Role of Army in Pakistan government

It is assumed that Pakistan army and Pakistan government are inter-related or as if army works as one of the government institutions. The main reason behind this assumption is that much of Pakistan’s history has been marked with dictatorship. From self-proclaimed Field Marshall, General Ayub Khan to the so called Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharaf, the total span of military rule in Pakistan is more than 30 years.

Such long military rules in Pakistan have left a deep impact on the minds of the common people who now they have started to look upon army for hope, whenever something goes wrong with the civilian government. There is now a common perception among people who the civilian government cannot work properly without the intervention of the army in government affairs. This is why most of the people consider Chief of Army Staff as the most dominant personality in Pakistan rather than the President or Prime Minister who is the head of the state.

Part of the reason of this perception of the people is that have lost faith in the politicians and their unfulfilled promises. Whenever a new government is elected, people are made to believe by their elected representatives that things are going to change now and they will witness a brilliant future but all in vain. As soon as the new government takes an oath in the parliament, they turn into corrupt and self-serving officials who can no longer hear the hue and cry of the people.
Ever since the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the civilian government has failed to live up to the expectations of its people and the public outcry for democracy, accountability, and social justice is simply ignored by the government.

However, the government argues that democracy has never been given a fair chance to take root in the country’s political soil because of army interference in politics, but it is up to the politicians to act responsibly in order to win back the trust of the people.

But the solution certainly does not lie in army takeover of the government every now and then, besides it has been observed that years of military rule have not made the system any better in Pakistan. In fact people are so tired of the situation that when they want army rule, it is only because they want an escape from the indifferent elected government and as soon as the army takes over people want their own elected representatives.

What we need to do is to draw a clear line and re-define the powers and responsibilities of the government organizations and armed forces. Both government and army should act sensibly, respect each other’s rights and should regard the constitution as the highest authority of the state. One easier way to find our way out of this multidimensional crisis is to place the interest of the state on top priority instead of our personal interests.


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