Pakistan Army

You are here

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • Developments in Pakistan: The More Things Change…

    As the civilian political space shrinks and the capacity of the state gets hobbled by political dissension and internal resistance from forces armed with an alternate blueprint for action, Pakistan is likely to rely more on its anti-India stance to build national unity, seeking especially to suck in the militant religious groups into its orbit.

    December 03, 2021

    Pakistan Media Under Stress: Imran Fails to Walk the Talk

    The government and the military in Pakistan appear quite determined to either silence or censor media by all means. This may prove counter-productive since such restrictions can fuel further criticism, especially at a time when the government seems unable to fulfil its promises and meet the expectations of the people.

    January 17, 2020

    Upendra Kumar asked: Will Pakistan be able to attain the postulates of its New Concept of War Fighting (NCWF), keeping in view its crippling economic status?

    Vivek Chadha replies: Pakistan’s NCWF was formulated in response to India’s Cold Start doctrine. It was thereafter tested and implemented within the armed forces. Pakistan considers India its major external security challenge. Essentially an outcome of its contrived thought process, it is likely to remain the mainstay of Pakistan's concept of war fighting.

    Déjà vu in Pakistan: Army overpowers Nawaz

    Déjà vu in Pakistan: Army overpowers Nawaz

    The army has quite patiently allowed Imran and Qadri to carry on with their protests and create a political condition unfavourable enough for Nawaz Sharif to approach the army for help. Thus like in 1993, Nawaz is feeling the heat even if the opposition is not united in their effort to dislodge his government.

    August 08, 2014

    Military Courts in Pakistan: A Soft Coup by the Pakistan Army?

    Military Courts in Pakistan: A Soft Coup by the Pakistan Army?

    Why is the Pakistan military pushing for Military Courts when the country already has a fairly robust Anti Terrorism Act together with designated Anti Terrorism Courts set up specifically to try terrorism related offences?

    January 14, 2015

    Gen. Raheel Sharif: Chief Has Changed, Army Remains the Same

    A lot has being made of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif taking his time to select the next army chief and signalling civilian supremacy by picking the number three in the seniority list. Whether Gen Raheel Sharif will remain subservient to civilian authority because ‘Pakistan has changed’ and ‘democracy is here to stay’ remains to be seen.

    December 03, 2013

    Anil Bhatt: How far is Pakistan Army radicalised? What are its implications for India?

    P.K. Upadhyay replies: Religious radicalisation has two profiles. First is the society at large which may not actively pursue the radical agenda, but empathises with it and willingly or under duress supports it. The other profile comprises people who want to actively further the radical agenda by forcing their diktat on others through terror, inducement, or persuasion. This would apply to the growth of Islamic radicalism in Pakistani society at large also. And what ails a society, ails the nation’s armed forces also, as the latter springs from the former. Pakistan Army emerged from the erstwhile British Indian Army and retained its structures and ethos. Very few changes, that too cosmetic in nature, were made in the structure and functioning of the Pakistan Army in independent Pakistan. However, things began to change after General Zia-ul Haq initiated his Islamisation policies (out of as much his personal beliefs as his political strategy to deal with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s political legacy).

    Pakistan Army, up to this point of time comprised of Muslim soldiers and officers who naturally revered, or at least had sympathy for Islam and Islamic causes, but did not want it to interfere with their professional duties and functioning. However, Zia’s Islamisation policies brought in a new breed of officers and men who wanted to pursue an active Islamic agenda in military matters. Not only proselytization activities of the Deobandi/Wahabi dispensation were allowed in the barracks, even active personnel were allowed to go for activities such as Tabligh. A new breed of military thinkers and strategicians also emerged who began to propound a merger of social jihadism with military plans. The name of Brigadier S. K Malik is foremost among such military scholars. His treatise, The Quranic Concepts of War, propounded the inevitability of a conflict between Dar-ul Islam (the world of Islam) and Dar-ul Harb (the world of non-believers) in which not just Islamic armed forces but even the society had to join in and use terror to such an extant that the enemy lost the will to fight even before the actual conflict started.

    This doctrine led to the creation of non-state armed surrogates by the Pakistan Army/ISI like Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP – to quell the Shiite opposition to Zia-ul Haq’s pro-Sunni Islamisation measures), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (to cow-down Christians and other minorities). It also led to creation of various Kashmir/India centric armed groups beginning with Hizb-ul Mujahideen and going on to Lashkar-e- Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Muhammad. Anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan further strengthened this breed of officers and soldiers in Pakistan Army. When General Musharraf tried to pull back the clock, it is these elements who struck back. There have been reports of some units of Pakistani armed forces, particularly in the frontier forces, having refused to conduct operations against the Islamic fighters belonging to Tehriq-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani General Headquarters (GHQ) using predominantly Shiite Northern Light Infantry (NLI) for taking on TTP in Swat and other areas of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Pakistan Army is not fighting the TTP just to preserve the state; it is fighting to ensure its own survival also. The TTP does not want to rest content just with sustaining an ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ with its British or Western oriented structures and ethos, it wants to replace them, including the military traditions and practices, with structures and ethos that conform to the Quran and the Sunnah as per its understanding of Islam. There are indications that the number of those who support this agenda is constantly increasing and moving upwards in Pakistan’s armed forces. The attempts on Musharraf’s life, the Mehran attack last year and the most recent attack on PAF Minhas, all of whom had strong links with men in uniform, suggest that the virus of Islamic radicalism has travelled far in Pakistan’s military establishment – a fact that has been acknowledged by the top brass also from time to time. While most of the top generals may have remained immune to this virus, the same can not be said either of the middle level officers, and most certainly not, for the lower ranks.

    Rajesh Singh asked: Why has Pakistan army been playing a central role in Pakistan's domestic and foreign policy?

    Sushant Sareen replies: Politics abhors vacuum and the leadership vacuum (Jinnah famously said 'what is the Muslim league except me and my stenographer’) as well as the political leadership’s vacuity in Pakistan soon after independence left the army as the only coherent and cohesive force in the country that could fill this vacuum. An underdeveloped political culture meant that the political leadership looked towards the army, which was one reason why the army chief Ayub Khan was also made defence minister. The military bureaucratic establishment negotiated with the Americans and this set the stage for the army's central role in foreign policy making in the years to come. Alongside were social and cultural factors - feudalism and a fascination with the military - that facilitated the central role for the army. Also contributing to the importance of the army was the circumstances in which Pakistan came into being and the consequent hostility with India and the fear that India wanted to undo partition. This gave rise to a national security state in which the army naturally acquired a central role. The inability of the political class to either set the rules of the game (much less play by any rules) or to come up with a constitution paved the way for the military to take over power. It is widely accepted now that the martial law that was declared in Lahore to contain the anti-Ahmediya riots in 1953 allowed the army to taste the blood of usurping political power.

    Visit of Pakistan Army Chief to China

    India will need to factor the growing PLA presence in and around Pakistan and be prepared to engage an increasingly confident Pakistan propped by Chinese support and driven by Chinese interests in the region.

    January 17, 2012

    Possible Political Scenarios in Pakistan

    If the army is not in favour of a coup, attempts could be made to defuse the tension through a compromise between the army and the government, with some leadership change acting as a face-saver.

    January 16, 2012