Chief of Army Staff General (R) Kayani – Good and Bad
Let me begin by expressing my great regard and respect for the armed forces of Pakistan. An undeniable fact is that our armed forces are highly disciplined, capable and equipped to safeguard Pakistan’s sovereignty from all sorts of threats. These forces have ruled the hearts of the nation by virtue of their services for the people in moments of great despair and emergencies, i.e. earthquakes, foods, rain, storms, or diseases etc. The officers and soldiers laid their lives to protect the homeland and they are and will always be acknowledged in our history.
Gen (R) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is one such officer who served the motherland for about 40 years. He took over as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in Nov, 2007 from Gen(R) Musharaf stepped down. This was a difficult time for the Pak-Army because of unlawful acts of Musharaf and rapid increase in terrorism and extremism. Kayani was then serving as DG ISI so was he fully aware of political situation and US ‘WOT’. To reestablish public the trust of people, he called off the military personnel from all civilian departments. Growing terrorist incidents required a different approach to boost the morale of the officials and troops. Gen (R) Kayani brought in low intensity conflict training along with normal military training for soldiers and officers, to counter growing terrorism in the state. Along with better training, he brought drastic changes in Military Welfare System and extended the welfare system up to the lower ranks and files of the Army.
Under his command, Pak-Army re-controlled SWAT, 9 Agencies of FATA, and pushed the militants of Baluchistan to the corners. However, most embarrassing incident after East – Pakistan 1971, was the killing of Osama Bin Laden by a team of US seals during his tenure in Abbottabad. Despite that, Kayani with the support of DG ISI and DG MI contained the US intelligence network in Pakistan, which was given a free hand by Gen (R) Musharaf. His conduct with civilian Government of President Zardari and later Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif indicated that he was a pro-democracy man, with the believe that democracy is the right system to govern the state. His appearance in front of Parliament along with DG ISI was one such conduct to prove his pro-democratic supremacy approach.
While analyzing his reign as COAS, Gen (R) Kayani played major role in NRO- controversial agreement. He continued US WOT policy that led more polarization and extremism in Pakistani society. US continued to use Pakistani port and bases to import drones and then attacks in FATA region. Pakistani air-bases were eventually vacated in 2011 after the Salalah incident in which US forces attacked a Pak-Army post at Afghan border and killed 24 Pakistani troops. Under his command, Army’s role in General Election 2013 went a bit controversial, for it was deployed to conduct free and fair election but that turned out to be most rigged election in the history of Pakistan as almost all the political parties came out with rigging allegations against each other.
Well, after all the history will write Gen (R) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as a pro-democracy and pro-US Chief of Army Staff, who commanded Pak-Army to regain its lost confidence in Pakistani society.