Pakistan’s Civil-Military Relations

Sewing a crazy tribal quilt: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan with fellow Pashtun fighters at another time, and Baloch rebels surrender weapons to the Pakistani government

Pakistan’s civilian government has little control over the country’s powerful army which stands out as a most trusted institution, with more than 80 percent public approval, compared to 36 percent approval for government. Weak institutions that fail to address Pakistan’s challenges have allowed the army to become more assertive, explains Riaz Hassan, research professor and director of the International Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding, and he argues that demography has a role: “The most striking aspect of Pakistan’s demography is that it is made up of six ‘nations,’ each divided between two or, in the case of Balochis, three countries,” he writes. “All are predominantly Islamic, but also endowed with their own distinct, historically grounded cultural identities.” Despite governmental failings and difficult civil-military relations in Pakistan, public polling indicates strong support for democracy, at 80 percent, rather than for a military dictatorship. – YaleGlobal