Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Civil Military Relationship in Pakistan!!!

Civil military relationship in Pakistan has never been cordial, democracy & dictatorships’ musical chair always dominated the helm of affairs. Civil military relationship discussion is intriguing topic and dominates most of our drawing room gossips.

Today I was invited at media round-table with an American intellectual/expert on Civil Military Relationship. Dr. Daniel N. Nelson is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and he is also President/CEO of Global Concepts & Communications, Inc. based in Alexandria, Virginia. He is an author of many books, famous one is “After Authoritarianism: Democracy or Disorder? “

It was an interesting and interactive session on much talked yet sensitive subject. At times we use the term “Civil & Military” specifically in the context of the government and men in uniform but Dr Nelson explained both terms well, term civil refers to “President, Prime Minister or Parliament and civil society” & military refers to “men in uniform, intelligence agencies, private military companies and military industrial complex”.

Referring to various case studies, he shared five interesting points that are used in other countries to strengthen democracy; if one looks at these, there is a lot one can learn.

Firstly, “LAW” law or constitution should be in place that defines the chain of command & civilian authority over military. Secondly “CHANGE IN CULTURE”, culture refers to norms, values and beliefs & it is necessary for society to have belief in rule of civilians in the context of military and society. Thirdly, “STRUCTURE & PROCESSES” clear cut structure and processes to be laid down to ensure chain of command. Fourthly “OPENNESS & TRANSPARENCY” freedom of information is vital so that everything is open to public and civilian leadership. Lastly “BUDGET”, all budgetary controls be under civilian authority.

Above points may sound interesting but during discussion it was evident that it may be difficult for a weak civilian authority to assert, influence change in culture, ensure processes are followed and ensure transparency in budgeting.

To move forward, an interesting point came up, the role of civil society is important to influence and define future of civil military relationship!!!

There was a lot of discussion on the role of historical US support to dictatorships in Pakistan, it was shared that it was not desired to partner with dictators during cold war or after 9/11, however it was out of compulsion.

Unfortunately most of the discussion was focused on historical wrong doings, for a while it was felt, rather it was a reality check that as a nation we are too much focused on past or history.

Dr Nelson sounds hopeful that civilian democracy will continue and military is too much engaged and focused on their professional responsibilities.

No doubt Pakistan’s case is unique, civilian government lack will and capability to lead the country; however, it is believed that democracy is at evolutionary stage, will take time to evolve.

To move forward and strengthen the democracy one could learn a lot from Dr Nelson’s five points.

It is difficult task for Pakistan to focus on country’s security, handle non state actors, militancy and economic slow down. Tough but one could learn from others experiences.


Qurat-ul-ain said...

From Ayub Khan to Pervez Musharraf, every military ruler of Pakistan tried to justify his unconstitutional seizure of power by denouncing politicians as responsible for the mess supposedly he had captured the political stage to clear. But, instead of clearing the mess, the dictator makes things worse by his arbitrary and illegal decisions. As a result, he is ousted from power by the wrath of the people and democracy is restored. But the forces of authoritarianism, nurtured during the military dictatorship, do not become reconciled to the democratic dispensation, as their accumulated vested interests are threatened under an order based on the supremacy of parliament. The real intent behind a sustained campaign of painting politicians as immoral, dishonest and swindlers is to undermine the supremacy of parliament by discrediting its members, who represent the will of the people. This was the very reason that nation witnessed a sustained smear campaign against Asif Ali Zardari. He was dragged in one or the other issue everyday, even he had no link with. However he hardly resisted to the relics of dictatorship and proved democracy is powerful that autocracy.

Imran Baloch said...

So true, i share same views.

You missed it, speaker shared that majority of student he interacted in Pakistan want pity !!!!

How politically naive our so called educated kids are !!!!

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