Three 4 Star Appointments- CJSC, COAS, CSCA?

An Institutional and sustainable answer to the Gen. Raheel Sharif extension issue.

This is an updated version of a piece written earlier in 2016, after Gen. Raheel Sharif announced that he will be retiring in November 2016.

As the country went into a frenzy of “Will he..Won’t he” the good general in his typical no nonsense soldier style (remember his …Cold start ho Ya Hot start ho..hum thayyaar haen… speech)  gave his view. “No, I’m not”.

So while most would agree it is in our national interest that he stays on there is significant divergence on “The Extension”.

Clearly institutional strength far outweighs stop gap arrangements tailored to individuals. Our history is replete with such follies. So an extension to him would have  added to these long line of follies and its negative consequences.

Hence is there a solution? I believe there is. For many years there have been discussions about two things related to the Army Chief’s role.

1. The tenure of the Army Chief and the other two Service chiefs. Air Force and Navy.

2. The nature of the role of the 4 star Chairman, JCSC (Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee).

First the tenure of the Army Chief.

It has been long debated that this should be increased to 4 or 5 years.

This becomes even more critical and important now given the nature of our internal and external threats and the on going deployment of the army in its active combat roles.

From an administrative and governance perspective as is true for all senior leadership roles, especially one as complex as the Army, year 1 is about understanding and year 3 is “lame duck”. Essentially this leaves the Chief just one effective year to do his thing.

By increasing the tenure to 4 or 5 years the incumbent now has a longer term perspective and at least two or three solid years to do his thing.

Now the Chairman, JCSC’S role.

As it stands today, the incumbent, though theoretically senior to the three service chiefs is no more than a “Daak Khana” or the “proverbial post office” or a “coordinating office” between the three services. Army, Airforce and Navy.

If this role was taken away tomorrow no one would miss it! Except of course the legions of staff officers who comprise this glorified, most expensive post office in Pakistan.

In today’s extreme warfare conditions and even under normal circumstances, a nation’s military machine, army, airforce, navy, are all expected to perform in complete harmony and in full alignment. Hence the need for an effective operational and strategic command role which oversees all three services.

Hence all major countries such as the USA and UK,  have empowered this role with an operational command responsibility, and with all service chiefs reporting into it and not the country’s chief executive.

In Pakistan, the three service chiefs, while technically reporting to the Minister of Defence, in fact report directly to the PM.

So what does this all mean in the current context of Gen. Raheel Sharif?

1. The Army Chief’s tenure and those of the Air Force and Navy to be increased to 4 or 5 years.

2. The Chairman JCSC role be made into an effective operational and strategic “Command” role with all three service chiefs reporting to it and with a 4 or 5 year tenure as well.

3. As Ikram Sehgal, one of Pakistan’s leading defence and geopolitical experts, recommends, The Strategic Plans Division to be converted into a Strategic Command Authority, under a four star serving general, reporting to the empowered Chairman Joint Chief. The SPD, as it stands today, has more personnel than our Airforce and Navy.  So a four star command is fully justified.

In the above scenario, one can realistically see Gen. Raheel Sharif being appointed in the new operational command role of the beefed up powerful Chairman JCSC. Another of the current 3 star generals as the COAS and a third to the newly created 4 star, Strategic Command Authority.

All positions with 4 or 5 year tenures.

This is good for our country and especially for the battle worthiness and effective deployment of our armed forces.

And to set any conspiracy theorists at rest. Here’s a full disclosure.

I don’t write anything at anyone’s bidding, including ISPR.

This is not a trial balloon to test the waters for such an eventuality.

Those who know me, know.

Those who don’t, will just have to accept this disclaimer and my word!

Hussain Haqqani – Traitor or Nationalist?

My considered view is that HH was turned by the Indians in the early 80’s, when he was in Hong Kong as a rabid Islamist, writing for the now defunct, Far Eastern Economic Review.

There. So much for the mystery of the blog title.

And this is where his journey started, to embed himself as an Indian mole, in Pakistan’s governance structures.

And because of his radical Islamist views, he also caught Gen. Zia’s fancy, the then Pakistani military dictator, who himself was a dyed in the wool, radical fundamentalist.

I don’t have any evidence to substantiate my hypothesis, except Haqqani’s subsequent actions, behaviors and career moves.

Incredibly, he’s changed more political ideologies than a kid’s diapers, to suit his masters, both Indian and Pakistani, and the needs of the times.

From a rabid Islamist Taliban like activist, to a right wing democrat, to a supporter of military intervention, to left wing secularist, he’s been to pretty much every base!

Working for the enemy is not uncommon. Personal and political biases, political philosophy, ego, greed, power, privilege, position, money, anger, bitterness, all contribute in creating a Kim Philby, the British MI6 mole embedded by the Russians, or a Gunter Guillaume, the East German spy, working as West German Chancellor Willy Brandt’s assistant, or our very own Hussain Haqqani.

Here’s why I think HH is or was an Indian mole.

1. He has known anti Pakistan views which he has held for a long time. Believes that partition was a very bad idea, and also holds very uncharitable views about the Quaid.

2. He managed to wrangle himself into both the PMLN and PPP governments.  And willing to work in any role which gave him access and proximity, to power centers.

He was Ambassador to Sri Lanka under Nawaz. Secretary Information under BB. Then, Chairman, House Building Finance Corporation (imagine HBFC) again under her.

He desperately tried to join Gen. Musharraf’s government. Offered his unconditional services to do “anything”. Wanted to become Musharraf’s media advisor.  I know this from several horses.

And remember, this offer to Gen. Musharraf, from a man,  who now presents himself to the world as the great upholder of democracy in Pakistan and virulently against military intervention.

Finally, he becomes the Pakistani Ambassador to the USA, under Asif Zardari, where he probably caused the most damage.

If his Memogate ploy had been successful, he was well on his way to National Security advisor with the ISI under him. God knows what the Army would have done to him. But that’s another story. And then it was a short walk to either Interior or Defence Minister, and finally the ultimate prize. PM of Pakistan.

An Indian mole as a Pakistani PM!

He is unbelievably brilliant and masterfully cunning. Smooth as a snake and vicious as a viper. Can mesmerize anyone with his Lukhnawi charm, destroy you with his devastating intellect and make Lucifer look like Gabriel, especially in his writings.

Now that he stands exposed, at least to most Pakistanis, he now presents himself to the West, as their poster boy of democracy and anti militarism.

He has perhaps been one of the biggest factors in arming the anti Pakistan and pro Indian lobbies in the US, with information and evidence acquired through the very sensitive positions he occupied in the “service” of  Pakistan.

He now works for the Hudson Institute, in Washington D.C. a known pro Israeli and pro Indian think tank, and makes himself relevant by espousing anti Pakistan narratives, cunningly presented as liberal and anti militarism views.

They liberally fund his research and his books and writings. In addition, he is actively supported and indirectly funded by staunchly anti-Pakistani and pro-Indian lobbies in the USA. And he gets himself invited or is invited to major anti Pakistan forums such as the one pictured below.

I have absolutely no doubt that HH was an Indian mole. But thank God, not anymore, as his cover is now blown.

Eventually like all moles, he will “die”, as the information he sells, becomes dated.

Till then he is an extremely dangerous man. Much like a scorned spouse!.

Angry. Bitter. Totally destructive.

Should never be allowed anywhere near any Pakistani role. EVER!

And the one reason he still hasn’t taken a USA passport and or given up his Pakistani passport is because he hopes, one day, to come back to some position of power and authority in Pakistan.

But he should never be allowed back. And he must face trial for treason for Memogate! 

Another election under the same system?

For those advocating another election under this terrible, horrible, disreputable explotative system of loot, plunder, pillage and corruption currently in Pakistan.

Nothing is more unconstitutional than the “Constitutional”  rape, loot, plunder and corruption by Nawaz Sharir and his cronies and toadies.  Many masquerading as supporters of “democratic” values but really trying to promote this terrible and useless system to keep them in power. They must be eliminated and rooted out mercilessly.  If not this society will fall into anarchy.

My thoughts go back to the Supreme Court.

Recently they passed a landmark judgement on the rules of governance and limiting and defining how the PM exercised his authority. And if they can take up Panama and Model Town a significant headway can be made.

5 possible options on the table.

1. Judicial driven accountability. Most desired.

2. Street agitation to bring about resignation. Unforseen consequences.

3. A latent Kakar type effort. Unlikely to succeed given the muleheadedness of NS.

4. Resignation by PTI, PPP and MQM legislators and dissolution of two provincial legislatures . Iffy because of PPP and MQM support for such a cause.

5. An overt takeover. Least desired but unfortunately the most effective in the short term to get rid of NS. Fraught with great and negative portents.

But once the current administrative structure gives way to a caretaker government than further judicial activism through constitutional petitions on areas such as Census. Electoral process, independence of election Commission NAB etc, can be initiated for more much needed electoral and government reforms.

Pakistan Zindabad,  sans this terrible, horrible, exploitative system of loot, plunder, pillage and corruption embodied by Nawaz Sharir and his toadies and flunkies!

A high level road map for Pakistan.

Martial Law is not the answer but we do need a system which can put shackles on the corrupt and provide good governance.

We can’t hyperventilate ourselves blue in the face by justifying the massive corruption of Nawaz Sharir and his cohorts by criticising past Military interventions and giving a fellow Lahori a free pass as one dear friend advocates.

Here is what we need. No not Martial Law but a constitutional, judicial driven action supported by resignation of PTI PPP and perhaps MQM legislators,  leading to the dissolution of the present rotten stinking administration.

Several things essential before next elections. Otherwise we will have the same recycled crap back in power.

1.  Local government made immediately effective so that the public is not deprived of  administrative access to government.

2. Immediate appointment of capable people in public sector enterprises. PIA is already done with a very competent CEO and COO. This will start paying dividends in months.

3. Technocrats in key policy making roles at federal and provincial levels so they can commence the task of first stemming and then fixing the rot.

Medium term. Major reforms.

4. Administrative (more provinces, census).

5. Economic (tax base).

6. Governance (Presidential system and technocrats in policy making cabinet roles and administrative and financially empowered local government. 4 year terms for President and legislatures).

7. Electoral (50% on proportional representation and other 50% directly elected with majorality win and not first past the post).

Long term.  Complete revamp and reform of following sectors

8. Education. Technology driven. Universal.

9. Healthcare. Universal. Insurance.

10. Judiciary. Attorney General, Election commission,  Head of NAB and Federal Ombudsperson appointed by Supreme Court. Related Provincial by Provincial High Courts.

11. Law enforcement. New police force. Independant. Prosecution. Criminal. Investigative arms

12. Legislatures. Only legislate. No development funds. Not necessary to be an elected legislature to become a cabinet minister.

Then elections. Presidential. Direct. Legislature.  Part proportional rep. Part direct.

Time frame from initiation of change to elections. 3 to 5 years.

On the Motorway incident – SSG officers and Motorway police.

 Folks, two army officers embroiled themselves in an avoidable and embarrassing and ugly, situation.

This is typical of most engagements in Pakistan, involving civilians or military petsonnel, when questioned by law enforcement agencies, especially the police.

And especially again, if it involves egos and power play, further compounded if one is young, hot headed and arrogant.

And if one is an army officer and SSG, highly trained for combat, then it gets really complicated.

Everyday we see defiance of authority and law, by anyone who can.

Sons of politicians getting away with daylight murder.

A PM who robs the country in broad daylight has his and his children’s guilt emblazoned in Panama headlines across the globe, yet flouts any and every law with impunity without any remorse OR shame.

A Chief Minister, who orders the cold blooded killing of 14 innocent people, is still in power, merrily squandering tax payers money on his “building trains in the air” spending spree!

A Finance Minister who launders money, cooks the national books, in total disregard of any law and or fear of being caught. And smiles as he does it!

An energy minister who commits the scam of the century in the recent LNG contract with Qatar, and then looks you straight in the eye, denying any wrong doing.

The son of a former Chief Justice of the Nation’s highest court party’s in the world’s hot spots, paid for by near crooked mobsters and fixers, so he could “fix” things. Makes obscene money and no one can put the manacles on him.

Flouting law and getting away has become a national norm. Especially if you’re powerful and rich. And the more powerful, the bigger the defiance of authority and law.

I don’t see this incident as a black mark on the army as an institution, but a symptom of a sick value now deeply embedded in our national psyche of flouting authority.

If these two officers transgressed then they  should be taken to task as should anybody in Pakistan who flouts the law. And more importantly for the sake of the institution whose reputation they’ve besmirched.

That’s why, as young officers we were strictly ordered to avoid any public situation which could cast a shadow on the institution.

I dont think this is about defending the Army or the Motorway police.

It’s about two stupid, arrogant, hot headed idiots in an encounter with another bunch of likely stupid, hot headed, arrogant idiots.

However my conspiracy theory itch bone says, that the Noony dirty tricks brigade had something to do with the way this whole incident went viral.

My hunch is that getting wind of it, the Noonie Loonies were quick to use the opportunity to embarrass the Army, had an FIR registered post haste by someone who was not even involved AFTER the matter had been amicably resolved.

And my hyperventilating conspiracy theory now hazards that before one could say “Nawaz Sharir” these Noony Social Loonies, under the command of the very elegant ” First Daughter”, went into full action mode, using Social Media to full effect.  Hmmmmm!

And then perhaps things just went viral because of the characters and institution involved!

We may never know!

Erdogan and post coup Turkey.

Here’s something to think about.

If Erdogan uses the coup to go on a witch hunt against his political opponents he will undo all the good work he’s done. The tragedy of success is that it engenders a feeling of being always right.

 Circumstances and environments change and smart leaders build on these to take their nations forward.

Long terms in positions of power and authority results in  complacency,  a desire to perpetuate their hold, and, consequently, becoming more and more repressive and authoritarian in their governance.

This leads to myopic thinking, that those who oppose them are out to subvert them, not realising that it’s a response and reaction to their dictatorial style.

A fixed two term rule in countries which continue to progress and innovate is the critical factor which brings in new faces, new ideas, innovation and progress and development.

Erdogan had this luxury when he started and the real reason behind his spectacular success.

Since the past few years he is turning into a despot, using constitutional measures to perpetuate his stay in power. And therein lie the seeds of his downfall and the undoing of his work.

In thriving democracies, even when a leader from the same party acquires power, they bring in a new team with fresh ideas and programs.

In Pakistan one sees this syndrome as well.  Nawaz Sharif is still relying, pretty much on the same set of close advisers which he had in 1990. Imagine that. In 16 years nothing’s changed.

So that’s why we’re in  this mess.

We need a new leader with a fresh team with new innovative ideas and programs in sync and leveraging the technological explosion that’s taken place in the last two decades.