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Civil-military imbalance — Past and present

29 1 4

M Tahir Iqbal

EVER since this democratic set-up took up the keys of parliament with an impression to steer the ship of democracy, there have evermore been angry voices as to the hidden hand of the third power impeding the way, or the umpire’s finger, or vividly the establishment. By establishment, we mean our army. Much similar angst had been the repeated mantra of the last PPP regime where you find the PM Gillani oddly blurting out ‘state within a state’. Thus the dialogue ‘conspiracy against democracy’ becomes the most common cliché in our political jargon. To reassure the phobia, COAS Gen Bajwa, of late, came forward and appeared before the Senate to calm down the perceptions developed in the backdrop of some recent judicial verdicts. He vehemently urged the legislators to carve out foreign and defence policies and pledged that the army would follow. He was candid enough to enjoin upon the senators not to exacerbate the general environment creating opportunity for the army to interfere.
Confused: who conspires? The general public opinion supports army as a credible institution of country and the same perception does not give that much weight to the credibility of the politicians. In all circumstances, the truth is that establishment of Pakistan has always had a central position to influence the contours of politics, and thereby commands pivotal place in the polity of the country. To understand the whole algebra of this phenomenon why ‘the boys’ take up the central stage, one has to go beyond the........

© Pakistan Observer