Commenting on the decision, the editorial of Ausaf Urdu Daily writes, “This decision by the Prime Minister is appreciable and has generated hope that the government would be able to do its work without any hassle. Before the decision, Pakistan’s political scene was hazy but it seems clear now. Now, everyone knows that General Kayani would continue as COAS till 2013.” Showering praise on Kayani’s leadership, the Daily writes, “General Kayani never looked at the seat of power. Time and again, he made it clear to the nation that he is pro-democracy and wants to see the democracy prospering in the country.” The Daily suggest the government of Pakistan to focus on addressing peoples issues after this “farsighted decision.”
Nawa-e- Waqt, editorial, July 24, 2010
Commenting on the decision, the Nawa-e- Waqt Urdu Daily writes, “There are no two opinions that General Kayani is a truly professional General and by keeping the army away from politics wants to limit army’s role to its professional commitments.” The Daily stops short of criticising the decision and tries to convey its reservations using remarks expressed by others. It says, “Certain sections have opined that the decision of extension in Kayani’s service will block the promotion of other meritorious officers and keeping this in mind, the Army Chief should not have accepted the extension but the Prime Minister may have taken this decision keeping the country’s interest in mind.” However, the paper clearly conveys the message that there would be pressure on him from the US to extend the military operation to North Waziristan and then to South Punjab. “This issue would undoubtedly be a tough challenge for General Kayani. If General Kayani does not extend the area of military operations and ends it in the existing locations, he will become a national hero, because this is what the people want. Other wise the reaction of the nation may go against him,” writes the Daily.
It also opines that “the foremost challenge General Kayani faces is US-India nexus which is posing danger to Pakistan’s security.” India is behaving like a mad elephant after acquiring military and defence equipments from the US and is seeking ploys like Mumbai attacks to crush Pakistan. General Kayani should be ready to counter any aggression and should boost Pakistani armed forces’ moral which would not happen by participating in US’s war in the region, suggests the Daily.
Mashriq, editorial, July 24, 2010
Joining the chorus of praise for Kayanii, the Mashriq Urdu Daily writes, “We understand that General Kayani assumed the services at a critical juncture when the terrorists had challenged the writ of the government especially in Swat and Malakand division. After taking command, General Kayani not only wiped out terrorists but also eliminated all those misperceptions that were created about the military during the Musharraf regime.” The Daily also adds that General Kayani established himself as foresighted military leader when his proposal regarding tackling terrorism in Afghanistan was accepted by the international community during Brussels conference. Seen in this context, extension was an appreciable decision as it was the need of the hour. It is hoped that General Kayani will prove this to be a good decision by offering his services as a military leader.
The Azkar Urdu Daily has taken a middle path in its editorial on the issue of Kayani’s extension. It says, “In principle, there should be no extension of any government servant. This is a wrong policy which was started by dictators and it blocks the promotion of all those who are on lower ranks and generates despair among them.” The Daily however, adds that “this policy should not be very rigid and should be flexible if it is necessary for governance. In some unprecedented circumstances extension may be given. But in this case it is not possible to predict that it was a good decision. Whether this decision is right or wrong, only history would judge.”
Opinion Column, Ausaf, July 24, 2010
Opposition to Kayani’s extension has come only from a small section of Pakistani journalists. Columnist Sarfaraz Syed observes in Ausaf Urdu Daily, “This extension could have been better, had it happened before visits by US secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and other American officials. Hillary’s visit and announcement of extension after that has opened up a debate.” Prime Minister Gilani made a three minutes address to the nation and gave him three years extension. Had he made five minutes speech, Kayani could have got five years extension, quips Sarfaraz.
Opinion Column, Jang, July 25, 2010
However, another columnist Abbas Mehkarai presents a counterargument. He writes in Jang Urdu Daily, “Some people are presenting the hypothesis that decision to extend the tenure of Kayani has been taken under the US pressure. But the US State Department has explained time and again that this is Pakistan’s internal matter. It is unfortunate that those who present the hypothesis are ignoring the professional capabilities (of Kayani) and forget that Pakistan is fighting a war which is extremely complex.”
Opinion Column, Ausaf, July 24, 2010
Yet another journalist Khurshid Nadeem writes on the issue in Ausaf Urdu Daily that it may be “the need of the hour” but the extension has “jolted the process of strengthening of democratic institutions and its supremacy” in Pakistan. He says no doubt Kayani has tried to close the widening gap between the people and the military. But “the problem is not individual but the institutions and the institutions are not formed with dependence on individuals.” He writes further that it is argued that General Kayani made the war on terror successful. But the government had been claiming earlier that it is the civilian government which made it successful. In a democratic set up, decisions are taken by the leadership elected by people. Different institutions of the state execute the strategies formulated by the leadership for which it accepts the failure or success. If any one is fighting war against terrorism, it should be attributed to the elected government. Now the Prime Minister has himself confirmed that the credit of success goes to Kayani. The democratically elected governments do not behave this manner.
A majority of people have backed the government’s decision of Kayani’s extension. In backdrop of the announcement by Prime Minister Gilani, the Asas Urdu Daily tried to assess people’s opinion on the subject. A whopping majority of 7618 respondents approved the decision while 2618 respondents expressed that they are against it.
Q. Is Government’s decision to extend Kayani’s tenure right? (Poll conducted on 24 July 2010)