Dear Editor, The line on the army and government being on the “same page” has been parroted so often by the Pakistan army’s media wing- the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) that it’s become a’national’ joke. That Pakistan army needs to keep reminding everyone about this is something that’s quite surprising for several reasons. Firstly,in democracies, the government and army are expected to be on the “same page” and since one believes that Pakistan is a democracy, frequent declaration of government-army amity by the public relations wing of the military sounds odd. Secondly, since Prime Ministers in Pakistan have been choosing their own army chiefs, there should be no reasons for any acrimony between Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Ever since Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa took over as chief of Pakistan army, the military’s media wing (Inter Services Public Relations or ISPR), has been talking so recurrently about Islamabad and Rawalpindi being on the “same page that one has lost count of the same. Being a democracy, it’s axiomatic that civil-military relations in Pakistan would be cordial and that’s why it’s but natural that such frequent reiteration of the obvious will raise suspicions. The strange explanations offered by ISPR makes things sound all the more intriguing as well as laughable, because it’s inconceivable that an organisation being headed by a senior army officer holding the rank of Maj Gen should churn out such amateurish stuff! In any democracy, since it’s the legislature that looks after all matters pertaining to governance and foreign affairs, there’s no reason for the Prime Minister to have frequent meetings with the army chief. But then, Pakistan is a unique democracy and reports of Gen Bajwa not having met Prime Minister Imran Khan lately has caused such disconcertion in the country that the ISPR was forced to swing into action and once again issue its stock statement of the army and government being on the “same page.” DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor quickly shot out the message that “COAS Bajwa and PM Imran have been in regular touch with each other. Meetings take place as and when required and, at times, not every meeting is covered in the news,” But by adding that “There have been meetings and telephone calls in the period between the last two meetings covered in media,” hasn’t the DGISPR overdone it once again? Why does Maj Gen Ghafoor behave like a professor teaching elementary civics by making bookish statements like “The army is supporting a democratically elected government as per the Constitution and there will be no let-up in this as that’s must for progress and prosperity of Pakistan”? Only last Friday, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had called on Prime Minister Imran. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the premier and Gen Bajwa discussed the security situation within the country, the situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir and Pak-Afghan border. Nilesh Kunwar, Via-e-mail.
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