|From berets to boots, everything is top notch.|
I have been seeing the defense day celebrated in this way since I gained consciousness. And it took me at least twenty years to see the other side of the picture.
Army always improves its rating during relief work amid natural disasters. That’s something politicians don’t like.
The whole nation observes defense day, giving more esteem, respect, and confidence to the armed forces. How does the army reciprocate this gesture? Has it ever thanked the nation for bearing its expenses at the cost of people's backwardness and abject poverty? No.
Has it ever realised the pathetic condition of the national health sector after comparing it to the state of the art military hospitals spread across the country? No. Has it ever realised how hard is for the people living in poor conditions to provide comfortable housing to the army officers? No. Have the army officers ever compared the government schools, which act as part time animal stables and garbage heaps, with spacious schools run by the army? No. There is an unending list of such questions but the answer will always be a big no.
I have never visited army cantonments happily. I always keep a handy pretext for not visiting the cantonment areas or army clubs. The wide metalled roads of the cantonments are a stark contrast to poor, broken roads that the ordinary people have to travel daily. I have refused to paste cantonment entry pass on my car despite being offered so many times. I am not an asocial person who hates enjoying good company. Many of my friends are in army and some of them are serving on high posts. My reluctance to visit cantonment areas stems from the feelings of a tax payer who pays the tax religiously but gets nothing in return, not even a disprin from the government hospitals.
I may not be in the list of heavy taxpayers but that does not mean that I have no right to question the expense of taxpayers' money. It's true that army will never cut short its expenses. Let's also accept that the army's non-defense budget, which is used to ensure the lush green lawns of garrison golf clubs, luxury services only meant for army men, and cleanliness in the cantonment areas will never be reduced. But army should do one thing. It should thank the poor taxpayers every year for the sacrifices they render to support one of the largest armies in the world, whose warfare skills are as questionable as they could be.
PS: Readers are justified to think that I am an anti-army person or have a hidden agenda to malign the Pakistan army. I would request the readers that before they leave any comment below this post, they should consider that my family has given one small sacrifice for the country and the army in the war on terror.