Islamabad: Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani's speech on institutions working within their constitutional sphere is baffling since "few institutions have so damagingly strayed beyond their mandate and encroached on the turf of other institutions as has the Pakistan Army", a leading Pakistani daily said Wednesday.
An editorial in Dawn said that no one will argue with the principles that institutions should operate within their constitutional and legal spheres and the law should be applied equally to all.
"But it was an odd messenger and occasion for this particular message Monday: Gen Kayani speaking at a ceremony commemorating Martyrs' Day.
"Perhaps the army chief also had in mind the army high command when he was advising all institutions to accept their constitutional limits and that would be a good and proper message from the army chief."
The daily, however, said that "lecturing about the proper constitutional limits of other institutions may be a lesson too far for the country to digest at this juncture in its history. For few institutions have so consistently and damagingly strayed beyond their mandate and encroached on the turf of other institutions as has the Pakistan Army".
The daily noted that the very fact that the country is going through a tenuous transition of democracy over the past four years has everything to do with a former army chief, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who Gen. Kayani worked closely with.
"...perhaps what is required is less preaching and more self-reflection from the institution that Gen. Kayani heads," it said.
It also observed the "the relative absence of any reference to the internal threat from militancy and why it is necessary for Pakistan to fight that fight".
"Legitimate as many of Pakistan's complaints against the outside world are, what is also keeping the country mired in controversy and insecurity are the threats that have proliferated internally.
"For those internal threats to be defeated, an honest reckoning of who and what they are must be made," the editorial said.
Calling for all institutions in Pakistan to have "a great deal of self-reflection and rethinking for the country's trajectory to improve", it said: "The political class in particular needs serious overhaul."
"Equally, however, Pakistan's problem has long been some institutions trying to do the job of others. That must change."