Nation building is a daunting task. All elements of a society contribute to the collective development. The economic, social, political, administrative, religious, military, educational and judicial organs of the state all contribute to the collective state of the nation. It takes decades for nations to grow and rise as well as decay. The dynamics of a nation and its state-structure at times puts some elements of the society in a far more critical role than the other organs of state depending on the collective state of the nation. In the case of Pakistan, that very organ of the state acting as the most crucial organ is at present its Armed Forces.
Pakistan Armed Forces are crucial for the very existence of the state. They have been tested multiple times and have come up to their level of trust bestowed upon them by the Pakistani nation. The prime role of the Armed Forces is the defense of the country both from external and internal armed aggressors. Because of their dynamism, multiple secondary duties have also been allotted to them such as disaster relief in events such as floods, special security duties such as those Elections, training other law enforcement agencies such as police, peace missions in United Nations & friendly Muslim countries etc.
Pakistani nation is going through a critical period in history. Since the inception of Pakistan, the nation had to go through multiple tests and crucial times. It had to face two direct wars, home 3 million Afghan refugees, bear the brunt of sectarian and anti- state terrorism, suffer economic sanctions for securing its national defense via nuclear bombs, bear water terrorism at the hands of India in the form of water diversion at upstream headways in periods of scarcity and floods during monsoon rains etc. But none might have been as crucial as the challenges of today when the nation is facing a fifth generation war where the enemy is using all available means to create chaos and anarchy in the Pakistani nation.
For the last decade or so, the nation has been infested by terrorism by the likes of TTP throughout Pakistan, BLA in Baluchistan, multiple militant wings of political parties in Karachi and Sindh in general etc. The enemies were quick to harness their objectives through both overt and covert means. In the face of such chaos, it seemed that the Pakistani state was losing control. All eyes were on one institute for recovering from a failing state and that was Pakistan Army which leads the Armed Forces in Pakistan. By design, the Army was trained to fight regular war with arch-rival India. Countering Guerilla warfare and lone wolf-attacks was something new for the Army in general. However it was quick to learn the new rules of the game. Internal threats were given top priority and tactics and training were developed to counter the threats. Swat valley was recovered, major portions of Waziristan have been cleared as well; Karachi operation is bringing back peace to the city of Lights, Bara and Peshawar operations have also brought peace there, sectorial outfits siding with TTP in Punjab have been cleared at large & BLF in Balochistan has also been hit hard. Pakistan is fast regaining control over its territory and neutralizing the proxy elements unleashing the scourge of terrorism ion Pakistan. The faith of the common man in Pakistan has been restored thanks to the Armed Forces of Pakistan.
Floods have become an annual event thanks to our eternal enemy of fascist India. The bad governance of the Political regimes put the disaster management and relief operations on the shoulders of the Armed Forces. And this habit gets repeated elsewhere as well such as Earth-Quake of 2008 in Azad Kashmir or the water logging in the streets of Karachi. The national psyche associates the role of rescuers and protectors with Pak Army.
Relationships with other nations are a critical ingredient for national role at international level. The armed forces have diverse military ties with numerous countries securing access for Pakistani state, people, military, industry etc. The role of Pak Army in UN has served many a humanitarian missions as well as brough repute for Pakistan. Collaboration with China through military projects has brought up huge industrial setups such as POF & PAC helping Pakistan get self-sufficiency, save foreign currency reserves and indigenize.
Military exercises with US bring in state of the art weapons and tactics, an understanding of the US and international support at critical times. Foreign visits of COAS Gen Raheel have been great for shaping our relationships with major powers and other important players vis a vis Pakistan. Relationships with Russia have been restored. Pakistan has been made a member of SCO.
The armed forces have strived hard to setup of military-industrial setups to facilitate the support of the weapon systems of Pakistan at local level through minimal costs relieving the nation of the otherwise exorbitant costs of the national defense in place to secure them from aggressive enemies. POF Wah, AWC, SPD, NESCOM & PAC are some of the key facilities helping Pakistan supporting and developing key weapons for the Armed forces locally at minimal cost and providing support to a large employed workforce. A comparison of the budgets of comparable Armed forces can best depict this issue.
The Armed Forces is by far the most competent institute of Pakistan. Realizing its potential and responsibilities, they have never limited themselves to traditional duties. For e.g. the Pak Army has recently built a large portion of CPEC trade route and the task is on its way. It also built multiple schools and road networks in Waziristan and other agencies. It dug a tunnel across the Pak Afghan border to curb infiltration on its own. Its field hospitals are often helping the needy such as those in Thar.
Economics is the blood of the social life. Without a strong economy, the nation will keep engulfed in the petty problems of the needful. The Armed Forces are actively working to provide a secure environment to the nation so that businesses can flourish and foreign investment can be attracted once again. They have also been at times in enabling activities such as infrastructure development so that economic activities may kick-off as a better & fruitful alternative to violence and illegal means of livelihood.
The armed forces are composed of people coming from all areas of Pakistan with diverse backgrounds. This helps build a cohesion among various peoples of Pakistan differing in their race, language or area. People in turn go back to their areas and remove misunderstandings that some vested groups propagate.
People look for pride and hope in their Armed Forces. Unfortunately, much of the state institutions are in a state of limbo. The only state institute delivering is the armed forces. Parades, security operations, weapon system displays, prominent positions in international military events etc. induce sense of pride and hope in Pakistani nation.
The Armed forces have played a pivotal role in the security and development of the nation. There competency and productivity make them popular with the nation. They have played a much bigger role than their share and have strived to make up for the shortcomings of others. Their role in the progress and buildup of the nation is remarkable.