When British Indian Army had to be divided between the dominions of India and Pakistan at the time of partition, the Indian Army received two-thirds (64%) of the military resources and the Pakistan Army received the remaining (36%).
Several Muslim military personnel in the British Indian army were keen to show their allegiance to the newly formed military and joined them. Despite receiving one-third of the military resources and many personnel with experience fighting in the World War II , the Pakistani army remained amateurish in its initial days.
After the first war with India, in 1947, the Pakistan government allocated a staggering 70% of its budget to its armed forces. Resources, freedom and autonomy were given to the military to defend the country. When the army was given the flexibility to operate almost independently, the political institutions and their set up were caught in a mess, which made it easy for the military to intervene in political matters.
The presence of a valiant neighbor with twice its military might made Pakistan grow a defense force which is way too large to be kept under control.
While the Indian government made the right steps to keep the military regime and its divisions under check, the neighboring Pakistan allowed it to grow and become stronger than its statedom. Since then, Pakistan has raised a belligerent entity in its own backyard that continues to defeat its democracy till date.
Every people-elected government in Pakistan has been overthrown by their Army Generals since 1958 during which the first military coup was staged that lasted until 1971. Thereafter, Pakistan has been under military rule from 1977-88 and 1999-2008.
The intermittent pseudo-democratic governments were also regulated by the army, which has grown deep roots into the administrative mechanism of the country.
The Pakistani Army, which is the largest among the Muslim nations, has ominous powers and control over the legal, judicial and executive branches of the country, running $20 billion business enterprises from aviation services to restaurant chains. Pakistan’s military remains unrestrained and wields the power of money in deciding the fate of its 200 million+ citizens.
Pakistan strengthens its armed forces, allocating colossal defense budget every year while the nation’s economy has seldom seen the civilians prosper. In 2018 the defense budget of Pakistan was given a 20% hike than the previous year yet equaling only one-sixth of the defense budget of India.
The Pakistan Army doesn’t have strong beliefs in democracy and hence doesn’t approve of the elected government and its representatives. Periodically, the army generals storm in with a military coup to replace the elected leaders to save the nation and its people from corruption, ironically.
To offer a false view to the external world, the army allows democracy in disguise by promoting or favoring leaders amicable to their rule of law.
PML and PPP, the two major parties of Pakistan, have ceased to exist as the army’s favorites, while PTI’s Imran Khan has started looking promising and cordial for now.
The Pakistan army wants the border tension only to escalate for its political gains. The army has created ‘the Indian enemy’ propaganda to keep the war continuing with no reprieve visible in the near future. Every time, an elected government comes into power, the tension runs high in the border.
While their land have become breeding ground for many of the extremist outfits, the army strategizes a game plan and uses them as pawns for their proxy wars. The army has designated and offered support to several militant networks for opportunistic favors.
The cobweb of militant networks and their geo-political dynamics is costing Pakistan its democracy. International pressure from neighboring countries and the West is mounting to retaliate militant networks with appropriate action. There is bloodshed in all its borders. A suicide attack by Jaish al-Adl, one of the militant outfits, in the Iran border killed 27 a day earlier to the Pulwama attack in India which killed 40 Indian CRPF personnel.
These tensions create disharmony in many other neighboring nations making the entire region volatile making Pakistan a threat to peace and harmony in the Indian subcontinent that may extend further east.
[Featured Image Courtesy: Foreign Policy]