Civil-military relations can be defined in terms of the balance between the organization and the civil and military institutions and their internal cohesion. Ideally, in an open society, the military enjoys professional autonomy while submitting to political authority.
According to the current theory of civil-military relations, there is a complete separation between civilians and military. In the right relationships, the army plays a secondary role in the execution of defense and security policies. Civil decisions are hypothetically accepted as definitive. Military contributions are not required to make decisions or make decisions. The most famous case of submission to civil law was that of General MacArthur after the Korean War.
But this submission was also indicative of civil-military tension. Even in developed democracies, there are cases that show separations between civilians and military. During the missile crisis in Cuba, there was a serious divergence between the Kennedy cabinet and the Pentagon. Everyone accused the other of having less brain.
In the case of India, during the Brasstacks exercises in July 1986, the head of the Indian army, Krishnaswamy Sundarji, planned to practice against Pakistan without the knowledge of Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi.
However, despite these confrontations, the military remains under the civil control of highly educated societies due to the public’s adherence to the civilian lifestyle that denies the legitimacy of military action in the eyes of the public.
Civil-military relations are an essential part of the national security strategy. In peace, they affect the internal stability of a nation-state; in war, they influence the result. In developed countries, the army is mainly engaged in the formulation of national security policy. However, in developing countries, particularly those with a colonial past, the military has always played an important role in domestic politics. That is, the military has overthrown legally constituted governments or has had too much influence on decision-making at the national level.
The evolution of civil-military relations in Pakistan has been affected by many factors unique to the developing world. The political and administrative infrastructure of Pakistan must be built from scratch; it is one of these factors. Like the Indian army, the Pakistani army comes from the British Indian army. However, unlike India, civilian military relations in Pakistan have evolved along the mortal path.
That is why Pakistan is the scene of frequent military interventions; At least three of them were obvious. Therefore, since independence in 1947, Pakistan has had 30 years of military rule; even when the government has not been in power, the military has always tried to centralize and consolidate political power, and the military including ISI.
Pakistan’s unstable relationship with India, centered on the decades-long conflict over control of Kashmir, Pakistan has always been a “state of security” and the national army has always been a key player in the field. However, information on the armed forces of Pakistan is very limited and interaction with Western civilian and military institutions is tightly controlled.
The climate of secrecy within the Pakistani army and its associated security services directly and indirectly affect civil-military coordination and presents humanitarian actors with an extremely complex operational environment.
The Pakistani army has several functions to fulfill: preparing for and responding to natural disasters, bringing military personnel to United Nations missions (Pakistan has a long history of contributions to UN peacekeeping operations and always it has been one of the first three contributing countries).
Special circumstances to maintain law and order and defend the borders of Pakistan and carry out security operations, counter-insurgency or anti-terrorism operations. Pakistan’s unstable relations with India have ensured that the army has sufficient resources.
First, democracy has never been strengthened in the country at the local level by instilling respect for democracy in people’s minds. Second, the shot has always been well received by the vast majority of people. Third, the military is still looking for space in the political spectrum beyond the constitutional role. Fourth, there is a drastic difference between the practicality and the theory of civilian military relations in Pakistan.
Every Pakistani demands an impeccable way to solve this problem permanently, because it is the biggest obstacle to the political and economic growth of the country. Whenever the subject of military and civilian division gains space in the press, it raises enormous suspicions about the future of the political process and finally stops national progress in many ways.
The solution is to defend the constitution as the supreme law of the land and to guarantee the rule of law as a basic principle in any case. The authority of the democratic forces lies in moral authority in addition to their parliamentary and constitutional authority. Without inculcating democracy in their own political parties, political forces cannot make room for unelected powers in Pakistan.
Armed forces must play a legal role in national security by discouraging their de facto role. The great national dialogue between the parliament, the judiciary and the army is essential to ensure a balance in civilian military relations and the smooth transition of democracy.
Legislators can play their part by convincing all parties involved of a constructive dialogue instead of criticizing cameras and press conferences. Politicians should also choose “good captains” as leaders of the armed forces instead of looking for “loyal lieutenants” and meditating on their personal affiliations.70 years of chaos, instability and constitutional break-ups reveal an important lesson: this prosperous future of Pakistan lies in democracy.
The armed forces are a key organ and driver for promoting national development by ensuring a peaceful security environment. But we must get rid of the ambitious hawks who are always trying to convince us to get rid of democracy by spreading rumors and inciting political and military institutions to engage in the name of individual interests.
The writer is a freelance columnist based in Quetta. He can be reached at: Asadhussainma@yahoo.com