Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Pakistan Army Officer has Slipped from being a Gentleman

People who have spent time as part of this Army will vouch safe that the British imbibed one principle into the officer cadre that an officer in addition to his other chores as a fighter was basically a gentleman. This is the ethos of the officer cadre in the Indian army. The Pakistan Army was also a part of the British Indian Army. But after independence the Pakistan officer cadre has drifted away from the ethos of an officer as a gentleman as well. Such a statement is indeed strong, but the facts speak for themselves. The Pakistan officer cadre is responsible for some heinous crimes, notably in Bangladesh. The 1971 war brought out the sorry spectacle of Pakistan army carrying out a massive rape of the Bangladesh population. Incidents like the girls from Dacca University being abducted and raped are common knowledge. A commission of inquiry after the war established this to a great extant. Even earlier the tribal rape of Baramulla during the 1947-48 war cannot be forgotten. The acts are reprehensible only because the tribal's were led by officers of the Pakistan Army.
But the biggest crime that history will never absolve the Pakistan officer cadre is the fact that a lot many Indian POWs are still in jail in Pakistan after the 1971 war. The holding of these prisoners that have been confirmed by letters smuggled out from the jails as well as by Prisoners who have been released point to a sorry spectacle. Even Gen Mushraff the Pak president himself a soldier was unable to unravel the mess. The official denial continues and it is sad not only for the prisoners but the Pakistan army officer cadre.
The code of conduct for an officer is a matter of honor. Fight and kill- yes that is what he is trained for but underneath, the concept of the Raj of fair play and going by the rules is paramount. I wonder how the officers of the Pakistan army can look themselves in the mirror and claim that they are right. Perhaps all this has a lot to with Islamization drive in Pakistan army. The conversion of a secular force into a religious dominated force is a tragedy.
The ethos of the officer as a gentleman so sacrosanct to the Raj has suffered. Who is to blame for this? I am afraid the blame lies on the two nation theory propounded by Jinnah.