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Freedoms we cherish

The Pakistan Army is our first line of defence against all external threats. And the Pakistan Army is our last option to manage internal civil unrest. Historically, Pakistanis have always found Pakistan’s armed forces ready and prepared to respond to all natural and man-made disasters anywhere over the 796,095 square kilometres we call Pakistan.

Yes, there are potent threats to the cohesion of the Pakistani state. There are plenty of centrifugal forces bent upon tearing Pakistan apart (centrifugal forces ‘create divisions and push people in a nation away from each other’). According to Dr George Friedman, founder of Stratfor, an American strategist and a geopolitical forecaster: As long as the Pakistan “army remained united and loyal to the concept of Pakistan, the centrifugal forces could not tear the country apart (a centripetal force is ‘any action that unites the people of a nation as one singular political unit’).” The freedoms we cherish are dependent upon the longevity of Pakistan as a state. And the longevity of the Pakistani state depends on the Pak Army remaining “united and loyal to the concept of Pakistan.”

Our culture is our ideas, our customs and our social behaviour. Our culture is our beliefs that are passed down from generation to generation. Our culture is our language, our dress, our religion, our rituals and our art. To be sure, Pakistan’s strategic culture rests on four pillars: resistance to Indian hegemony; nuclear deterrence, border security and internal stability. To be certain, the force that defends our strategic culture are our armed forces – and the defence of our strategic culture is what guarantees the freedoms that we cherish. Yes, a soldier’s “blood is the seed of freedom’s tree.”

Each and every soldier is judged and tested on six counts: ‘selfless service, loyalty, honour, integrity, personal courage and duty’. Imagine, the best of the best make it to the rank of a two-star major general and then a three-star lieutenant general.

There are times when guaranteeing our freedoms means going beyond the call of duty. Providing security to CPEC projects; Covid management; settling the Reko Diq dispute and bypassing a multi-billion dollar penalty; resolving the Karkey dispute and saving a $1.2 billion penalty; countering the locust attack; urban flooding; military diplomacy and pulling Pakistan out of the FATF’s dreaded ‘grey list’. Going beyond the call of duty means going behind the curtains in order to protect the freedoms we cherish.

History is witness that “those who are reluctant to feed their own army shall feed a foreign army.” We all sleep peacefully because our army stands “ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” We must take out time to reflect on all the freedoms we cherish. And we must take out time to reflect on the sacrifices that our armed forces personnel make to ensure freedoms we cherish. We must take out time to reflect on the bravery of our armed forces who risk their lives to safeguard the freedoms we all cherish as citizens of Pakistan. As a matter of fact, the “highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.”

Email: farrukh15@hotmail.com

Dr Farrukh Saleem, "Freedoms we cherish," The News. 2022-11-20.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Political unit , Political forecaster , Diplomacy , Freedom , George Friedman , Pakistan , CPEC , FATF