RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaz Parvez Kayani Tuesday said it is not merely retribution, but awareness and participation of the masses that can truly end this game of hide and seek between democracy and dictatorship.
“General Elections would be held in the country on 11th of May. We must not harbour any suspicions or misgivings about it,” the Army Chief said while addressing an august gathering on the occasion of Yaum-e-Shuhda here.
General Kayani said in his opinion, ‘it is not merely retribution, but awareness and participation of the masses that can truly end this game of hide and seek between democracy and dictatorship’.
“If we succeed in rising above all ethnic, linguistic and sectarian biases to vote solely on the basis of honesty, sincerity, merit and competence, there would be no reason to fear dictatorship or to grudge the inadequacies of our present democratic system,” he said.
He said, ‘our salvation resides in transforming the government into a true platform of public representation,’ adding, this would come to pass once the construct of public representation in Pakistan is oriented towards affording primacy and precedence to larger public interest over personal interests.
Dubbing the upcoming general elections as ‘golden opportunity’, General Kayani said it can usher in an era of true democratic values in the country.
“I assure you, that we stand committed to wholeheartedly assist and support in the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections; to the best of our capabilities and remaining within the confines of the Constitution.”
He further said that like every Pakistani, Pakistan Army, in its humble capacity, has endeavoured to strengthen democracy in the last five years, with the hope that the next elections would steer the country towards betterment.
“The success of democracy is intimately linked with the wellbeing and prosperity of the Nation,” General Kayani stressed.
On war against terrorism, the Army Chief said: “I would like to ask all those who raise such questions that if a small faction wants to enforce its distorted ideology over the entire Nation by taking up arms and for this purpose defies the Constitution of Pakistan and the democratic process and considers all forms of bloodshed justified, then, does the fight against this enemy of the state constitute someone else’s war?”
He said even in the history of the best evolved democratic states, treason or seditious uprisings against the state have never been tolerated and in such struggles their armed forces have had unflinching support of the masses; questions about the ownership of such wars have never been raised. “We cannot afford to confuse our soldiers and weaken their resolve with such misgivings,” he added.
“In line with the spirit of this occasion, alongside Pakistan Army I would like to express my profound appreciation for FC, Rangers, Police, Frontier Constabulary and Levies, who have sacrificed tremendously in the struggle against terrorism and extremism and have kept the flag of Pakistan fluttering high,” the Army Chief said.
However, he said, the biggest sacrifice has been rendered by the people of Pakistan, whose steadfastness and support is a source of immense strength for the Armed Forces of Pakistan. “I salute the spirit of patriotism of the entire Nation.”
General Kayani said martyrdom is a great honour and fortunate are those who are blessed with it. “We all sincerely pray for the families of the Shuhada. May Allah grant them strength and fortitude! Ameen!”