24 November, 2020

Leading From The Back

The Pakistani military still decides the fate of elected rulers

Leading From The Back

WHILE almost everyone is aware of it, hardly anybody talks on record about the military’s role in the change of governments in Pakistan. The dismissal this time was no exception.

Even the most radical of leaders thought it best to remain cautious. Benazir Bhutto’s first reaction was that the armed forces were neutral and that it was President Farooq Leghari, a few non-political adventurists and some retired army officials who had toppled her. Even Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League, whose government was removed through a political formula brokered by the army in 1993, certi-fies that the armed forces had nothing to do with Benazir’s removal. Sharif has learnt his lessons. His blunt public remarks in the past have cost him heavily and he is regarded as unreliable and undependable by the military establishment.

There is little doubt that the army knew exactly what Leghari was doing. On the night of the dissolution, an army contingent was moved into Islamabad to take control of important buildings, including the Prime...



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