control of the federal government. The following day, a military spokesman told an international news agency that the armed forces want the democratically-elected president to be removed.

In an exclusive report, Reuters news agency says that a military spokesman has stated publicly that the armed forces want the democratically-elected president removed from office, and that they are hoping the judiciary will provide them cover.

“Who isn’t fed up with Zardari? It’s not just the opposition and the man on the street but people within the government too,” said one military source who asked not to be named.

“But there has to be a proper way. No action is being planned by the army. Even if we tried, it would be very unpopular and not just with the government and the opposition but most Pakistanis too.”

Understanding that a march on president’s house would be very bad PR, the military is looking to flex an iron fist in velvet robes.

“We want anyone involved, be they in government or elsewhere, to be punished. But it is not for us to do anything. If the army moves to do anything it would have national as well as international repercussions,” said another military source.

“So that is not likely. Anything that has to be done has to be done by the Supreme Court.”

This is an astonishing statement. Article 243 of the Constitution is quite clear:

243. Command of Armed Forces.-
(1) The Federal Government shall have control and command of the Armed Forces.

What would be the response of Gen Kayani if he found out that one of his subordinates told the media that they wanted him removed as COAS? What would be the response of Gen Kayani if his subordinates were openly operating outside the chain of command, making decisions and carrying out operations without approval?

Presumably, such acts of insubordination would undoubtedly be considered Mutiny under Section 31 of Pakistan Army Act 1952:

31. Mutiny and insubordination: Any person subject to this Act who commits any of the following offences, that is to say, –

(a) begins, incites, causes, or conspires with any other person to cause, or joins in, any mutiny in the military, naval or air forces of Pakistan or any forces co-operating therewith; or
(b) being present at any such mutiny, does not use his utmost endeavours to suppress the same; or
(c) knowing or having reason to believe in the existence of any such mutiny or any intention to commit such mutiny, or of any such conspiracy, does not without reasonable delay give information thereof to his commanding or other superior officer; or
(d) attempts to seduce any person in the military, naval or air forces of Pakistan from his duty or his allegiance to the Government of Pakistan;

shall, on conviction by court-martial, be punished with death or with such less punishment as in this Act mentioned.

Wait…just a second…what does that section (d) say? Hmmm…

 

11 thoughts on “An Iron Fist in Velvet Robes

  1. It is absolutely wonderful that the author is quoting the Constitution of Pakistan and the Pakistan Army Act of 1952. In order to strengthen democracy within the country, it is essential that the nation, its armed forces and the government adhere to the constitution. Although, such adherence should not be selective and the constitution applied to in full. Some articles that have not been wholly implemented and granted by the State (government) are listed below:

    Article (4)(a): No action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with law.

    Article (9): No person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law

    Article 20 (a): Every citizen shall have the right to profess, practise and propagate his religion

    Article 25: The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law

    Article 36: The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services

    Just to name a few amongst many 🙂

    • If you are looking for someone to argue that any government of Pakistan has ever wholly implemented and granted the laws of the state, you are looking in the wrong place. But I am very curious about what point you are trying to make. My guess is either: (1) The civilian government has not wholly implemented all requirements of the law, therefore the armed forces should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want; or (2) I don’t like Asif Zardari so I’m going to change the subject. Based on your previous comments, I’m guessing the answer is (2).

  2. @ Mahmood Adeel. According to Rewagari’Stupidity is to look for something in a place where untutored imagination expects to find it.It is, in fact everywhere that you can extract it.’ As for your beloved democratically elected President? A sage said; For him who has perception a mere sign is enough.For him who really does not heed,a thousand explanations are not enough. So Mr Adeel ask your mentor how we should do away with the Institution of the Armed Forces then we would not require Ministry of Defense and the country can live through a midsummer night.

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  3. what is new in that news all know pakistan is governed by miletary but now name and responsbility cames on elected government .pakistan is governed by allah & miletary

  4. @Mahmood Adeel
    Your innate ability to spin obvious statements and facts is rather fascinating. You have merely made an assumption about Zardari in your own comments as I have not mentioned his name in my comment. In regards to highlighting the laws that I pointed – they are to remind you of something my mother constantly told me when “people in glass houses should not throw stones”. Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. But at the same time, the Government lacks credibility as they have miserably failed in most aspects of governance in the course of their 3 years. So please, for the sake of a healthy argument, do not twist and spin my comments. The only reason I pointed out the Constitution articles – that are crucial to Pakistan survival – is to emphasize that the government must adhere to the Constitution in full, and not to start battles against institutions and pick the articles they wish to showcase.

    And make no mistake, I am the first one to admit that the Military has caused problems for Pakistan, and they are a “veritable arm” of the Haqqani network. But that does not mean when the going gets tough the gov’t throws them under the bus (MOD statement) after supporting them blindly for 3 years. Its like deliberately letting a child do what they want during their childhood – then call foul when they are spoiled and recalcitrant.

    • @Mr Pakistan So it is not Zardari but the entire government that is a miserable failure and the military is a spoiled and recalcitrant child that is a veritable arm of terrorists. I’m sorry for assuming that you had limited your venom to the usual suspect only when you have so much more to offer. And until the government demonstrates that it has implemented and adhered to every word of every law and regulation to your personal satisfaction, it has no right to call foul if the military oversteps constitutional boundaries. Who, pray tell, is the angel from heaven pure enough to ever satisfy you?

      This also reminds me of something my mother used to tell me: If all you can do is complain, please keep it to yourself. Now, I am not telling you not to complain. You are welcome to whine and complain and be generally dissatisfied with the world all you want if that is your cup of tea. I’m just letting you know that I find it boring.

  5. You can drag Zardari in all you want into the conversation, I have persistently said the government. You can also make the argument that Zardari is a mere figurehead as he has ceded all powers to the prime minister and his cabinet under the 18th amendement. Those are your points to make.

    And please – don’t make this personal. This is not about my satisfaction, this is about Pakistan. I have not even mentioned every article in the constitution, IO deliberately chose a few that are key in stabilizing Pakistan.

    I do apologize for my misunderstanding. I failed to understand the purpose of New Pakistan. I assumed it to be a blog that looked towards a progressive, modern and liberal Pakistan which is why I enjoyed reading articles posted on the website. Unfortunately, this blog has turned into a finger wagging website that highlights all that is wrong with Pakistan except the PPP government. You will again a lot more legitimacy if article analyze the role of the government.

    And please, stop twisting my words and comments. For 3 years the government has cajoled the military, lending them a free reign – in order to continue unimpeded government. Start stating the facts. After all, no one can dispute facts. They may have a different interpretation. But facts are facts. So whether you want to classify my comments as “whining, complaining and generally dissatisfied” is your prerogative, facts cannot and should not be distorted.

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