Evoloution Of Pakistan Army And Civil Military Relationship History Essay

The Pakistan military is the most political influential institution in the country which gained its superlative identity in the statehood soon after the birth of the nation. The reason for the prolonged military control relates to the weakened political system and identity crisis within the state. Pakistan has witnessed a roller coaster ride wherein military played the role of a political arbiter and the guardian of the country’s security, sovereignty and ideology. The combination of military dominance and the strong political leadership has nurtured praetorianism in the country. `

2. Today, Pakistan’s military is a central actor in many of pressing security challenges which it is facing from diverse forces. In recent years the military has been asked to simultaneously combat a vicious internal insurgency, suppress international terrorist groups, and respond to much larger rival in one of the most strategically complex regions in the world. To understand the Pakistan army it is important to analyse how the Pakistan army has evolved


over the years. How its political ambition grew to a point of no return and its association with its civil counterparts.

Evolution of Pakistan Army

3. Initiation to Power 1947-58. The death of founding father Jinnah led Pakistan to be devoid of leadership to set the country on the right course. The time from 1947 to 1958 saw seven Prime Ministers and eight cabinets coming into power. Pakistan civil bureaucrats turned politicians chose to partner with military to smoothly achieve their political objectives. To make itself more relevant for the state the military in turn strengthened itself institutionally by enhancing its control over defence and foreign affairs. This power shift gave rise to political conflicts and disturb in the cicvil military equilibrium which finally ended in the first takeover by Army in 1958 by Gen Ayub Khan.

4. Rise of the Army 1958-71. The period saw Army establishing itself as the key political force. The Pakistan Army under Ayub Khan sought parity with civil bureaucracy and started playing larger than life roles in affairs of the country. The regime also enhanced the scope of the military’s corporate interests by presenting great incentives such as awarding land to officers and jawans and providing them with jobs in military run industries [1] . 1969 saw Ayub Khan being replaced by Yahya Khan who had to unceremoniously withdraw due to the humiliating defeat suffered by Pakistan in 1971.

5. The Days of Consolidation 1971-77. On 16 Dec 1971 Pakistan’s military commander in East Pakistan surrendered to Indian forces which gave birth to new state of


Bangladesh. This led to loss of prestige of Pakistan Army which eventually resulted in temporarily withdrawal of army from politics and facilitating transfer of power to Bhutto. Bhutto tried to bring in strategic changes in management of the Army. He created the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, strengthened the MoD by bringing the three services under administrative control , granted the prime minister the position of supreme commander of the armed forces and made all the service chiefs equal in status. He also tried to control the growth of military’s commercial ventures which curtailed the financial autonomy of military. Bhutto also tried to politicize the Army and use it as an instrument to meet his objectives, Gen Gul Hassan khan tried to discourage him from doing so [2] . Bhuttos use of military as instrument of power led to unrest among the top ranks who could foresee the damage being caused to the organizational norms and ethos of Army. As a result the army once again moved to seize control of the state in 1977.

6. Bhutto’s loss of power and later his death by army was an end of era which was earmarked in more than one way. Firstly, the military coup led to an end of the civil government rule. Secondly, the takeover had overthrown the first elected government and thirdly it led to change in the fundamental character of the forces. The military underwent a transition in approach from a ruler to parent – guardian type in coming years.

7. Gen Zia Coercive Military Rule 1977-88. Known for its oppression and human right violation the military comeback took draconian measures to wipe out populism in the countrycreated by Bhutto. The regime of Gen Mohd Zia Ul Haq use coercive measure which



Killing of an elected prime minister through a sham legal trial.

Suspending fundamental right granted by the constitution.

Banning labour and student unions.

Media was bought under scanner by amending Pakistan Penal Code with objective of prosecuting newspaper editors for publishing anti regime journals.

Cracking down on all public protests.

8. The GHQ co-opted the religious parties to establish its control over the civil society. The years of religious penetration in armed forces saw religious ethos becoming SOPs for the army. Religious education was introduced in military training and all commanders were to ensure that prayers were offered by all ranks and officers. In 1985 Eighth amendment Article 52(2)(b) to the constitution was carried out which replaced President as the supreme commander of forces and vested in him the power to dismiss the parliament. Democracy was restored in 1988 as a result of general elections which were necessitated by death of Zia in a mysterios plane crash in Aug 88.

9. Democratic Era 1988-99. The period saw an advent of unstable democracy which came to prominence due to quick succession of government. The military tweaked the political setup every two years when it witnessed the government challenging the authority of military. The frequent change of government was a classical example of ‘divide and rule’ game played by the GHQ. The mil intelligence nurtured as ISI during Zia’s time played a key role in encouraging the divisions between then various political leaders. Military during this era


facilitated existence of various political leaders by supporting them one at a time to sustain its own power base.

10. Days of Consolidation (Phase II) 1999-2005. The period saw the end of civilian power and return of military into the mainstream. Def establishments also consolidated their position by additional legal and constitutional provisions thereby minimizing attempts by civilian authorities to establish their dominance. Nawaz Sharif brokered peace talks and eventually Lahore Declaration was to be signed however the military was on a tangent and gave way to Kargil crisis which demonstrated the underlying tension between the civilian and military authorities. Musharraf gained power ousting Nawaz Sharif with support of his Corps commanders. In 2004, The Musharraf government again started peace talks with India but only after taking the military into confidence that the step is part of strategy to secure the country’s larger interests.

11. After the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington DC, Musharraf agreed to be a full partner in the so-called ‘Global War on Terror. His joining the GWT earned him criticism in the fundamentalist lobby. Under Musharraf’s rule, militants gained increased control of the FATA on Pakistan’s western border and the Taliban regrouped themselves in Quetta. Operations against Al qaeda resulted in heavy military casualties and series of peace deal were signed, which did not survived to see another day.

12. Regime Change 2007-Present. Discontent with Musharraf ‘s rule reached a crisis point in March 2007 when he dismissed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Ashfaq Parvez


Kayani replaced him as COAS. Following Musharraf ‘s departure, General Kayani embarked on an effort to restore the military’s image. He removed many officers from the civil administration and, at least initially, distanced the military from politics. His leadership while fighting the Taliban in SWAT Valley and FATA helped the military garner significant popular support, which was evident from an unusual three-year extension as COAS.

13. It is imp to note that the events of September 11 changed the dynamics of military – Islamist relationship due to active participation of military in the GWT. This internal war will actually decide the future of Pakistan and the army’s role in it. The military is on a path of change under an able leadership which is evident from the changing mindset of army leaders. In his address marking the army’s Youm-E-Shahada Gen Kayani said that “The country’s constitution has clearly defined the responsibilities and functions of national institutions and it is incumbent on them to perform their duties within constitutional limits”. [3] At another instance while addressing a flag hoisting ceremony on the eve of 65th Independence day of the country at PMA Kakul, Kayani said that “it is the most difficult job for any army to fight against its people but the army is keen to eliminate elements working against the interests of the country. The COAS further said that all people are responsible for the mistakes made in past but now its the time to join hands and work together for a better future of the country”.

14. Kayani as the Chief is likely to set the nation on the right course but the weak polical leadership does not gurantee a chance for the same. As of now Kayani will be a silent spectator of the ongoing affairs of the state and will let the civil government do the talking under his close


supervision thereby giving a sense of democratism to the outside world, however his prime aim will be to control the internal sit and lift the morale of the forces.

Civil Military Relationship

 14. Pakistan is one country that has witnessed a strong military presence since it came into existence. The reason for unstability in the country is primarily due to a chary relationship between the military and the civil. Unlike other nation which ensured that to maintain the supremacy of the democratic form of government the military should be kept at bay, Pakistan civil government in the formative years used military for political gains, which eventually paid back when military encroached into government affairs. Pakistan civil leadership could never muster enough strength to bring military under its control and over the years the military gained strength and portrayed itself as the only institution capable of securing Pakistan against multitude of domestic and external threats. With each successive coup, Pakistan’s civilian structure became more dysfunctional and army , with its ever expanding network of corporate financial and political interests and beneficiaries even more entrenched.

15. The Parent-Guardian Military Type Pakistan can be classified as ‘The Parent-Guardian Military Type’ civil military relationship where the Armed forces are known for institutionalizing their political power through constitutional / legal provisions. In such a relationship the military is able to set out these changes with the help of civil government which is dependent on them for their survival. The constitutional / legal reforms are carried out in such a way that they endorse the larger than life role of military which places the military as equal partner in the national affairs.


16. The overbearing role of the Pakistan army on their civil counterparts has led the army to have great economic interest who have beneficiaries in firstly, army as an institution, secondly subsidiary institutions like the Fauji Foundation(FF), Army Welfare Trust(AWT), Shaheen Foundation and Bahria Foundation(BF) and thirdly the individuals who comprise the top brass of the Pakistan Army. Pakistan’s Milbus [4] is a complex organization and its beginning coincided with military moving into political front, over the years this has created the big divide in the civil – military relationship due to military having stakes in the agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors and military indirectly controlling the economic affairs of the state.

17. The combined political and economic influence of the armed forces has a huge socio-political and economic cost. Today, the Pakistani military is deeply involved in the political, economic and social spheres of the nation. The army has become the fourth pillar of the state and it decides the nature and direction of Pakistan’s polity. It would be difficult to reverse this trend. The trio of President Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani and COAS Gen ashfaq kayani is running the country with Kayani having the upper hand in management of external and internal affairs. It illustrates that the military will continue to play a decisive role and remain a pivot in the power structure of Pakistan.




“Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way:

Stop participating in it.”

Noam Chomsky

Emergence of Fault Lines

1. It is very hard to comment as to when Pakistan embarked on the journey which has led it to its present state of crisis and being termed as a near real failed state. Born out of one identity, what seems evident is that the choice each nation made at every juncture has bought them to a position where they stand today totally from contrast with each other. India on one hand is boasting of with its economic success and democratic set up while on the other hand Pakistan is going through the worst face ever with internal strife, standoff between its military and political elite and a burgeoning economic setup. There are numerous reasons which have prevented Pakistan from stabilizing and becoming a cohesive state. This chapter will highlight the contributing factors for emerging fault lines within Pakistan state.

Failed Democracy

2. The Constitution of Pakistan represents a compromise consensus on three issues: the role of Islam, the sharing of power between the federal government and the provinces, and the division of responsibilities between the President and the Prime Minister, with a greatly strengthened position for the latter. Various political leaders have interpreted the constitution


their own way and carried out amendments from time to time to suit their advantages. The experiment with democracy failed in the initial ten years when Gen Ayub Khan seized power. The failure of Pakistan elite to establish a coherent national identity by a democratic setup which could have united the nation over all these years has been a contributing factor for the chaos in the country. The political setup of Pakistan could never stand up to the expectations of the public and economic progress, infrastructure development, socio cultural development took a backstage. Throughout this period Islamic fundamentalist and ISI nexus alongwith an unreliable government were instrumental in managing internal and external policies of the state.

Pakistan National Security Paradigm

3. Pakistan is divided by the fact whether it is to remain India centric, as determined by the military or adopt an alternative vision as advocated by civil society and the progressive political elite. In the military’s view Pakistan is constantly under threat by external enemies in particular India, for this very reason it maintains a large army and a mass of nuclear weapons. Pakistani actually spend 17% on development purpose (Education, Infrastructure, Healthcare) and 26% on defense with no accountability for the later. The military also controls the foreign policy, national security and key economic sectors. Such an interference by the military has been possible by lack of an authoritarian and an accountable government in Pakistan which has led the military to divert the nationalistic view towards a false propaganda of envisaged threat by India.

Islamic Fundamentalism

4. Pakistan is an ‘ideological state’, and its ideology is based on Islam. Religious sentiments have been used by Pakistan as an instrument of internal politics by mobilizing public opinion or use indoctrinated youth as militants as its state policy against India. The


Pakistan army first used religion to mobilize tribesman in 1947-48 and they assaulted waves in waves on Indian position with maulvis issuing fatwas for the same. Study of Islam and its practice became the order of the day during Gen Ayub’s tenure and further in Gen Zia Ul Haq tenure wherein Islam was introduced into the legal and educational system. During the course as was being imparted in the educational curriculum, the history of Pakistan was transformed from an independence struggle incorporating Hindu- Muslim unity to mere birth of an Islamic state in the subcontinent.

5. Today Pakistan has become a dangerous state that uses Islamic militants, jihadi groups, non-state actors to pursue its defense and state policies. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism which was propped by the elite section of society and later by ISI have today become a nuisance for the state itself. It is to be understood that Islamic fundamentalism is a reactionary, non-scientific movement aimed at returning society to a centuries-old social set-up, defying all material and historical factors. It is an attempt to roll back the wheel of history [5] . It is to be understood that fundamentalism finds its roots in the backwardness of society, social deprivation, a low level of consciousness, poverty and ignorance and these all parameters fit very well on Pakistan. It is important for Pakistan to realize that if it could achieve peace with its neighbours and control the situation within the state with an iron fist it would ensure stability in the region and progress for itself.

Ethnic Groups

6. The complex ethno cultural setup in Pakistan is another factor for unstability in the state. The lack of consensus and ability to find a working political balance between these groups has led to failure of Pakistan’s political system. Punjab province which contributes maximum to politics and army is the most ethnically homogeneous province. It is also the second largest


province and accommodates 60% of the population of Pakistan. The Baluch, Sindhis and Pashtuns have always felt marginalized due to overpowering nature of Punjabis. In provinces other than Punjab the infrastructure and socio economic development is far behind and the community residing in these provinces are devoid of basic needs like water and electricity. Now the reason for them being left out is clear, the politico military elite hails from Punjab and therefore all the development gets diverted towards only one province i.e Punjab. Absence of a nationalistic trade network has led these communities to suffer by abstaining them to join mainstream and manage a livelihood for themselves which has resulted in a big divide and these people rising against the government.

Abetting Terrorism

7. The Pakistan army has been assisting Afghan groups such as the Quetta Shura located in Quetta, Balochistan and the Haqqani network located in North Waziristan. Moreover, the opinion of military analysts in Pakistan to use Afghanistan to provide strategic depth allows the Afghan Taliban enjoying material and financial support by the ISI to maintain influence over Afghanistan post withdrawal of ISAF. Pakistan’s India centric approach and its conventional un-equality with India, led Pakistan’s ISI to promote terrorist organisations such as the LeT, JuM, and HuM. The concept of abetting terrorism as a state policy to seek parity with India has paid dividends but Indian defence forces has controlled the situation as on today and involvement of Pakistan in intense CI on its own front has led Pakistan to rethink of this asset which is likely to


endanger their survival. Continuous support to Afghan Taliban has led US to realign its policies and stop the aid which is being used against US forces itself. This is likely to further deteriorate the economy.

8. Pakistan has to rethink of of these terrorist organizations which were once termed as ‘strategic asset’ by one of Pakistani general as in future they might not conform to what the Pakistan seeks of them. Pakistan Army will have to realign its policies to deal with these organization now, merely launching operations against the Pakistan Taliban or the TNSM cannot eradicate terrorism from Pakistan as all these organizations are interlinked. For a better tomorrow army and ISI needs to realign its effort in one direction i.e in tackling with these organization otherwise it will be a long drawn war straining the Pakistan Army in counter insurgency operation in own land.

Radicalization Of Armed Forces

9. The radicalization of Armed Forces is an expression of growing fundamentalism in Pakistani society. Salman Taseer’s assassination and its aftermath have busted the myth of a silent liberal majority in Pakistan. The manner in which most sections of the society reacted to his assassination clearly indicated that the balance in Pakistani society and media has shifted in favour of extremist and propagators of Islamic fundamentalism. The armed forces constitute the same section of society who are exposed to fundamentalism, therefore they are bound to reflect these biases in their action and thinking. The lower ranks in the armed forces of Pakistan are


not too happy with the ongoing counter insurgency operations on its soil and there is a growing resentments in the lines. Most of them believe that the Global War on Terrorism is war of the United States and Pakistan is being dragged into it and therefore have growing reservations whether they should participate or not.

10. It is anticipated that radicalization might adversely affect Pakistan in three distinct ways. Firstly, growing radicalization might influence large section of Army who were deeply involved in past and saw it as a culture in armed forces. Secondly, this situation might escalate and lead to a like minded group defecting from the army and seizing control. Thirdly, the international unanimous opinion after the attack on PNS Mehran is that government personnel may provide terrorists with nuclear materials, know-how, or perhaps even fully constructed nuclear weapons. [6] All above factors are likely to endanger future of Pakistan, it is, therefore, imperative to review the current strategies and policies to evolve a strategy to stem this influence that is likely to drag Pakistan deeper into a muddle of violence and volatility in the years ahead.

Way Ahead

11. Role of military in Pakistan society is un-debatable and till now no government has been able to take charge of the situation. The above fault lines are some of them which have to be


addressed with firmness and dedication by both military and the political elite. It needs to be remembered that not addressing the societal fault line in 1971 led to disintegration of Pakistan. Pakistan military is the only disciplined force who has the wherewithal to control the deteriorating situation but its rule has also lacked involvement. It is to be remembered that these factors have to be addressed simultaneously and military also has to capture the reverse trendz within its organization and control insurgency within a stipulated time frame. The army has already realized these causative factors and has already intensified its operations in FATA and SWAT with firmness. Recently in a meeting chaired by General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and senior military officers said “We refuse to bow before terror. We will fight, regardless of the cost, we will prevail ” this was widely interpreted as a signal from the army to Taliban that it was finally ready to take them on. A top general also said: “The situation is ripe, people are themselves asking for operation in North Waziristan.” [7] 




State of Crisis

1. Pakistan Army retains its elan and professionalism and is one responsible for Pakistan still surviving the present crisis. It believes itself to be the guardian of the state and also holds the means to enforce this belief. As on today there exists many challenges for the Pakistan Army which incorporate both internal and external threats and the army has to deal with these causative factors which are likely to destabilize the state. There also exist numerous factors which hold importance for stability in the region and need undivided attention of the elites of Pakistan itself which are as follows:-

(a) Pakistan is a nuclear weapon state and has a bad record for proliferation, ensuring security of its arsenals and ensuring security of technology.

(b) Pakistan’s state policy of abetting terrorism is likely to spread the jihadist culture in South and South – East Asia.


(c) Identity crisis with its neighbor i.e. India.

(d) Stagnating Pakistan economy which is dependent on foreign aids.

(e) Misplaced priorities of Army.

2. The Pakistan Army holds the key for bailing the nation out of the crisis and a unified approach taken by the state today will show results tomorrow. This chapter will discuss the challenges being faced by Pakistan Army.

Counterinsurgency in Pakistan

3. Pakistan’s stint in dealing with counterinsurgency does not speaks of a successful military operation. Its first exposure to deal with counterinsurgency dates back to 1971 in East Pakistan when it dealt against the Mukti Bahini without much success and secondly when just after two years it was called to undertake crisis in Balochistan against balochi nationalist seeking independence from Pakistan. However inspite of these failures at its homeland it has been notorious enough to spread insurgency in Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan Army for last decade has been involved in quelling insurgency in FATA, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunwala. It is to be noted that the adversary in these cases are the ones which were nurtured by ISI over the years and now these have resolved to teach Pakistan a lesson.

4. Present State. In terms of major armed conflicts witnessed in Pakistan, FATA is the most violent region followed by Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KP). In FATA most


attacks took place in Khyber agency followed by Muhammad and Kurram agency. Following are noticeable deductions of the prevalent counterinsurgency situation in Pakistan. [8] 

(a) Areas of Muhammad and Khurram agencies are becoming the most violent regions because of the presence of the TTP and the Operation being launched by Pakistan Army.

(b) North and South Waziristan, which used to be the most violent region, witnessed only about a hundred attacks.

(c) The attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkwa are concentrated more on Peshawar because of the location being the central power hub of Khyber Pakhtunwala.

Source: Brookings Institution Pakistan Index http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Programs/foreign%20policy/pakistan%20index/index20111229.PDF


(d) There is a substantial decrease in drone attacks by the US, and the drone strikes are concentrated mostly on North and South Waziristan (70 out of 75 drone attacks).

(e) The suicide attacks have witnessed a substantial decrease.

(f) North and South Waziristan have become the new base for the Haqqani network. This may explain the concentration of the US drone attacks.

(g) Different factions of the Taliban like the Haqqani network, TTP, Punjabi Taliban and the Quetta Shura have come together to target US led forces instead of Pakistan.

(h) There is a reduction of sectarian violence in Khurram and Khyber agency but sectarian violence has increased in Karachi and Quetta.

(j) The Pakistani Army is clear on the fact that the Haqqani network should not be attacked as the Haqqanis are more important than the Quetta Shura as Pakistan believes that they can play an important role in the power sharing after the departure of the ISAF in 2014.

5. Pakistan Army has been involved in long torn operations since 2001 and has been stretched to its limits. After carrying out shift in its strategy of conduct of operations under the leadership of Gen Kayani since 2009 its army has succeeded in controlling the escalating situation to some extent. The army needs to capture, hold and build to ensure military supremacy in the region and induct tribals in the mainstream and ensure employment for the youth.


Internal threats

6. Secessionists Separatist Movements. Separatist movements have long threatened the Pakistani state and held a special significance for the armed forces. The secession of East Pakistan in war of 1971 was a trigger for beginning of secessionist movements in Pakistan state. The military lost its credibility against its citizens due to a humiliating defeat .The after effects of 1971 war and then the long-simmering insurgency in Balochistan,has made army sensitive to any kind of a separatist movement.

7. Pashtunistan and Balochistan. Afghanistan’s claim to territory across the Durand line is another area of concern which has not been resolved till date. Pakistan’s support to mujahedeen’s during the soviet invasion, was motivated by Pakistan’s desire to support Pashtun leaders whose aspirations were limited to Afghanistan, in contrast to those who call for a so-called “greater Pashtunistan” in uniting tribes divided by the current borders. The idea of Pashtunistan and similar voices from independence of Balochistan have to be met with a well chalked out plan to prevent balkanisation of Pakistan.

Economic Conditions

8. It would be thought as to how economy of a nation can be a challenge to the army, therefore it needs to be understood that economy is mother of all issues out of which stem other


issues which are likely to effect the military directly or indirectly. Pakistan ranks in the bottom 20 out of the world’s economies and the economic analysts in Pakistan are worried that the economic unstability will be another factor joining Pakistan’s pervasive insurgency and unreliable political setup as another serious threat to the country’s constancy. The International Monetary Fund has confirmed that Pakistan’s economic situation was worsening and faces a return to double-digit inflation as the government prints money to finance its deficit. [9] The economy of Pakistan will be the prime mover in many of its future endeavours to be taken by army or the civil government be it the modernization prog

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