What is wrong with the Pakistan army?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 08, 2020 04:57 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 08, 2020 04:58 AM

To be fair, there is nothing wrong with Pakistan Army. I have read all the comments on this thread and it amused me how well the misconceptions are entrenched in the mind of the foreigners about Pakistan and its military; from ‘faulty ideology’ to ‘support of militants’ etc.

As rightly pointed out by Kim Jon, Pakistan lost its only leader Jinnah and that too after a year of its independence. After that, we took seven years in framing our first constitution but failed to let it work. We took 24 years in holding first national elections.

Twenty-nine of our thirty eight elected provincial assemblies were prematurely dissolved. Our Forty-four of seventy-seven chief ministers were dismissed by the federal government, and another thirteen resigned because they failed to win support in the provincial assemblies. Out of our eleven Heads of State, six were either soldiers or bureaucrats. Eight of our fifteen prime ministers were dismissed and seven out of ten National Assemblies were dissolved. It leads one to the inevitable conclusion that strong personalities have invariably dominated out weak political institutions and cultures.

In democratic dispensation it is not the function of military to reform political, moral and economic ills in society. This responsibility squarely lies with the chosen representatives of the people. Our military rulers claimed that they could not stay aloof and watch the internal erosion of society. Their critics call this argument self-serving. More accurately, while some military rulers had political ambitions ab initio, others were sucked into the political quagmire created by the quarreling politicians, directly or indirectly seeking military intervention.

Some instances from our history are in order. In 1948 Chief Minister of Sindh was dismissed after a judicial tribunal found him guilty of corruption and maladministration. His successor indulged in robbery and nepotism. Consequently, Governor’s rule was imposed in the province. In 1954 a power tussle between the Governor General and the Prime Minister created a constitutional crisis which led to the declaration of emergency. In 1955 one provincial assembly declared its own speaker insane and beat him to death its Deputy Speaker. Ethics and morality dipped low. Legislators changed their loyalties with such gay abundance that between the years 1953-1958 seven Prime Ministers were nominated and removed through internal intrigues. Each won a vote of confidence from the rubber-stamp Constituent Assembly. In 1958 President Ayub while imposing martial law described politicians as political sharks and leaches.


Unfortunately, Pakistan’s economy performed poorly prior to imposition of First Martial law in 1958.

Since then, it grew at a fairly impressive rate of 6 percent for the first four decades, an achievement very few nations can boast of. Its per capita income doubled, inflation remained low, and poverty declined significantly.

Under military ruler in 1969, Pakistan’s exports were higher than the exports of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia combined. Pakistan was seen as a model of economic development worldwide, and there was praise for its economic prowess. Many countries sought to emulate Pakistan’s economic planning strategy and one of them, South Korea, copied Karachi’s second “Five-Year Plan”.

Though speculative, it is possible that, had these economic policies and programmes continued over the next two decades, Pakistan would have emerged as another miracle economy. The presidency of General Ayub Khan is often dubbed as the “Great Decade” during which various economic development plans and reforms, ensuring expeditious economic growth, were promulgated. He was a strong believer of liberalization and his export-promotion strategy led to the strongest economic growth in the history of the Pakistan.

Under civilian government of Bhutto, the growth rate in the 1970s fell to 3.7 per cent per annum from 6 per cent recorded in the 1960s. Income inequalities rose and inflation accelerated, hurting the poor the most. Bhutto’s misconceived policies ruined Pakistan’s flourishing economy. This led to countrywide protests, coupled with massive election rigging by Bhutto and resultantly, military had to intervene.

Post Bhutto’s adverse economic nationalization policies, to resurrect the failing economy, General Zia ordered the end of centralized control and promulgated policies to improve both the foreign and domestic environments in the country.

By the late 1980s, the financial environment in Pakistan improved and became conducive for investment. Under General Zia’s presidency, the economy rose from under 4 per cent to 6.5 per cent. The dramatic spurt in Pakistan’s economy was driven by massive aid from the US, China and Saudi Arabia, besides remittances by 3 million Pakistani migrant workers.

The shaky democracy under Benazir Bhutto in 90s and her populist policies led to a burgeoning fiscal deficit, amplified by ineffective domestic revenue collection processes. With recession hitting the globe, the inflow of remittances from immigrant Pakistanis also reduced.

From 1988 to 1999, a little over a decade, nine different governments ruled Pakistan. Frequent changes in the government and reversal of the decisions taken by the preceding government created an environment of uncertainty and Pakistan lost its credibility among the international financial community and local investors.

Additionally, widespread corruption, economic mismanagement, personal interests and fiscally imprudent economic policies of the ruling dispensation dominated the decision-making process, ignoring the recommendations of the intelligentsia and professional business institutions.

In the 1990s, Pakistan’s economic growth plunged drastically from 6/7 per cent to between 3/4 per cent, the poverty level rose to 33 per cent, inflation was in double digits and the foreign debt amounted to nearly the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Pakistan. Pakistan’s total public debt as percentage of GDP was the highest in South Asia – 99.3 per cent of its GDP. In 1998, the economic growth reached its lowest ebb at 2.6 per cent.

This again led to military intervention. During the mid-2000s, under President Gen Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani economy resurged. Between 2003–07, the national GDP more than doubled from the prevailing 3-4 per cent to averaging 7 per cent yearly, and the country’s debt burden halved, restoring investors’ confidence. Pakistan succeeded in reducing poverty by one-half and saw a dramatic expansion of the urban middle class as more than 13 million jobs were created.

In 2005, Pakistan was included by the Goldman Sachs Global Economics Group as one of the “Next Eleven (N-11)” – a group of countries with economies that “might have the kind of potential for global impact, essentially an ability to match the G7 in size”.

The improved economic state facilitated Pakistan’s reentry in the international capital markets as large capital inflows financed the current account deficit and contributed to an increase in gross economic development. By October 2007, Pakistan, through its exceptional fiscal policies, raised its foreign exchange reserves to a handsome $16.4 billion, its trade deficit was controlled, exports boomed and lot of foreign investment flowed in. The country’s real GDP and international trade volume increased almost three times and the per capita income more than doubled under General Mushrraf.

As far as support for armed resistance in Indian Occupied Kashmir is concerned so it is the fundamental right of the people of Kashmir, under UN charter to seek foreign assistance to fight foreign occupation. It is precisely India to be blamed because it failed to hold plebiscite in Kashmir and give people right to self determination under UN charter and as per UNSC resolutions.

Remember, Kashmir is a disputed territory. Also, UN has repeatedly recognized the right of an occupied people to use legitimate armed force in the struggle for “liberation from colonial and foreign domination”, Kashmiris been labeled as terrorists by occupiers while the terrorism perpetuated by their occupiers and oppressors has been labeled “self-defence”!!!

The same holds true for Afghanistan that was invaded and occupied by USA along with 41 other countries for 17 years. Both Kashmir and Afghanistan are our neighbors and negative development in both these regions affect peace of Pakistan so our national security establishment have to take preemptive measures to make OWN borders secure which includes fencing of our porous border with Afghanistan (which Afghanistan till date doesn’t recognize) against their wishes and despite of repeated attacks on fencing team.

Read the book; ‘Pakistan: A Hard Country’ by Anatol Lieven and your misconceptions will be removed. Army is most trusted and least corrupt institution of Pakistan and people always look towards it when faced with even untoward event.

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