Would it be too rude to say that Pakistan Army had it coming? No, I mean, literally. As reported in the media, there were intelligence reports that the attack on GHQ was imminent and had been well planned.
Two facts stand out about the armed terrorists who attacked.
a. They knew they will not be able to come out alive from the heavily guarded military headquarters. These were highly trained and motivated terrorists who wanted to make a big impact by attacking the nerve centre of Pakistan Army.
b. The terrorist must have known that the attack was going to have more of a symbolic value than anything else. In fact this is akin to attack on Pentagon and World Trade Centre. In an irony some may say that GHQ can be seen as representing both the corporate and military interests in Pakistan.
This was an audacious attack, whose consequences and implications had been undoubtedly, thought through. However, most probably, where terrorists failed is that they may have hoped to prolong their action and inflict more damage and destruction then actually occurred.
But post GHQ attack, the most obvious and loudly ringing question is following: Will the Army wake up now to the fact that there are no more ‘good militants’ and ‘bad militants’ ?
This is not a Tehrik e Taliban but a Tehrik e Kharijaan ? These guys are ‘Zalimuun’ and ‘Mujrimuun’, and they must be treated as murderers and criminals.
Is the Army now going to draw a Line and say ‘No More’? Does Army now realise and understand that complete defeat and dismantling of TTP or TKP ( Tehrik e Kharijaan), is in its own best interest ?
For past thirty years there has been a partnership of expediency between Army, its intelligence agencies and these irregular warriors. There has been the strategic commitment to ‘Jihadi’ ideology and irregular warfare. This has been part of broader strategy of ‘strategic depth’ and ‘bleeding India’.
What Army has failed to note are two singularly important facts. One, modern states, like empires, crumble from inside. Soviets crumbled because they had been already weakening, for half a century before Afghan war, which arguably proved as the last straw. But while it may have been ‘the last straw’, it certainly was not the heaviest straw, as has been made out by the jihadist ideologues for past 20 years.
Second, while India was bleeding, mere oozing to be more precise, it was also replenishing itself at a much faster pace. Result was that it came out more experienced in dealing with insurgency, scored diplomatic victories for past two decades and gained a psychological upper hand.
Now these irregular warriors, who are highly trained, motivated by nihilistic rage, who do not know another kind of life, are jobless (no more role playing as mujahid), and have mostly splintered and regrouped in different and new formations, have turned against their erstwhile masters. They are now biting the hand that used to feed them.
So is that hand ready to strike a hammer blow on these warriors?
We sincerely hope that this attack on GHQ will prove as a watershed. We hope that Pakistan Army will now wake up to face the monster it created, nourished and unleashed. And when it does so, it will not be on the short term basis or in military terms only.
Will Army now realise that these warriors, with their distorted ideology, now see themselves as an alternative to the Army itself?
We hope Pakistan Army will now stop seeing Islam as an ideology of war, and start viewing it as an ideology that can provide answers to the challenges of the twenty first century.
A well thought out, consensual and long term perspective on meaning of Islam, Jihad, State of Pakistan and future role of army is the minimum basic to kick start this process along with the military action against the twenty first century kharijites.
The 60 year long discordance between the citizen, state and army must end. Army has to realise that economic development is the single most crucial factor to help stabilise the state of Pakistan and this is in its own best interest. How can it be blinded to what has happened across Pakistan’s eastern borders?
For this economic development to happen in Pakistan, the centre, and by default, army will have to give up its exclusive and central role in political and socio-economic decision making. Regions will have to be empowered within a frame work of free market and rule of law.
As the most powerful institution of the state at present, Pakistan army owes this duty to the country and people of Pakistan, to help create this framework, by focusing on its professionalism and letting other institutions strengthen themselves without interference.
Crucially Army has to help work out a new concordance between the state and citizen. It has to relinquish its prime decision making position to the people of Pakistan.
On the way Army has to restructure itself in the long run. A more broad based and inclusive officers’ corps has to be created with highly focused professionalism. The command structure has change to take into account the present geostrategic and international situation. It may be prudent to start thinking about a western and an eastern command. It has also to work more on the high tech war capability.
Of course Pakistani politicians have to reciprocate and lead from the front in an incorruptible way. But for that to even start happening, it is time for Mard e Mujahid to wake up.
Is he ready?