Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://prr.hec.gov.pk/jspui/handle/123456789/9089
Title: CIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS DURING THE ZARDARI REGIME (2008-2012) IN PAKISTAN: INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL FACTORS
Authors: Akhtar, Nasreen
Keywords: Social Sciences
International relations
Politics and international relations
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan
Abstract: In the background of four military interventions in Pakistan’s politics and the emergence of security establishment as a centre of power within the structure of the state, this study explores civil-military relation in the post-military regime (2008-2012). Unlike in the past, we witness that a weak and unpopular civilian government of Zardari, despite facing many challenges, survived and completed its tenure for the first time in the history of the country. The central question we address is how it became possible? Was it due to the structural changes in the society or on account of self-assessment of the military leadership of its role essentially as professional soldiers to provide security to the country? Actually, it is an expansive definition of national security that has brought the military into politics besides imbalance in the power of the military and the civilian sectors. For that reason, the self-reassessment is not what it seems would chart a new course for the military rather it provided the post-Musharraf civilian government led by Zardari, a space to flourish, watched its performance, orientations and handling of national security. What is evident in this case study is that while the military watched its interests carefully, protected its influence over national security and critical foreign relations, at the same time it allowed the Zardari regime to complete its tenure. While combating the internal and external challenges and efforts to complete its tenure, the Zardari-led regime made a history in two important aspects. First, as indicated earlier, it completed its tenure of full five years, the term of the Parliament. Second, it transferred power to its rival party, the PML-N when the later won majority in the 2013 elections. There were several internal and external factors that supported transition to democracy and its consolidation in Pakistan. Among many internal factors, foremost is a consensus among the political parties to support each other and continue to promote democracy by developing mutual consensus to not provide the military any opportunity to divide them and carve out factional support for its intervention. Other than mutual consensus among political parties, there have been other positive changes in the society such as assertion of independent judiciary, emergence of free media and its proliferation, and the rise of the civil society committed to democratic rule, kept the military away from ousting the civilian government despite its corruption and poor governance. On the other hand, we see the military spreading out on several fronts in the country due to many internal security challenges with terrorism on the top of list along with insurgency in Balochistan and the proliferation of sectarian and Jihadi organisation connected with transnational radical Islamic movements. There was an image problem for the military as well. Musharraf’s decision to align Pakistan with the US in War on Terror and use of the military power to eradicate groups that were once the allies of the state in Afghanistan was not popular, at least with the religious sections of the society. The overthrow of a popular political government of Nawaz Sharif when his party enjoyed two-third majority, humiliating treatment of the judiciary and unnecessary use of force in Balochistan had badly tarnished the image of the armed forces. However, the post-Musharraf military institution developed its consensus to restore their positive image by not overthrowing civilian government. Externally, the United States, a close ally and partner with a history of working closely with the military establishment of Pakistan, thought a democratic government with moderate credentials’ like the PPP would be a better choice than a pure military government in extending support in Afghanistan and on the War on Terror. It indirectly and directly restrained the military from takeover. However, the civilian government and its own residual power in the political structure of Pakistan allowed the military to exercise more than adequate influence over national security and foreign policy. On the other hand, we see pragmatic approach of the PPP in allowing the military to determine choices for national security after realising that it was futile to bring the security establishment including the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) under the civilian control. Zardari’s attempts in the beginning to do so were tardy, unwise, and likely to fail, as he did. We see an emergence of new pattern in civil-military relations in Pakistan which rested on granting the military a dominance influence on national security and critical foreign relations, including Afghanistan and India policies. The civilians have differed greatly with the military on many of these issues but have not pushed the matter to the extent that the military establishment would react. This pattern of civil-military relationship tells a lot about the power of the military which it has retained even when not in power. Other than many conflicting factors, Memogate was the most triggering factor between the civilian and military leadership but a coup was avoided and the army kept its prestige.
URI:  http://prr.hec.gov.pk/jspui/handle/123456789//9089
Appears in Collections:PhD Thesis of All Public / Private Sector Universities / DAIs.

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