RealNews

Pakistan Struggles to Put Army on Moderate Course

At the Pakistan Military Academy, the atmosphere fairly reeks of the British Raj: the cricket field, the polo ponies, the high-ceilinged mess hall with its turbaned waiters and white linen tablecloths. “We observe all the British traditions except the toast,” Lt. Col. Saadat Saeed Bhutta says proudly. “And we say, ‘Bismillah’ ” — In the name of God — at the start of every meal. But the alcohol ban and the traditional Islamic blessing aren’t the only departure from British ways. The emphasis on religion is hard to miss. At the main entrance to the academy, an Arabic-lettered sign proclaims: “Victory Awaits Those Who Have Faith in God.” Fallen war heroes are honored in a “Martyrs’ Gallery.” The curriculum includes a six-month course in Islamic studies. “Our basic route is Islam,” says Manan Abdul, 20, an army officer’s son from Punjab province who will soon graduate from the academy as a second lieutenant. “When we have to command, when we have to make decisions, for that we have a role model: the prophet, peace be upon him.” Full Story

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