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The Army and Democracy

The Army and Democracy

Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    The Army and Democracy
    Book Description:

    In sharp contrast to neighboring India, the Muslim nation of Pakistan has been ruled by its military for over three decades. The Army and Democracy identifies steps for reforming Pakistan's armed forces and reducing its interference in politics, and sees lessons for fragile democracies striving to bring the military under civilian control.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-41976-6
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    (pp. 1-30)

    The third wave of democracy that swept military authoritarian regimes out of power from Latin America to Asia in the 1970s and 1980s heralded the declining political role of the armed forces. Like militaries in the Middle East and Burma, however, Pakistan’s military bucked that trend. In fact, Pakistan has been one of the main military authoritarian exceptions to the global pattern of democratic resurgence.¹ The country experienced its latest military coup in 1999, which was followed by eight years of military government, a situation that led one prominent scholar of democracy to wonder whether Pakistan was reversing the third...

    (pp. 31-71)

    The military’s political ascendance became a distinguishing feature of civilian politics in Pakistan within the first decade after independence. Thus any interpretation of the military’s repeated and relentless interventions must reckon with that foundational juncture, “during which the state [institutional] structure was cast into an enduring, even rigid, mold.”¹

    Pakistan was not originally destined for military intervention in politics. At independence, the Pakistani military was little more than a rump of the British Indian Army (BIA). Consumed by the process of organizational rebuilding in the wake of the BIA’s partition into the two armies of India and Pakistan, the relatively...

    (pp. 72-93)

    In the early 1950s, the central issue of constitutional politics in Pakistan was the proper distribution of administrative, political, and economic power between the center and the provinces, especially East Pakistan. One of the toughest challenges to the Islamic identity of Pakistan championed by the founding fathers was the early emergence of Bengali linguistic nationalism. Key to finding a solution to this problem was evolving a working federal constitutional formula to peacefully integrate the Bengalis into the national mainstream. However, the West Pakistan–controlled central government was loath to concede meaningful provincial autonomy lest a “tendency might develop which would...

    (pp. 94-118)

    By seizing power in 1958, the military institution moved from a position of political tutelage to that of political control, “cementing many of the political distortions that arose in the first decade.”¹ Once the military carried out the coup, it became clear that its action was more than just a temporary measure designed to restore “sanity and stability.”² Although the military moved quickly to target “the vermin, leeches and sharks”³ accused of hoarding, smuggling, and disturbing the public peace, General Ayub Khan wished to implement a foundational political and economic project. First, the generals stated their intent to establish a...

    (pp. 119-149)

    Defeated and disgraced, the military yielded power to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which had won the 1970 elections in West Pakistan (what remained of Pakistan). Decisive defeats in war can erode a military’s professional cohesion, undermine its morale, and badly tarnish its professional reputation. Thus they can mortally weaken the political influence of authoritarian militaries and open the way for their depoliticization.

    The Pakistani military’s political and professional defeat presented the PPP leadership with a similar opportunity to establish authority over the armed forces and reduce its political clout. Stephen Cohen observed at the time, “Conditions for...

    (pp. 150-185)

    The influence of institutional factors on the military’s interest and involvement in politics stands out even more clearly in the period from 1977 to 1999. During this time, the military ruled for eleven years under General Ziaul Haq (1977–1988) and then permitted a transition to democracy that was marked by the alternation of power among four short-lived civilian governments (1988–1999), only to recapture state power in October 1999 under General Pervez Musharraf. On the one hand, the authoritarian legacies of Zia’s military government created structural conditions vulnerable to political crises and instability. On the other hand, the generals’...

    (pp. 186-214)

    After seizing power on October 12, 1999, General Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency and appointed himself the chief executive (CE) of the country. He placed the constitution in abeyance, suspended the national and provincial assemblies, and sacked the prime minister, his cabinet, and all four provincial governments. The Emergency, which brought the “whole of Pakistan under the control of the armed forces,” was the result of the “collective deliberation and decisions” of Musharraf, the nine army corps commanders, and the chiefs of the navy and the air force.¹

    Musharraf created a National Accountability Bureau to initiate a politically...

    (pp. 215-253)

    The military government of General Pervez Musharraf yielded power to civilians in 2007–2008 in the wake of severe legitimacy problems triggered and amplified by contentious opposition to his rule. Prompted by Musharraf’s fateful decision to fire the Supreme Court chief justice in March 2007, lawyers, other members of civil society, and political parties mobilized against the dictator, ultimately eroding his hold on power by persuading the military institution to launch an extrication coup in 2007.

    Musharraf had earlier tried to bolster his domestic position by striking a US-brokered power-sharing deal with Bhutto. He sealed his own fate on November...

    (pp. 254-288)

    This study began with the central paradox of the modern state, namely, who guards the guardians? It concludes with a related question: How shall we guard the guardians? This question has urgent significance in a new or transitional democracy like Pakistan. In view of the military’s authoritarian inclinations, its availability as a potential alternative to democracy, and its monopoly over coercive resources, controlling this institution is one of the most difficult tasks confronting any democratically elected government in a postauthoritarian context.¹

    In Pakistan, the historically shaped combination of domestic and external factors—a strong perceived threat from India and weak national...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 289-378)
    (pp. 379-380)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 381-399)