By Saeed Qureshi
General Raheel Sharif has emerged to be the most popular Chief of Staff (COAS) of Pakistan army. There is a resounding public clamor that he should continue with his service in the present capacity for a few years more.
General Raheel Sharif was appointed as the 15th Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army on 27 November 2013by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He is due for retirement from his prestigious post in November this year. It means he is left with only two more months to work in his current capacity.
General Raheel himself is not interested in the extension of his existing tenure of service. In this regard he has publicly expressed his resolve to retire by the due date. Prime minister Nawaz Sharif reportedly is not in favor of giving extension to General Raheel Sharif. The rumor that General Raheel was being elevated to the rank of a Field Marshal has been quashed by the government circles.
The main political parties are vigorously opposing the operation clean-up now underway in Karachi by the army because their top notches are in the eye of the storm. To hell with a democratic system that spawns and sustains corruption and terrorism and that is what these two parties and their foo-soldiers have been doing in the largest metropolis of Pakistan. Karachi has been the target of terrorists and outlaws for Kidnappings target killings for money or for sectarian, political, racial and similar odious grounds.
The religious hooligans and casual street thugs apart, those nabbed both for Himalayan size corruption, Mega plunder of national assets and sharp shooters and terrorists are abetted and protected by the politicians and people in high positions. The stalwarts of these parties demand wrap-up of the anti-crime and anti-terrorism drive of Rangers and the army. They want provincial governments to restore law and order. There cannot be a more ridiculous and untenable call than this demand.
The entire country and specifically Karachi has been plagued by an incessant wave and unremitting epidemic of lawlessness for several years. The criminals of all shades have been brazenly killing the people for grabbing money, land, dwellings, cars, and other belongings. The entire business community has been at the mercy of the extortionists. Those who refused to oblige were targeted, killed or kidnapped by the bounty hunters.
Karachi is paralyzed for several years now. Countless people have become victims of violence and killing sprees. The people would come out with fear of being kidnapped, maimed or killed. Karachi has been virtually ruled by the mafias and cartels of outlaws. The state machinery both provincial and federal during the PPP government and initially the PMLN had been viewing this entire gory phenomenon with utter helplessness or indifference and rather connivance.
The most sickening dimension of this unbridled disorder and rampant lawlessness was that behind this ruthless mayhem were mostly the ministers and highly placed bureaucrats and government functionaries. The booty thus collected by the criminal gangs would be shared with the ministers and powerful high ranking executives.
The outburst of Zardari first against the army and lately against Nawaz Sharif and PMLN government uncovers the agony of these power holders. Earlier it was Altaf Hussain the warlord of MQM who threw the same challenge to the army and the central government. One of the poignant manifestations of their protest, in the beginning, was to withdraw their national assembly members through en-bloc resignations.
Of late Altaf Hussain has crossed all permissible limits and even a minimum modicum of restraint by denouncing Pakistan and inciting his party to raise slogans again Pakistan which they did. As a result, the police and the Rangers had to come down upon their network with a heavy hand. While a sizable number of their undercover and open criminals and militant cadres have been arrested, the onslaught again the MQM is still going on.
It is tragic and treacherous that the partners running provincial government in Sindh, instead of serving the people have been engaged in villainous and diabolical pursuits to wreck Karachi and to rob the people of the peace. The involvement of their ministers and members of parties has been unearthed in stealing and sale of water to buying state lands for peanuts and selling those at exorbitant prices.
It can be termed as divine intervention that first the Rangers and later the army stepped in to stop this mayhem of loot, plunder, murders and kidnappings. Karachi is gradually returning to normalcy and peaceful life. The people are picking up the courage to move around with a feeling of safety.
And the moot question of this article is that how this miracle happened. We all know it is the army Chief General Raheel Sharif who turned the tables on miscreants, thugs, killers, abductors, enemy agents and a whole range of dangerous mafias and terrifying gangs. He and the army under him have saved Pakistan from being broken and disintegrated. They deserve nation’s overwhelming gratitude.
The Pakistan army is engaged in a monumental mission of saving Pakistan from a civil war and keeping intact its territorial integrity. Therefore, we the people of Pakistan are wholeheartedly with General Raheel Sharif and the army in their sublime mission of fully securing our beloved country Pakistan from the conspiracies and encroachments of both internal and external enemies.
In due course Zardari and Altaf Hussain should be arraigned for their respective outbursts against Pakistan and the armed forces. Altaf Hussain should be tried for seeking Indian and NATO help to what he called saving the MQM and immigrant community. Zardari has amassed mammoth wealth throughout his career by foul means which needs thorough and unstinted probe.
It is heartwarming that NAB, FIA and other institutions of accountability are on the move to catch the heavy-weight culprits like Dr. Asim. This anti-crime drive must continue until all the robber barons of national wealth and culprits of misuse of power for personal or party gains are unearthed.
Pakistan has to strengthen and fortify the judiciary with quick award of sentences to the proven culprits. The judges and the lawyers should be protected at all costs.
The courts should be guarded with police or rangers force. The quick dispensation of justice to the public enemies can restore the confidence of the people and social stability in the country which is inevitable for the economic progress and prosperity of Pakistan.
Since General Raheel is already pursing the noble mission of saving Pakistan from internal disintegration and disorder his continuation in the present position is indispensable. It would not cost the government anything. Yet by such a momentous decision, the country can be saved from the miscreants and thugs who on their own volition want to wreck the order and social peace or at the behest of the foreign countries and forces inimical to Pakistan.
It would bring laurels of applause and honor to prime minister Nawaz Sharif if he allows General Raheel Sharif to carry on the onslaught to cleanse the country of the people with diabolic intentions. One may ensure Nawaz Sharif and his government that General Raheel is not going to be another Pervez Musharraf to take over the reins of the government and assume power. Had he wanted to do so, he could have done much earlier and the people would have enthusiastically welcomed him with warm cheers and open hands.
But what one strongly feels is that a vital task or mission which is to save Pakistan from internal breakup, disintegration and pervading chaos must be taken to its logical conclusion. General Raheel is not power hungry. He is a true son of the soil and brave and patriotic soldier whose services to wipe off anti-state elements and merciless outlaws are not only indispensable but would be written in history of Pakistan in golden words.