The chief's doctrine?


    The writer accuses the armed forces of taking over foreign relations. Now in a country which has problems with major countries of the world and is additionally uncomfortable even with itself, if a vacuum is left by not appointing an empowered foreign minister for years, someone is bound to fill the vacuum. And government's nomination of a young person with no grounding in diplomacy as ambassador to the US - despite desperate need and availability of seasoned diplomats - is another proof of its non-seriousness on the issue.

    And with Ishaq Dar, the wrecker of the economy away on long leave to escape corruption cases at home, the all-important finance ministry is being run by a mere adviser on finance who had the audacity to make, hawker-style, an offer "Buy PIA, get Steel Mills for free". What a joke?

    While the 18th Amendment did some good work devolving power from centre to the provinces, the provinces, instead of continuing the devolution down to lower levels, clawed back even the powers that a military dictator had given to local governments. And then the provincial governments delayed elections even for these depleted local governments, finally holding them only under Supreme Court pressure. And this resulted in Karachi turned into a into a huge garbage dump, while other essential municipal services are simply non-existent, or in a very unsatisfactory situation. And again, it is the Supreme Court which has taken up the garbage issue. .

    And won't the devolution of specialist institutions like Higher Education Commission, Accountability Bodies and the like reduce their effectiveness and be wasteful. I hear there were plans even to devolve the army, with each province having its own commander-in-chief, under chief minister of course. Also, proposals are underway to hack down superior judiciary to make it impotent so as to suit the requirements of the corrupt leaders.

    And despite clearly seeing how the power-hungry, corrupt provincial governments have misused the 18th Amendment, the writer never tires of praising the 18th Amendment. And this clearly shows his state of mind and preferences.

    As for the internal security of the country, we do know that it was the civilian government which developed the 20-point National Action Plan. However, these were the armed forces which launched air/ground operations against the militants and got cleared vast areas which were previously under militants' total control, rendering many sacrifices in the process. Now, these measures had to be supplemented by action by the civilian government in order to consolidate the gains. But the civilian government has done little in this respect apart from paying lip service. The civilian government had to develop an alternate ideology to counter the militant's one and to take measures to review and reform the activities of the extremists among the thousands of madrasas as well as to control their operations so as to stop them from spreading militancy and terrorism. However, the Sharif's government sees the militants more as its allies and has given them a free hand on the basis of an understanding that they do not launch attacks in Punjab. Obviously, such a government will hardly have the courage or even the motivation to curb militancy and terrorism.

    It is quite obvious that through their corruption, nepotism and bad governance as well as their failure to take appropriate action against militant outfits and madrasas, the top politicians have themselves invited wrath, contempt and intervention by other institutions.

    And Now Nawaz Sharif has suggested that he is prepared to sit with and sort out matters with other institutions, in order to make sure that all institutions basically stick to their assigned sphere of duty. What he really means is that that other institutions should give the corrupt leaders a free hand to act as they please, and use the state resource for the illicit enrichment of themselves, their families, friends and associates, with the masses and their problems being none of the governments' concern.