By Abhijit Bhattacharya
The world knows, but can do little, because each nation unto itself on terror. Consensus on terrorism is simply impossible. Consequently, welcome to the world of a fanatic army’s terrorist state — the Army-ISI’s Pakistan. Indeed, for seven decades India has been facing the perfidy of this terrorist army and its illegal chiefs; illegal, because of their penchant for coups and forced, mala fide seizure of political power from bona fide civilian state rulers.
Although political and politicised today, the same pre-1947 Muslim officers of British Indian army were professionals and not politicians. They were professional keepers of “Christian-ruled”, “non-Muslim” and “non-Hindu” British India. Curiously, however, post-1947 the same professional Muslim officers of Pakistan played a leading role in destroying their new Muslim state, as can be seen from secession and consequential transformation of Muslim East Pakistan into an independent, sovereign, mainly Muslim Bangladesh in 1971. Although religion was shot dead by religion, yet apolitical, non-religious professionalism of Muslim soldiers of pre-1947 British Indian Army too succumbed at the altar of political perfidy and religious fanaticism in post-1947 Pakistan.
In fact, the birth of Bangladesh clearly showed Pakistan’s fanatic “religious Army’s” orgy of violence perpetrated on their own co-religionists thereby violating all canons of their own (purported) “constitutional law”. It is, therefore, time to analyse the circumstances leading to the creation of the “all-powerful” army rulers of Pakistan.
First, see the Pakistan Army Act 1952. It’s the military law which has an inherent and overriding power to prevail and trample on Constitutional sovereignty, through religion, it transpires. What’s strange is that it is the early civilian rulers who bestowed the Pakistani military with “special” and “unbridled” power. Why? Is it because of bitter linguistic rivalry? Between Punjabi and Urdu; Sindhi and Punjabi; Pashtun and Punjabi; Urdu versus non-Urdu and the far off, “majority” “Hinduized” Muslim East Pakistani Bengalis versus “minority” non-Bengali West Pakistanis? Or was the “political-space occupation competition” between the traditional Punjabi land-holding class and the perceived and potentially “land-grabbing” Urdu-speaking Mohajir refugees from North India migrating to West Pakistan the cause? Indeed, the cauldron appears a mystery of the civilian rulers’ political agenda albeit using a religious alibi. Yet, the Pakistan of 1952 still had the semblance of civilian rule as Ayub Khan had not seized power.
Whereas it was the upper class (non-Punjabi) Indian Muslims who spearheaded the politics of division and demand for Pakistan prior to 1947, strangely the Muslim officers and men of the undivided Indian Army, which also constituted a bulk of Punjabi-speaking Muslims, by and large, were not reported, or known, to be affected by the political lunacy of hatred and divisiveness. Here, grudgingly though, one has to acknowledge the seminal contribution of British imperialists for creating an apolitical and professional army consisting of men from various religions and divisions. Though done essentially to benefit British imperialists themselves, yet the fruits thereof are being enjoyed most by India. Pakistan has fallen by the wayside, becoming a victim of its army’s transformation from an apolitical and professional army to a revengeful, mindless political instrument overrunning and destroying the very state to which it belongs.
Be that as it may, let us go through a few sections of Pakistan Army Act 1952 to understand as to who and what all India will face in the foreseeable future:
Section 2 (1). The ‘persons subject to this Act’ include- (b)” persons enrolled under Indian Army Act 1911”. Clearly, the organic origin of Pakistan from Indian mainland is legally enshrined; cacophonic denial by religious fanatics to establish their “West Asian genealogy” notwithstanding.
Section 8 (a): “Islamic law means a law relating to enforcement of Hudood”. Unsurprisingly, the Pakistani Army is high on religious fanaticism and low on professionalism. Courtesy Zia ul Haq (1976-1988).
Section 8 (2): “The form of oath… shall contain a promise that person to be attested will bear faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the Constitution… and that he will not engage himself in any political activities whatsoever”. Constitutional provisions notwithstanding, the four coup masters (Ayub, Yahya, Zia, Musharraf) made a joke of the Constitution by imposing their own personal misrule.
Section 24: “Any person subject to this Act who commits… following offences: (b) in presence of… enemy, shamefully casts away his arms, ammunition… or (d) treacherously… sends flag of truce to enemy, shall be punished with death”. The entire Dhaka-based Army high command surrendered in December 1971. Nobody was given the death sentence. On the contrary, the surrendered General AAK Niazi published a magnificent memoir, accusing his bosses of unpardonable treachery to break the country.
Section 31: “Any person subject to this Act, who commits… following offences: (a) begins, incites, causes, or conspires to cause, or joins in, any mutiny in military or (b) being present at any such mutiny, does not use his utmost endeavours to suppress the same; shall be punished with death”. All four dictators, making mockery of Section 31, rendered their tenure of army chief illegal and ultra vires of the nation’s Constitution as well as the Army Act.
Section 8: “Any person… who abets commission of any offence…” (provided that… such person is found guilty under any Islamic law, the sentence awarded to him shall be that provided for the offence in that law”. Clearly, Pakistan Army has multiple sets of laws. Army Act 1952 and “any Islamic law”. An inevitable fatality, as no army can run on dual/multiple laws and under dual or multiple commands of both man and god.
Section 60: “Punishments include… (a) stoning to death; (aaa) amputation of hand, foot or both; (cc) whipping not exceeding one hundred strips; (k) any other punishment provided for in any Islamic law”. What more can be said about the medieval and archaic punishment for soldiers of the 21st century?
Section 88 (3): “In trial of accused who is a Muslim for an offence punishable under Islamic law, the officer holding trial, and officers attending under sub-section (2), shall all be Muslims”. Pakistan clearly has turned from professional soldiering of the Indian Army to a bigoted, fanatic, religious body of jihadis.
Section 170: Arguably the most hilarious provision. “(1) No person subject to Army Act 1952… is liable to be arrested for debt under any process issued by, or by authority of, any civil or revenue court or revenue officer”. Army rules the state. Army makes law. Even if in debt, no court to punish the army man!
And finally, vide Section 173 of Army Act 1952, “soldiers get priority for hearing by courts of cases in which persons subject to the Army Act are concerned”. Soldier is the (mis)ruler of the state; being the owner thereof. It is an Islamic Army’s Islamic Pakistan. All scripted. In writing. As for rationalism, logic, neutrality… what is that?
(Author is alumnus National Defence College. Views are personal)
Source : Daily Pioneer