Punitive action

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Retribution for May 9 riots saw a new leaf as disciplinary proceedings against senior military officials were announced. They account for a serving Lt. General, three major generals and seven brigadiers, pronounced a presser from the DG ISPR. This is quite a serious action and, perhaps, for the first time in history by the armed forces, intended to send across a message of obedience and loyalty to duty in one of the best national institutions of the country. The strength was apparently drawn from the Special Core Commanders Conference, and the 81st Formation Commanders’ meet. The military spokesperson Maj-Gen Ahmad Sharif Chaudhry also went on to say that the unfortunate events on the fateful day were “undoubtedly” a conspiracy against Pakistan and one which was being planned for months.

This entire episode must be seen and read in the perspective of elements taking law in their hand, and that too after being influenced by a biased narrative. Thus, the military’s resolve that such vandalism that saw national and sensitive installations targeted, including the official residence of Lahore Corps Commander, will neither be forgotten nor will the planners and facilitators be forgiven, is on the mark. The need of the hour is to closely introspect the violence and bring the culprits to book both in civil strata and the military. The army by taking an initiative in its rank and file has shown the way. By categorically stating that all those “responsible and associated” with the incidents will be punished under the Constitution of Pakistan and under the law regardless of their affiliation with any institution, political party, or any individual, the military has addressed concerns of rights violations, and is promising.

Another important point that the DG ISPR brought to the fore is the nuisance of a concocted “narrative” based on lies and exaggeration that was systematically choreographed on social media. This paved the way for sentiments of hate against a national institution, which is the custodian of the country’s security. This is, of course, unacceptable and must be checked and put down.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2023.

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