From Guns to Roses

(Sadia N. Qazi, Gilgit)

Given the level of threat and seriousness of situation, nobody knows how many terrorist attacks or acts of sabotage the Pakistan Army succeeded to have averted, which the enemy might have plotted to disrupt and sabotage the smooth holding of Election 2018 on July 25. Thanks to the great job done by nearly 400,000 military personnel who made this national event possible with an extraordinary vigilance and exemplary commitment on and before the D-Day.

Therereally were unprecedented scenes of emotional expressions we also witnessed on TV screens when the men and women, young and old standing in long queues presented roses and garlands to the jawans and officers of the Pakistan Army, giving a clear message to the world and the forces inimical that the people of Pakistan love their Armed Forces and that they would never let anyone to disrespect – never.

The Army above all has proved, once again, that all the propaganda made during the previous months was not only a farce but also part of the foreign driven agenda to mislead the people and badmouth the media. In his tweet he made on July 26, Major General Asif Ghafoor, the top spokesman of Pakistan military, rightly quoted a verse from the holy Quran, that was meant to thank Allah Almighty for adding another feather in the Army’s cap – it fulfilled the promise of holding peaceful elections and ensuring smooth transition of government to the elected representatives.

GE-2018 has been termed as one of the most historical elections for Pakistan. EU observers and independent analysts have called it transparent and peaceful. An interesting turn of events was witnessed solidifying the judiciary and cementing the democratic structure of our country. For a consecutive of 10 years, the elected governments had completed their full terms and smooth transitional elections were held. A major shift of power game in the political scenario paved way for a highly competitive environment and it was inexorable to warrant safe and transparent general elections.

As the general elections 2018 neared, a sudden hype in the terrorist activities started to surge up disrupting the peace and security situation of the country. These attacks were targeted and orchestrated to not only unsettle the ongoing electoral progression but also to target the candidates who were patriots and nationalists. Pakistan lost its brave heroes in its way to the elections and that’s a heavy expense the nation had to pay to ensure a strong democratic Pakistan.

Pakistan Armed Forces have time and again proved to be the backbone of the country. Their contributions in safeguarding borders and maintaining law & order are widely acknowledged. Whether to counter external threats on the world’s largest active borders or eradicating internal threats from the insurgents, the Pakistan military has raised its guns high up to not only eliminate these threats but to root out all the sleeper cells and any terrorist pivots lurking in the shadows to destabilize the country. If it rains heavy or the regions get flooded, if an earthquake rattles the land, or an accident calls for a rescue, Pakistan Army has demonstrated its fortitude in preservation of Pakistan and held its hand high and steady to help and rescue those in need.

Apart from maintaining law and order and enhancing the security situation of the country, Pakistan Army has stood out as a lookout for democracy in the previous few years. Despite the conspiracy theories and the anti-army agendas being blowout by the elements working internally and externally with anti-state interests, created a profane propaganda for hearing boots raging the coup. But Pakistan Army has not only denied all these baseless allegations but time is a witness itself that whatever political chaos Pakistan has been in for the last few years, Pakistan Army has stood guard for democracy and let the political matters run their course and be solved with political reasoning and judicial supremacy, thus strengthening the nation’s institutions.

No wonder, when the elected government exhausted its term, for the commencement of General Elections, Pakistan Army was called on. The task of Pakistan Armed Forces along with other security Forces was to ensure transparent, smooth and safe elections. A large number of deployments were required and as army was already busy on active borders and in various sensitive areas, reserve army troops were also positioned and given the charge for the security.

Pre-emptive security measures were taken and 371,000 army soldiers were deployed at more than 86,000 countrywide polling stations. Working under the directives of Election Commission of Pakistan, the Army was given the responsibility to ensure security at the polling stations and to assure a translucent transport of the deliverables at these polling stations. The Army supervised the printing of ballot papers as well. Its involvement stamped that no foul play was done with ballot papers and during printing or its delivery.

Anti-Pakistan agents targeted the polling station in Quetta and the suicide attack took more than 35 innocent lives marking these elections as one of the most high-stake elections as dozens of precious lives were lost in a series of attacks at various political assemblies.

On the polling day, Pakistan Army sentinels stood guard protecting and safeguarding the Pakistanis and their mandates. The unmatched efforts and un-rattled commitment of Pakistan Army was appreciated by the general community. As a gesture of thanks to Army, Pakistani citizens’ exhibiting their emotions vividly were witnessed. And many historical pictures got viral on social media. Mothers hugged the sentinels on duty. It was a clear sign of confidence and love they hold for their brave sons of the soil and acknowledge that by giving their blessings to these sons guarding the polling stations. Moreover, at various cities and in various polling stations, these gallant men with guns were showered with flower bouquets. The smiles that these flowers put on these soldiers’ faces were priceless. Not only just being acknowledged for their efforts and sacrifices, they were lauded with love and affection of the common people. People carried these flowers from their homes or bought on their way to polling stations to give them to the Pakistan Army personals on duty. Children also gave flowers to fouji uncles, and also saluted with pride to them. Many people also brought cold water and juices for these soldiers standing guard in the scorching and hot weather. A picture of a boy pouring down tea for the soldiers getting viral is so full of innocent love and care that the nation holds for these heroes.

Pakistan Armed Forces have laid many precious lives in the line of duty to cement the defense of Pakistan. These gallant soldiers have faced bullets and looked in the eye of naked danger with unmatched determination and sheer nerve. We may not know names of all those who sacrificed their lives or sustained severe injuries and suffered for us, but we do know that this uniform is an emblem of our strength and pride. And this notion was stamped by the gestures of Pakistani citizens. These simple yet intense statements of their backing and affection unmistakably spoke to all the enemies of Pakistan that, Pakistani people stand firm and tall at the backs of these sons of soil, come what may. It also showed to the rest of the world that Pakistan is a strong nation with Armed forces and civilians standing together for making Pakistan great again and are invincible together.

For quite some time, various anti-state players have been directing a campaign to malign Pakistan Army by diffusing false propaganda and making Pakistan Army’s role controversial in the political picture and their role in General Elections and aiming at breaking the backbone of Pakistani defence and making it vulnerable. But the message of Pakistani People has been carried loud and clear honouring the toil and resolve of the Pakistan Armed Forces. Pakistan Army safeguarding the many fronts of Pakistan with their gallant tenacity and ready guns were rewarded and reinforced with love, care and roses.

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