Monday, September 6, 2010

Why can't army thank nation on Sept 6th?

From berets to boots, everything is top notch.
September 6, Pakistan’s defense day, became a stereotype right after one year of our war with India. Everyone praises the army’s role in the country’s progress on every platform. Newspapers publish supplements in which people from "all walks of life pay homage to the army", the country’s largest establishment by all means. Ceremonies are held in schools, government offices and not to forget, according to the state television PTV, prayers are held in every mosque. Students as young as four-year-old are shown documentaries in schools to realise them the army’s importance and its inevitability for the country’s survival.
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. 


  1. hats off ..... :-)
    keep resonating the voices of rebellious minds who grumbles on luxuries provided to the army vs civillians though not as mch strongly as u do !!

  2. doesnt it ressemble the practice of eid ul adha when sheeps or animals are pampered n fed more just bcx they have to lay the life for a noble cause .... attractions n compansations in case of ary along with their spirits for the country (no doubt )
    my grandfather was in army..have fought both the wars , i really do respect n honour the army men but that cant alter the facts !!
    btw "wts the one small sacrifice for the country " ???

  3. @Anonymous, thanks for the feedback. I completely agree with you.

  4. As expected nice job. Actually, army personnel lack courage to thank the taxpayers and think that by being in the front line they are performing some extraordinary services. They should realise that it their job and they are paid for it. Like a guard is paid by his employer to protect his place. SAQIB

  5. Armies throughout the world rely on people's support. I being myself in the army, would require the support of my nation for the uplifting of the morale of the men that serve under me.
    Please refrain from silly talk "its the army's job"... Yes, I do agree that its the army's job to serve the country to the best of their abilities as per the amount of perks and priviliges they get in return - but at the same time they do need nation's support for doing so. Without the people supporting them, they'll be like mercenaries hired - nothing less !

  6. I agree with you Mr. Gondal that a taxpayer should have right to ask about the expenditures of country’s largest budget shareholder institution. Despite being a country that is heavily indulged in corruption, Armed forces do maintain a check and balance in their ranks and therefore what you see is a state of art military hospital, wide metal led roads, housing schemes, lush green lawns of garrison golf clubs, luxury services and cleanliness in the cantonment areas. And all of this does not come from budget, people pay millions to book a lawn in cantonment area, Units are expected to generate some revenues for their own welfare.
    “Warfare skills questionable”, How many countries do you know that have successfully ended an asymmetric war in limited time? Atleast I cannot find any one Army. USA equipped with state of art equipment is unable to eradicate Taliban from Afghanistan from last 9 years, India is unable to control the Kashmiris with their 7 lakh personnels in the region, Srilankan Armed forces still face problems with Tamil’s. So such a statement about Army is totally illogical.
    And Army do thankyou for support, Army and we go side by side. There is no denying to this fact. So please get yourself a copy of COAS,CNS,ACM message on 6 September. And next time do paste cantonment entry pass and thank Allah that atleast someone is doing good for Pakistan.

  7. @Saqib, every army of every country is expected to do the same, but in Pakistan the army wants everyone to know that it is doing something extra ordinary.

  8. @Saad, army is not the largest budget shareholder, let's call it the largest budget guzzler in the country.
    I second you when you say that the army maintains hospitals and other stuff, but I am not sure about the 'check and balance' in their ranks. You may have remembered the famous quote of the emperor without clothes aka Musharraf that he can't held generals, judges, and journalists to accountability. Parliament is supreme everywhere in the world and scrutinises the army's budget and expenditures. You will never hear that Public Accounts Committee of Pakistan parliament has ordered the army to get its accounts straight. Why? The army want it to be unaccounted for.
    Yes units are expected to generate some sort of funds for their welfare. In our country, this generation of funds for welfare ranges from backing breads to selling real estate. Our army is the world's only enterprising army dealing in every thing money. A few of its non-warfare landmark achievements are education, bakery, general store, real estate, road construction, agriculture, dairy forms and what not.
    Sri Lanka is done with Tamils. It is the only country in the world which has defeated a strong rebel force, which is totally unprecedented in the world. Even Pakistan is now mulling to work on Sri Lanka's pattern and get help form them.India is still occupying Kashmir. And now come the USA, the USA has its own agenda. Their military pursuits are governed by their financial ambitions. Remember the last Iraq war, the US companies made billions out of post-war contracts. Whatever may be the secret agenda of the US in Afghanistan, it must be revolving around $$$. You have studied business and are in a better position to understand the US economy and its appetite for a war after every other decade. All its hegemony is dollar-oriented.
    I will not defend my self, opposing your statement that my views are illogical, but I have presented various sides of the picture for you to think.
    And the Inter-Services Public Relations publications are one thing and army's conduct is another thing.

  9. @Sajjax, I never said that we don't support army. Even my family donated generously in army's flood relief fund as its relatively more fair in relief activities.

    Here I am quoting you, "Yes, I do agree that its the army's job to serve the country to the best of their abilities as per the amount of perks and privileges they get in return - but at the same time they do need nation's support for doing so."
    That's what I wanted you to realise:)

  10. Hammad Can you elaborate more on conduct of army because I really dont understand that what do you expect from Army ?