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Khaki-Mufti Relations; Media’s Favorite Tale

“Dawn News writes truth that’s why military establishment is unhappy. Print and electronic media is under the strict control of State institutions and the media houses which want to project “true picture” should stand up against armed forces for freedom of expression. The role of establishment is worse and what they did with “Public representatives” is unfair. What happened in Dawn Leaks? A ‘daring act’ by Dawn Group to expose military interference in decision making process of a democratically elected government.”

These sponsored narratives get extensive space in the international media. But why Pakistan  mainstream media is highly interested in such kind of things? Why media’s favorite topic is to Discuss Khaki-Mufti relations, after all? All this sounds quite ridiculous, isn’t it?

It is often believed that media make stories after multiple calculations and the word “true picture” is unaccustomed in media’s domain. The concept of information warfare will be helpful to understand this phenomenon. According to American futurist and author Jerome C. Glenn, “Information warfare is the manipulation of information trusted by a target without the target’s awareness so that the target will make decisions against their interest but in the interest of the one conducting information warfare”. Perhaps 5th generation warfare also encompasses this approach to damage ideological boundaries of a rival state. Sun Tzu’s Art of War denotes that War is all about deception while media is known as the weapon of mass deception. So there is no doubt that media work as equal as any lethal weapon of mass destruction in a sugar coated way.

Let’s come back to the point, Pakistani media bash state institutions on different matters. If institutions work wrong then media should highlight but under certain code of conduct and ethics. Mainstream media talk about freedom of expression and quote freedom of international media, which is authentic up to some extend but the key media houses around the globe never bash their state institution and their policies. It is hard to find that CNN bashed CIA or BBC bashed MI6 or Indian or Israeli media have criticized RAW and Mossad respectively.

In different countries of the world, armed forces have important role in decision making process. In America, we could not deny the role of Pentagon in core policy matters. Similarly in Pakistan throughout its history, armed forces have important role in policy matters. And in this regard one of the main reason is geopolitical situation of the region. Along with it corruption and bad governance of democratically elected governments have disappointed public that is why today people ask from Judiciary and forces for taking notice of their issues. Similarly, there is a dilemma of space or the dilemma of power vacuum. When the public got frustrated and government failed to perform its duties, heretofore the situation of anarchy prevail at state level, state institutions come and fill that power vacuum. So the role of Khakis in politics is reactionary, not proactive.

 Samuel Huntington’s and Samuel Finer’s theories of civil-military relation also elaborate this point firmly.  Huntington discusses that military personnel always play the role of “professional” soldier and focus on his duties and assignments and they do not interfere in civilian domain. While Samuel Finer says that in third world countries where civil government is weak and their civilian institutions do not perform well. Only military institution remains powerful and active than other institutions so in the event of any difficulty or crisis, not only civilian leadership call the military to intervene into civilian domain but people also seek the help country’s unified institute military to perform. Civil-Military relation in Pakistan depicts the theory of Finer where civilian institutes are weak, lack of interests in performing their duties, in crises people look toward military. So military has to intervene into civilian domain.

Leadership trait analysis of world leaders depicts that respectable leaders of the world have the prime objective of state survival. Then their second objective remains regime survival. But in Pakistan, it is unfortunate that political leadership focuses only on their regime survival and has less focus on state survival. As a result, these leaders compromise on state survival for their personal benefit. Then state institutions step forward as it is their responsibility and they have taken oath to secure Pakistan from internal and external threats, so state institutions play their role in to streamline state’s functionality and performance.

Generally, a state’s sociology-economic development depends upon three inter-related factors and these factors are stable law and order, stable political system, and stable economy. When a country is safe and sound, then political stability comes and after that safe and stable country makes good economic policies that attract foreign investors and foreign investment comes in the wheel of economy spins.  Pakistan remained engage in war on terror in last two decades that has destroyed the national social fabric. Military has played important role to bring peace and security stability in Pakistan and now the country is relatively secured. Now a stable and fair political system is required and in this regard, the results of 2018 general elections are highly encouraging.  People have elected their representatives and now they are expecting good governance. After elections, people are optimistic that Pakistan will be on the path of growth and progress because they are aware of the fact that economic growth and political stability are strongly inter-linked.

Indeed media is forth pillar of a state and it plays a vital role in shaping and shaking opinions. In current political scenario, it is dire need of time that all media houses should think beyond their vested interests. They should play a responsible role for harmony in Khaki-Mufti relation. While along with it, for the sake of Pakistan a complete synergy and harmony is extremely essential among civil military leadership.

Read More: There are good reasons for the army’s popularity in Pakistan

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