Looking past Musharraf and the role of the Pakistan Army

August 16, 2008

June photo of President Musharraf and Army Chief General Pervez Kayani/Ho NewAmid the feverish speculation about when, how and where President Pervez Musharraf will go, analysts are already looking beyond to the future of Pakistan in a post-Musharraf era. One theme stands out: while the consensus appears to be that the Pakistan Army will not step in to save Musharraf, it might well intervene in the not so distant future if it believes it needs to save the country.

“Musharraf’s departure will highlight the problems that confront the country, which is in the grips of a food and energy crisis. Inflation is out of control,” writes Tariq Ali in the Los Angeles Times. “The price of natural gas, used for cooking in many homes, has risen by 30%. Wheat, a staple, has seen a 20% price hike since November 2007 … According to a June survey, 86% of Pakistanis find it increasingly difficult to afford flour on a daily basis, for which they blame their new government.”

He adds that over the last 50 years the United States has preferred to work with the Pakistan Army rather than civilian rulers. “Nothing has changed. The question being asked is, how long before the military is back at the helm?”

Waving the national flag at independence day ceremony/Mohsin RazaShuja Nawaz, who has just published a book about the Pakistan Army, writes in the Washington Post that the military “would rather not be drawn into the current political squabble. They want to give the civilians the ‘time and space’ to operate government as best as they can.”

But he says the civilian government must take action quickly to restore stability in Pakistan. “If it fails, there is talk in Pakistan of another cycle of military intervention in the offing, this time on the Bangladesh model: of a longer duration, and using a civilian facade to restore the country’s economic health.”

“With inflation running at 25 per cent, the economy is a shambles,” says an editorial in the TimesOnline. “Investors are fleeing Pakistan, and the rupee has fallen to a record low against the dollar. Separatists, Islamists and extremists are gaining ground in the restless border areas, and Islamabad now seems incapable of imposing its authority. Twenty years after the suspicious death of Zia ul-Haq, the former military ruler, feuding politicians are again set to squander their chances. A restless army is waiting.”


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well all i can say is that the impeachment charges against President Pervez Musharaf would be a first step towards the stability of Pakistan.

Posted by talha | Report as abusive

Democrats have proved once again that they are unable to conduct themselves well enough to keep the army at bay. The economic crisis that began with the advent of the democratic alliance between the two leading parties and their failure to deliver the promises made to the people of Pakistan have pushed the general public opinion in favor of an army rule, even prefering Musharaf’s return to full power, thanks to the economic boom and stability that the country experienced during his one decade of rule. I would personally welcome a dedicated, patriot army general than a bunch of windbags and corrupt to the core people in the name of democracy.

Posted by Safdar Jafri | Report as abusive

[…] Meanwhile analysts have begun to look at post-Musharraf era. A sample here… […]

Posted by Saudi Spy Chief in Pakistan: Déjà Vu… | Report as abusive

People of pak has too looke back what these so called champ of democarcy has delivered in last 2 decades.

Need of hour is change,new faces new approach rather than allowing same old comrades to hang on in the name of democracy but behaving like worst than a dictator.

Posted by zubair | Report as abusive

the day is not far when pak will even lag behind Bangladesh and nepal in every good sphere of life,the lust of power/wealth of people like Nawaz/Zardari can not be met ever.they cant live/sleep without power,if today they become president they will say all power should be in hand of presidency and I am sure another man at centre will soon upgrade his status from Mr. 10% to Mr. 50%.

Posted by zubair | Report as abusive

He nobled Amin Fahims candidacy to priministership because he cannot bare to see an honest person taking charge, afraid he might stop Zardari from stealing. Now they are hounding Musharaf.
May Allah protect Musharaf my prayers and support are with you Mr President. Zardari and Nawaz are failed politicians, as they have failed people of Pakistan many times before. I urge my brothers in Army to stop the rot by standing with you. We can’t let Pakistan go down the drain. Army do your duty, and protect us from external as well as internal enemy.

Posted by Sajad Ali Khan | Report as abusive

Of course the Pakistani Military forgets to mention that it is one of the main supporters of radical Islam in Pakistan and that all periods of economic trouble in Pakistan were under military or civilian “facade” rule. The only time historically that the Pakistani economy stabilizes and grows is under true civilian, democratic rule. Dictatorship and/or military rule in Pakistan has indirectly led (not the Musharraf regime but its predecessors) to 9/11, as well as the new movement of Taliban power in Pakistan. The Taliban flag now openly wazes less than 100 miles from Islamabad, all in a country that the US pours billions into each year to kill of the Taliban. While a stable military transition period may work in most other countries to ensure a truly stable society, in Pakistan, only democracy works.

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

hello everyone,

Hold on a moment please…………I have read some of ur commnets and very disappointed as a Pakistani. I don’t know why we are supporting a General as compared to civilian politicans. In a civilized world they cannot even imagine that they shoud be governed by a Army personel. These army dictators have got a typical mindset and grow in a different environment.

The question is that why our politicinas failed every time………..Becuase Pak Army every often derailed the political system and we lag behind every time. We need to give our politicains some time to prove themselves and we should trust on them as they also belong from the same mother land. We should try to help them and support them as a nation.


Posted by Faraz | Report as abusive

Rob, democracy only works with an educated populace. 75% of the 190 million-plus people unfortunately lack literacy skills.. and you expect them to appreciate Rousseau’s philosophy? Forgive me for presuming you have never witnessed first-hand what Pakistan is really like; the FTA lands’ (much more than 100 miles from Islamabad actually) warfare has taken thousands of Pakistani soldiers lives- believe me, Pak is trying its best. Please refer to the history of Pakistan’s short 65 years and tell me how you can so easily claim “that the Pakistani economy stabilizes and grows”?
And 9/11 was caused by a myriad of factors (some a fault of the US itself), blaming the prior administrations is downright politically naive. Next, you forget the influential ISI organization and its effects on Pakistan.

I hope God protects Musharraf. A great man whose administration brought much-needed statbility and prosperity to Pak after the Kargil War, he deserves more than to be termed “a great ally” by Rice and left to the worlves.

Posted by John W | Report as abusive

what the fuck is wroung with this country. people in pakistan are worried about takeing out Musharraf wile Tlaliban is moveing deeper in to pakistan.What pakistan need to do is fight the taliban of But some political partys in pakistan just wount get it.

Posted by fraz | Report as abusive

Army intervention has never helped Paistan.
If after every intervention, the military dictator has to hand over to the same politicians why not let the politicians continue uninterrupted. Every country has corruption and flaws of politicians. Pakistan too must learn to live with them and deal with them through the system instead of through army intervention. The elitist Pakistanis who rant on about politicians’ weaknesses need to give up and accept that the people are with the popular politicians whether you like them or not. Let constitutional rule, democracy and political process prevail.

Posted by Wasiq | Report as abusive

[…] in reality if not in name — won’t be a person or even a party, but an institution: the Pakistani military. A prolonged period of squabbling and paralysis would give the Generals an excuse to […]

Posted by Belmont Club » Who will replace Musharraf? | Report as abusive

This is all going like so wrong? Can’t they just have peace?

Posted by Blackshot | Report as abusive