The Military Cog

Author: Ali Afzal Sahi

September 6, 1965, will forever be etched in history as a time when the Pakistan Army demonstrated extreme valour and courage in its commitment to the consolidation and protection of its homeland. Today, as we pay homage to our martyrs for their resilience and selflessness, we must also recognise and appreciate the efforts of this indispensable branch of the state. While any literature acknowledging military efforts may attract a treasure trove of criticism, it is, nevertheless, very important to assess ground realities, as they are, free of any political tinge. In the current emergency, one cannot deny seeing the military operations on all fronts, whether in the form of relief operations or dispatching aid to flood-affected areas.

Sovereignty exists at the core of international relations. From a state’s perspective, it is the cornerstone of all national and domestic policy. A country’s military is vested with the responsibility to protect and conserve the state’s sovereignty and ward off any attacks from intruders. Our brave soldiers have truly lived up to the expectations attached to their office. In the global world’s war on terror, our Army has not only sheltered its people from foreign invasion but also preempted attacks that held the possibility of destroying the very foundations of the state’s sovereignty. And so, the celebration of Defence Day is significant of the military’s unwavering strength and relentless conviction to its state and the people. For all those who may prance at the opportunity of criticising a piece of writing that acknowledges the work of the armed forces, celebrating the military does not equate to jingoism. Armed conflict and military are mutually exclusive. One does not have to advocate war to recognise the achievements of its armed forces. Anyone with a basic understanding of the socio-political structure of Pakistan will not flinch to admit that the military has occupied a central role in stabilising the country and catalysing its development.

Be it a natural catastrophe or a human-induced disaster, our military forces have always rushed to our aid.

Our armed forces have also played an integral role in providing relief in cataclysmic situations. It is pertinent to mention that during the ongoing flood situation wreaking havoc in our country, our armed forces have been significant in providing relief to the citizens. Three weeks ago, flash floods had washed away entire villages, bridges and roads; causing extreme destruction in three-fourths of the country. Our Army has, relentlessly, deployed thousands of troops to help the affectees. 40,000 people have been given a safe haven and 137 relief camps have been established. Moreover, the institution has also distributed 3700 tents and miscellaneous essential items. Keeping in view the intensity of the situation, the General Officers of the Army have donated their one-month salary to help the flood victims. It is evident that our Army is the only institution that has always been at the forefront whenever calamities and other emergencies hit us. Be it a natural catastrophe or a human-induced disaster, our military forces have always rushed to our aid and never disappointed us.

Additionally, our Army has been dedicated to modernising the nation by establishing the legitimacy of the regime and preventing social chaos. It plays a vital role in maintaining internal peace and security. While it is apparent that our army has contributed significantly to our nation, it is equally necessary to recognise that in many spheres, other than military and political sectors, these achievements have been secondary to the army’s defence duty. For a traditional army, the Pakistan Army has indeed performed an amazing amount of non-traditional duties.

Our armed forces have earned a great amount of respect for their benevolence in these recurring crises. Indeed, the military’s selfless dedication to its people- emergency efforts, humanitarian relief, and protection protocols represents a remarkable chapter in the history of the Army’s service to Pakistan.

The writer is a Minister for Communication & Works, Punjab. He tweets @sahialiafzal

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