The Pakistani military

Pakistan Power Groups and National Crisis

Power groups

The Pakistani military

In addition to geopolitical and geostrategic factors, the imbalance of government institutions within the Pakistani state is the cause of the ongoing government crisis and structural violence in the country. According to estatelearning, the Pakistani military plays an extremely important and dominant role in the nuclear power of Pakistan. It is disproportionately large (it takes up a quarter of the entire budget) and therefore overpowering, while civil institutions such as the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the police and the political parties are permanently underfunded. The interventions of the military in politics and the economy have made this organization stronger and stronger throughout history.

Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, internationally known Pakistani scientist, rightly asks the extent to which a return of the military’s powers is possible in view of the vicious circle of “milbus” (military business) – which is the cause and effect of undemocratic or authoritarian regimes. In addition, there is a nexus between the military and other powerful actors such as industrialists, feudal families, and spiritual leaders and politicians.

Military, secret service and militant Islamist forces

The nexus between the military, the secret services and religiously motivated forces has been known since the Afghanistan War (1979-89) at the latest. So-called “mujahideen” were trained, indoctrinated and instrumentalized as guerrilla fighters against the Russians in “madrassahs” (religious schools). Many books have been written about the significant involvement of the American secret service CIA in the Afghan war and its political, financial support for the partly militant Islamism as a counter-ideology to communism. According to many analysts and journalists, this nexus has become held between the military, the secret services and the Islamist and militant forces over the 1990’s due to the support of the Taliban by the Pakistani secret service ISI to this day. The USA was also skeptical of Musharraf’s propagated “U-Turn Policy”, ie the military’s distancing from militant Islamist forces. Mistrust did not decrease in civilian government under the PPP. The situation between America and Pakistan came to a head in the events of the American military operation around Usama bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2010. Since then, US-Pakistani relations and relations between the military and the civilian government have been strained.

The Pakistani military

The 2007 national crisis

Power struggle between the judiciary and the executive

After the Acting Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry of the Supreme Court of Justice had ruled against the policies of the Musharraf government at the time, he was illegally removed from office by Musharraf in March 2007. This sparked an unprecedented movement of judges and lawyers against Musharraf that was encouraged by civil society groups. This movement was active for a total of two years. The judges’ movement changed from a movement for the reinstatement of the dismissed judges to an anti-Musharraf movement and a movement for democracy and the rule of law. On the one hand, this movement enjoyed national, regional and international solidarity; on the other hand, it was also controversial because, according to some critics, it received a tailwind from certain political parties.

Events came to a head on December 27, 2007 when the charismatic PPP opposition politician and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was murdered at an election rally in Rawalpindi. Islamabad believed Baitullah Mehsud, the head of the Pakistani Taliban, to be the mastermind. The background of the act remains in the dark and numerous speculations about it are in circulation, e.g. B. that members of the PPP, Bhutto’s own party, were behind it (see the magazine “Background”). Unrest broke out across the country, especially in Sindh, countless attacks were carried out, and the long-planned elections were postponed to February 18, 2008. Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto’s widower, de facto took over the leadership of the Pakistan People’s Party.

After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in February 2008, a civilian government came back to power after nine years of military rule. After a two-year power struggle, the removed judges were successively reinstated; Chaudhry Iftikhar was returned to office in March 2009.

The smoldering Balochistan conflict

In Balochistan, the territorially largest (more than 44% of the total territory), least populous (approx. 5% of the total population) but most resource-rich province (gas, gold, copper and other minerals), a nationalist-tribal guerrilla war has been smoldering since the emergence of Pakistan. Four military operations have already been carried out against separatist guerrilla warriors in Balochistan (1948; 1958/59; 1963-69; 1973-77), the fifth military operation has been ongoing since 2004 until today. Political opponents / activists are deliberately killed. Serious problem and conflict areas in this conflict include: the underdevelopment of the province despite its many resources, the financial equalization, the construction of large construction projects such as the deep sea port in Gwadar without consulting the Balochis.

Since the secession of East Pakistan in 1971 (today’s Bangladesh), Balochistan has been widely viewed as the second province that could potentially secede from Pakistan. The annexation of Balochistan to Pakistan is historically controversial, ie whether it happened voluntarily or involuntarily.

A documentary film on the Balochistan conflict provides visual impressions of the guerrilla war in Balochistan.

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