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Civilians V Soldiers In Pakistan

Discussion in 'South Asia & SAARC' started by VCheng, Nov 11, 2016.

  1. VCheng

    VCheng RIDER GEO STRATEGIC ANALYST

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    This is the real story behind the ups and downs with India these days:

    http://www.economist.com/news/asia/...cious-little-power-army-general-consternation

    Civilians v soldiers in Pakistan
    General consternation
    Nawaz Sharif has clawed back precious little power from the army

    [​IMG]
    No mere prime minister

    DIPLOMATS call it Pakistan’s forthcoming “transition of power”. They don’t mean a change of government, but rather the appointment of a new army chief. The incumbent, Raheel Sharif, is due to retire on November 29th. What would be a humdrum appointment in most other countries is a rare moment when the civilian government has the whip hand over Pakistan’s overbearing army. The institution that dictates the country’s policies on defence, foreign affairs and, to a large extent, internal security is not used to awaiting decisions by politicians. Yet the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif (no relation to Raheel) will have his pick, probably from one of four senior generals.

    For the army, the prime minister is a dubious figure. He swept into office in an electoral landslide in 2013, determined to reduce the army’s clout. His previous two stints in power had both been cut short by the army: in 1993, when it demanded new elections, and in 1999, when the army chief of the day, Pervez Musharraf, took power in a coup. Mr Sharif also wanted to befriend India, a country most military folk regard as Pakistan’s eternal enemy but which the businessman in Mr Sharif sees as an obvious trading partner.

    Mr Sharif has sparred with the army throughout his tenure. A month after his election he took the bold step of ordering Mr Musharraf to be tried for treason. In 2014, when GeoTV, part of a broadly pro-government media empire, accused a branch of the army of attempting to assassinate its most famous journalist, Mr Sharif rushed to the injured man’s bedside. For a year Mr Sharif resisted pressure from General Sharif to launch an operation to seize back control of North Waziristan, a tribal region completely overrun by gun-toting Islamists.

    Yet all these spats ended with a surrender from Mr Sharif. An excuse was eventually found to let Mr Musharraf skip the country; GeoTV was taken off air for a spell and the army went ahead with its North Waziristan campaign. Operation Zarb-e-Azb, as it was called, led to a fall in terrorism and helped turn General Sharif into the most popular army chief in history.

    The latest bust-up followed the leak of details of a meeting in October between the generals and the government, amid a flare-up on the Indian border following incursions by militants from Pakistan. The resulting front-page story claimed that the country’s spy chief, General Rizwan Akhtar, was told to stop protecting armed groups who use Pakistan as a base for assaults in Afghanistan and India. The longstanding policy was leading to Pakistan’s international isolation, said the civilians quoted in the report in the Dawn, the country’s most reputable paper. Mr Sharif’s staff was assumed to have leaked the story.

    The army denied the allegations but also declared the story a “breach of national security”. The generals have refused to attend further security meetings in the prime minister’s office until the matter is cleared up, officials say.
    In a panicked response, the government first banned the journalist responsible from leaving the country, only to backtrack amid an international outcry. On October 29th the information minister, Pervaiz Rasheed, resigned—although he denied being the source of the story. A leak inquiry continues, and most observers believe the army won’t be satisfied until more heads roll.

    Mr Sharif will continue to defy the army where he can. He has not yielded to its demand for formal powers to conduct counter-terrorist operations in Punjab, Mr Sharif’s home province and political base. The paramilitary Rangers, however, were unleashed on Karachi’s criminal gangs in 2013 and later started targeting corrupt politicians as well.

    The next army chief will probably stick to General Sharif’s policies of cracking down on domestic militants and seeking to constrain the civilian government’s room for manoeuvre. General Sharif has insisted that he does not want an extension of his term. Some of the prime minister’s allies doubt that. The last time an army chief retired after serving out the specified three-year term was two decades ago. The precedent set by making sure General Sharif steps down as scheduled would be a small step in the right direction.

    From the print edition: Asia
     
    IndiranChandiran and Inactive like this.
  2. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    Somehow this got missed.
     
  3. VCheng

    VCheng RIDER GEO STRATEGIC ANALYST

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    It is worth a discussion, in my view.
     
    Inactive likes this.
  4. Proxy1234

    Proxy1234 FULL MEMBER

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    In my view, Pakistan is a case where nothing is under control.
    Be its army (coups), its terrorists (bad terrorists), its government (only corruption), its diaspora (Rotherham scandal), its general population (increased support for extremists), etc.

    For any system to work, the units have to be in line and never overstep it. Not so the case with Pakistan.

    In India, its the opposite case! Its Army is underutilized (repeated calls for strong response from Army), its diaspora is under utilized (brain drain), its general population's skill is underutilized (out of job working age youths), etc.

    India should learn some things, lol! At least utilize to near full potential in a positive sense.
     
    IndiranChandiran likes this.

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