The evolution of the civil-military relations in Pakistan was affected by many factors that were unique to the developing world. The political and administration infrastructures of Pakistan have to be built from the scratch is one these factors. Like Indian Army, Pakistan army originated from the British Indian army. However, unlike India, the civil military relations in Pakistan evolved along the deadly different path. That is why Pakistan witness frequent military interventions, at least three of them were overt.
Thus, since independence in 1947, Pakistan has experienced 30 years of military rule (1958 to 1971, 1977 to 1988 and 1999 to 2008), even when not in government the military has constantly sought to centralise and consolidate political power, and the military (notably military intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)) exerts significant overt and covert control over the civilian authorities in both domestic and foreign affairs. Given Pakistan’s volatile relationship with India, centred on the decades-long conflict for control of Kashmir, Pakistan has always been a ‘security state’, and the national military has historically been a key player in the geopolitical arena. However, information on Pakistan’s armed forces is very limited, and interaction with Western civilian and military institutions is heavily controlled. The climate of secrecy within the Pakistan military and its associated security services directly and indirectly affects civil–military coordination and presents humanitarian actors with a highly complicated operational environment.
Pakistan’s military has multiple roles: preparing for and responding to natural disasters, contributing military personnel to UN missions (Pakistan has a long history of contributing troops and police to UN peacekeeping operations and has consistently been in the top three of contributor nations), under special circumstances maintaining law and order and defending Pakistan’s borders and conducting security operations, counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism operations. Pakistan’s volatile relationship with India has ensured that the military has been well-resourced.
Preparing for disaster response has long been part of military training. When called on to support civil authorities, military assistance has predominantly been channelled into less secure areas, with civilian actors responding in the more accessible locations. The military provides relief and rescue, logistical support, engineering expertise, emergency health provision and basic reconstruction of infrastructure. The armed forces also have a disaster preparedness role, for example by coordinating with the civil authorities in maintaining water channels, in joint inspections of flood defences and participation in pre-monsoon coordination meetings.
In relation to complex emergencies, the Army feels that it has a legitimate interest not only in responding to terrorism but also in rebuilding after security operations. Given Pakistan’s longstanding commitment and experience as one of the principal contributors of troops and police to UN peacekeeping operations, it is conceivable that the security services consider themselves to be the best organisation to address both disaster and conflict. The experience and expertise the Pakistan military brings is recognized by the humanitarian community, and the Army is considered to be a significant player, with the ability to provide personnel, logistics and key skills in response to disasters. A cross-section of respondents were either comfortable with the military role in disaster response, or felt that the armed forces were obliged to act due to the high level of state funds and government resources they received.
All above mentioned services and sacrifices indicates that military is the most important pillar of Pakistan security but it’s not above constitution and bound to work under the stare just like other departments of Pakistan. Military is just a department which is under the stare as other departments. He should not intervene in any political activities same other countries military.
The most basic precondition of a true democratic setup is a healthy civil-military relationship. In all democratic countries, an elected civilian government enjoys full control over the military. However, in Pakistan, control over governance has oscillated between the two; a decade of civilian supremacy followed by a decade of military rule. The reasons for this periodic shuffling are incompetent political leadership, weak political parties and institutions, rising power of civil-military bureaucracy, serious security threats to the country and frequent use of military in aid of civil power.
To end up, in the early days of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam clearly articulated the role of the military in the following words: “Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.”
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