When the generals executed Operation Regime Change, they discovered that nobody accepted their narrative. It was built upon a series of ever-changing falsehoods, which were eventually exposed. The credibility of the entire military rank and the institution they led was undermined. For the first time in over seventy years, the army lost the support of the people. The generals were perplexed and frustrated.
Then, on May 9, a spontaneous outburst of public anger occurred, or perhaps it was an event orchestrated by the generals themselves to provoke resentment within the high command, justifying certain actions they had already planned for the upcoming days.
Regardless of how it was triggered, May 9 presented an opportunity for the high command to salvage their position. They were deeply resentful due to their repeated failures in promoting their narratives. Consequently, they called upon Gen Ahmed Sharif, the DG ISPR, to articulately express their anger, which would serve as the justification for their future actions.
On June 26, General Sharif took the stage. His initial statement conveyed that the events on May 9 were the outcome of meticulous planning and a conspiracy aimed at defaming the armed forces of Pakistan and creating a divide between them and the people. The entire endeavor was constructed upon a web of lies. The people had been manipulated into believing a false narrative propagated by elements opposed to Pakistan’s interests. The armed forces, the families of martyrs, and the veterans were consumed by immense anger over the incidents of May 9.
In an attempt to further ignite emotions, General Sharif recounted the numerous sacrifices made by armed forces members who lay down their lives daily to ensure the nation’s security.
[It would be more dignified if the sacrifices of martyrs were not routinely invoked to justify the unjustifiable actions of the high command. The people are aware of and hold the fallen defenders in high regard for their sacrifices. However, their primary concern lies with the actions of the living who have betrayed them.]
At the 29:17-minute mark, Iftikhar Shirazi from Dawn posed a series of questions, with the most troubling one to most Pakistanis being: “….installations have special provisions for their security. But we saw that on 9 May, the people were free to attack GHQ and get into the Corps Commander’s House. So why were the layers of security absent?……”
At the 31-minute mark, the Director-General (D.G.) attempted to address this question. However, his response lacked the precision that the question demanded. The essence of his statement was that May 9 was not a spontaneous occurrence; it had been planned for months. There was extensive brainwashing of the people during this time to foster hatred for the army and its leadership. “The plan was to incite people to attack installations so that the army would be provoked into retaliating…….they had even included women at some places to act as shields…….When this incident took place, the army thwarted this malicious conspiracy. If the army had reacted as intended, their conspiracy would have succeeded……”
Though not explicitly stated, the DG’s response seems to suggest that the absence of the “layers of security” referred to by the Dawn correspondent was part of the army’s plan. In other words, removing certain security elements that could have been provoked into retaliating against the people was intentional. In short, reducing security details at certain installations was part of the army’s plan to eliminate the possibility of retaliation against the mobs, as such retaliation would have aided the success of the “conspirators!”
Therefore, regardless of what the army may have to say about the matter, it cannot deny its peripheral involvement in the design of the events on May 9. It may have intentionally reduced security at certain installations to prevent security personnel from retaliating against enraged mobs. However, it is also possible that the other side is correct in claiming that the sites with reduced security were an invitation to attack, and they were incited by agents provocateurs sent by the army.
Both scenarios are equally plausible, and it is conceivable that each side may have played a role in facilitating the other’s objectives.
At the 21:03-minute mark, the Director-General (DG) embarked on a rhetorical display by posing a series of questions. He evidently expected the inherent logic in these questions to sway the opinions of those who firmly believed that May 9 was another display of incompetence by the army. These questions (not in the order they were presented) were as follows: 1) Did the army brainwash the people against itself? 2) Did the army destroy its own installations with its own hands? 3) Was it the army that provided anti-Pak materials to anti-Pak elements abroad? 4) As mayhem unfolded, was it the army that encouraged the mobs to cause even more damage? 5) Could the army, with its own hands, desecrate the graves of its own martyrs? 6) Within hours of Imran Khan’s arrest, how could the army have attacked over 200 military sites spread throughout the country, from Karachi to Peshawar, almost simultaneously?
I will not attempt to answer these questions. However, I would like to pose counter questions specifically regarding questions 5 and 6 above.
Question 6: Who else was aware of the date and time of Imran Khan’s arrest and the subsequent humiliation it would entail? Is there any institution other than the army that possesses the manpower, discipline, reach, resources, and capability to coordinate attacks on over 200 sites across the country within such a short span of time? If these attacks were carried out by a political party, is it plausible to assume that they would spare the homes of their political adversaries, whom they harbor greater animosity towards than the army?
Question 5: Yes, the army is indeed capable of desecrating the graves of its own martyrs. An institution that has no qualms about breaking its oath and treacherously betraying its own country can hardly be expected to shed genuine tears over the desecration of fallen soldiers’ graves. Period.
The generals are undoubtedly in a difficult situation, and I empathize with them. However, it was their own decision to construct their narrative on a foundation of lies. This choice was forced upon them when the enterprise they initiated and supported turned out to be criminal in nature. It had nothing to do with democracy or parliamentary dynamics. It was solely driven by theft, power, and the assurance of immunity from the consequences of their actions. Consequently, as each lie crumbles, they attempt to replace it with another. Yet, they are doing a dismal job. With each collapse of their narratives, they become enraged and seek someone to blame. Unfortunately, they end up blaming those who refuse to partake in their falsehoods.
So, on this auspicious day of Eid, when goats everywhere may lament the passing of Lord Buddha, I would advise the generals to let the day of deceit pass. Let them begin by speaking the truth to themselves, then to each other, and finally to us—the people who, on this day of Eid, find ourselves more despondent than the goats.