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'Long term threat to Pak is poverty, not India'

August 17, 2009 14:08 IST
A noted defence analyst and economist, and a frequent contributor of articles to the Dawn newspaper, has said that the Pakistan military has to re-examine its long standing animus against India.

According to Ahmad Faruqui, while Pakistan has been languishing in the backwater of history, plagued by the backlash engendered by the proxy war in Kashmir, India has grown by leaps and bounds.

He also said that for militarism to retreat completely in Pakistan, some structural changes would need to be made in the body politic.

"Unless some structural changes are made in the body politic, it is quite possible that a future Bonaparte will move to suspend the constitution, fire the cabinet, dismiss parliament and rule implicitly or explicitly through the dint of arms," said Ahmad Faruqui, adding that four other factors needed to be considered to ensure that the scourge of militarism is excoriated.

First, the military needs to stay focused on defending the country. The primary enemies are the proponents of religious extremism. Their power to disrupt normal developmental activities and to terrorise the population has grown in the last few years. The army needs to neutralise this threat by taking out the ringleaders and by liquidating their henchmen who are beyond negotiation.

Second, the military has to be held accountable for all its actions, like any other branch of government, to the people, as represented by parliament. It cannot be above the law.

Third, the military has to take orders from the civilian administration and not the other way around. It can advise the government on military matters, but it cannot make defence or foreign policy. That is the province of the elected rulers.

And fourth, the military cannot view the rest of the country as a marketplace within which to place its retired officers and servicemen. They have to compete for those jobs like everyone else.

The longer-term threat to the national security of Pakistan arises from poverty, not from India, Faruqui said.

"The Indian threat has been played up countless times to feed the ambitions of the military to grow its strength, to acquire sophisticated weaponry and to seize the commanding heights of the economy," he added.

This five-point plan will take time to accomplish. And its goals won't be achieved by Supreme Court judgments or acts of parliament. Success will require the collective resolve of the people of Pakistan, he concludes.

Source: ANI