Such a short journey

on Tuesday, July 7, 2009

All these years Pakistan's budget never revealed the details of expenditures under defence sector, but last year Pakistan's new government broke all the taboos and presented a budget which gave out more details of defence spending than ever. To add to the surprise, a 2hours debate stirred in the Senate, which was first parliamentary discussion ever on the defence budget. This year again, the episode was repeated and the defence budget was as detailed as last year's except that service-wise breakdown of allocation was not provided.

Pakistan's army suffered image tainting enormously during Musharraf reign. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who succeeded Mr. Musharraf, had this responsibility of repairing Pakistan army's image and he has done the job very well by accomplishing a big part of his mission in mere 2years.

From mid 2006, Pakistan Army suffered one setback aftaer another in terms of public relations under Musharraf regime attributing to his dual role as Army chief and the President. When second emergency was imposed in Pakistan in November 2007, public anger rose to its peak. When General Kayani held the office, his very first move was to recall all the serving officers from civilian government to army duties. During Musharraf's impeachment, army distanced itself from the whole drama. In March 2009, when Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhary was restored, Army backed up the restoration when there were protestors on the street. But the Swat valley operation brought the major attitude change towards army. The apparent sincerity with which the army took on the millitants drastically transformed the army's image.

Mr. Zaidi, on the other hand, said that two or three years down the line, there's a possibility that all these reports of army's role in governance and politics of Pakistan may turn out to be exaggeration. At present it appears that both government and army are working in sync for people's interest.

As for India, the army's image makeover in Pakistan has made things even more complex, as military repositioning in Pakistan is attributed to its ability to articulate more anger against India.