Green book just a journal, not a change in military doctrine

Posted by Admin On Wednesday, 27 February 2013 0 comments

Much was made of the ‘Green Book’, touted as the strategic manual of the Pakistani military. According to a recent article in the journal published by the GHQ, changing priorities...

Much was made of the ‘Green Book’, touted as the strategic manual of the Pakistani military. According to a recent article in the journal published by the GHQ, changing priorities after 11 years, the Army has termed internal threats as the greatest danger to the country’s security. This shifts concentration of troops from the eastern to the western borders.
Now we are told on good authority that the Green Book does not represent the official view of the Army but is a magazine representing personal views of the officers who contribute articles in it. As such there is no change in the strategic doctrine of the Pakistani military.
India remains an existential threat, though terrorism is no less. The military is not against better trade relations with India, however, normal relations could only be restored once there is some positive movement on resolving thorny issues including Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek etc.
The much-discussed ‘strategic depth’ doctrine of the military also remains fully intact. It is clarified that a peaceful, secure and friendly Afghanistan meant that our western borders are safe. Hence the Pakistani military can fully concentrate on the eastern borders.
So far as elections are concerned, the military spokesman has already clarified that the Army supports timely elections and contrary to speculations rife in a substantial swath of public opinion it had neither intentions nor the desire to scuttle the process. Furthermore the military has no favourites. Whoever wins the elections fair and square and forms a government is acceptable to it. Hence Nawaz Sharif has nothing to fear that powers that be have any desire to block him.
In this context, the military leadership considers it an affront to its intelligence to be accused of backing Tahirul Qadri. Hence if non-state political actors looking at the GHQ for support (or perhaps getting it from sections of the establishment) to scuttle the election process in the name of accountability not only stand discredited but abandoned as well.
There has been much talk about the COAS General Ashfaq Kayani getting another extension before his second three-year term expires in November. It is highly unlikely, according to those in the know of things. A newly-elected government will be in place much before Kayani retires. Zardari’s term as president ends in August.
Hence there is a lot of slip between the cup and the lip. Nonetheless in the backdrop of a complicated geostrategic situation owing to imminent American withdrawal from Afghanistan by end of next year a one-year extension for the sake of continuity cannot be entirely ruled out.
The General however has confided to friends that he has no desire to seek or accept another extension. His friends will see him sans uniform come 2014, it is claimed.
So far as the Balochistan situation is concerned the military is willing to play its role strictly according to the constitution; i.e. in aid of civil powers, if asked to intervene under Article 245 of the Constitution. Any other role of the Army in Balochistan or Karachi will be tantamount to imposing martial law, which neither the military nor the civilian government desire.
Figures like Brahamdag Bugti are the bane of the military. With scores of killings in Balochistan on his watch, the Afghan government is giving him safe haven as well as a passport. Karzai denies any truck with Bugti but when Gen Kayani personally handed him the dossier on Brahamdag, he did not know where to look.
The APC called by Maulana Fazlur Rehman has the tacit backing of the military. It is keen that the civilian leadership should be on one page on talks with the TTP (Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan). Talks should take place with a position of strength rather than weakness. Similarly any agreement should be strictly within the ambit of the constitution, law and writ of the Pakistan government.
The military is extremely worried about internal instability, terrorism and a weakening economy. Even the example of former Soviet Union is invoked which disintegrated owing to internal chaos and an emasculated economic base despite having a strong military. Hence measures to salvage the economy, including going back to the IMF by a civilian government will have army’s support.
The military’s desire to combat terrorism has been thwarted by weak laws and flawed prosecution process. Belatedly a strong anti-terrorism law has been introduced in the National Assembly. Hopefully it will become a law and not left on the plate of the next parliament.
The army is bitter about the Swat experience where it successfully flushed out the terrorists. But it is still holding Swat without the civilian administration developing the capability to take over. Not a single person that the military nabbed in the once peaceful valley has been convicted.
The military supports intra-Afghan dialogue with the belief that political process should be in the lead. Within the parameters of its strategic doctrine the military desires a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. It is no longer keen to foist a government of its choice in Kabul.
However, it firmly believes that once the US troops leave, Pakistan should not be left in the wrong corner.
The previous elections were widely perceived to be deeply flawed and fraudulent. The military hopes that the coming elections to be held in 2014 before the Americans leave are transparent and free that give fair representation to the afghan Talban who as a result look towards Kabul rather than Islamabad.


Post a Comment