By – Kashif Sarmad
The word traitor might have comprehensive meaning in Oxford dictionary which describes the potentials, qualities and actions of traitors but in Pakistan it has only one meaning, if you are against Army you are against the country. This describes a lot, for example; if you speak counter to Army you are traitor; if you criticize army, you are traitor; if you expose any unconstitutional and illegal move of army, you are traitor. In a nut shell, your any action against this institution is considered as treason.
This is what happened with me when I as a journalist was the part of International center for journalists (ICFJ) sponsored by US department of state. In different workshops and seminars arranged by ICFJ, I admit the flaws and negativities of Pakistan Army due to Martial laws which brought the country to disintegration and dragged the nation into worst scenario of Afghan Jihad. I also disapprove the trend of Army’s involvement into the politics and in democratic regimes. I strongly demonstrated the need to implement the constitution in its true sprit as well as all democratic institutions to work within their constitutional frames.
My stance lead me to be the villain of Pakistan and some of my colleagues (who were blindly pro Army or in a relations to Army officers or were sent by spy agency in that conference to submit report to their god-fathers) pronounce me anti-state and to be precise a traitor. They started questioning my credentials and claiming that I am not journalist at all. I think they were not only pointing fingers on my credibility as a journalist but also on the credibility of most professional people in the ICFJ who interviewed us and selected us as a journalists for this program.
They (my colleagues / spies) were also claiming that I was doing it for the Asylum in the USA. I would like to increase their information which is already below the mark of worst, that my point of view in conferences had nothing to do with the Asylum in the USA and my point of views in those conferences would never help me getting asylum; it was my political opinion and it will remain my political opinion. The second thing is, the highly professional individuals are dealing with the departmental affairs with merit which deals with the immigration in USA.
I would like to add here that, I respect professional officers in Pakistan Army and I also gave tribute to those soldiers and their families who lost their beloved ones during saving people’s lives and fighting terrorism. The only problem I got is Martial laws, Army’s involvement in democratic regimes, some of Army personals links with the terrorist organizations and political activism of Inter Service Intelligence (ISI).
As ill luck would have it, In the Pakistani society, the people who criticize deep rooted but bogus political, social and religious systems have always been victim of serious blames. The one blame on Governor Punjab Salman Taseer lead him to grave-yard by his own security guard /policeman when some religious groups blamed him for doing blasphemy by passing comments on Hudood (Islamic) law introduced by dictator Zia Ul Haq.
So if you want to teach anyone a lesson of lifetime, tag him/her with any organization or institution which people of that region hate. In Pakistan tag your disliked person with Indian intelligence agency, with Al-Qaeda, With CIA of USA, Mosaad, KGB or Terrorists; that person will be executed by anyone without your direct involvement. This is called, “third degree murder made easy”.
In Pakistan, Last year the renowned Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir was shot in Karachi but thank-God survived.
Mr. Hamid Mir’s brother, Amir Mir (Pakistani Journalist) has blamed I.S.I for being responsible for that attack; he further stated that, Hamid Mir mentioned to his family, colleagues and journalist organizations regarding the threats he had from Pakistan Army’s intelligence wing called Inter-Service Intelligence (I.S.I). Since then, unending dispute between Army and Geo News TV has started and nationwide protests by Pro-ISI groups (possibly funded by ISI) started against Geo News TV.
So as mentioned in spy agency’s recipe; Geo TV was manifested as traitor / foreign funded / state enemy. For the first time, in the history of not only Pakistan but almost the whole world, people in Pakistan were arranging public gatherings along-with banners which had ISI chiefs picture and supporting slogans. I finally saw the biggest ever political party of Pakistan (I.S.I) since 1947 on streets for the first time. According to pro - Army and ISI personalities, these supporters were ordinary but obviously, Patriotic Pakistanis who have volunteered themselves for the protest against Geo TV and to show the solidarity with Pakistan Army specifically I.S.I to boost the morale of their Army.
I know that it is an old story but we should learn from it to move to better direction and the sole cum better direction is the democratic path. The sole way to move to betterment is the honesty and discipline. All government and non-government institutions should work within their constitutional and legal limits. I know it is easier said than done in this matter because we didn’t able to stop undemocratic regimes to come in power with the help of unconstitutional moves but now we would have to stop it by all means.
I am not against liking any political party, religious party, law enforcement agency or even Army but besides liking we shouldn’t close our critical eyes on their unconstitutional acts because those acts will decide the future of our nation and generations to come. As a nation our greatness ought to be our merit, constitutional practice and justice.
I have started this write-up from the word traitor. The best meaning I found are in the words of George III, “A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me”.