Pakistan army at its game again

India needs to be wary about regime change in Pakistan
Vipin Pubby

Vipin Pubby

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With the political turmoil brewing in Pakistan and question mark over his successor, India shall have to remain alert.

It is a well-known fact that Pakistan army plays a dominant role in the internal politics of Pakistan. The country has remained under direct Army rule for over 30 years since the formation of the country 75 years ago. It is also believed that no civilian government can survive in the country without the backing of the Pakistan Army.

It is no wonder that no civilian prime minister of the country has completed a five year tenure and there have been no less than 30 prime ministers since its inception. Besides, it has seen 15 presidents and three revised constitutions during the period.

Imran Khan with Gen Bajwa

All through the campaign for the last elections to the National Assembly in 2018, it was obvious that the army was backing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.

He had not only positioned himself as aligned to the army and was speaking its language, he had been projecting his arch rival, Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), as pro-India and anti-Army. Even on the day of the polling he had gone in record to say that Nawaz Sharif has “interests of India” in mind rather than that of Pakistan.

With the active backing of Pakistan Army, a victory for Imran Khan’s party was ensured. His party felt slightly short of the majority mark but the Army ensured that he got enough backing from smaller regional parties.

Now, after a rule of three and a half years, prime minister Imran Khan is finding himself out of the favour of the army. His government had been coming under severe criticism from the opposition for poor governance and critical economic situation with an unprecedented inflation. But what has put the survival of his government in jeopardy is his rubbing the army on the wrong side.

He recently sat over the appointment of the new ISI chief recommended by the army and was suspected to be backing an officer who was in line for the appointment of the army chief. He had been claiming that a foreign power was bent on posting his government.

However it is clear that he is no longer in the good books of the Pakistan army.

Leaders of Pakistan’s opposition parties

The opposition parties have now joined hands to move a no confidence motion against his government and there has been a steady withdrawal of support to Imran Khan government from even the smaller parties supporting his government.

There is hardly any chance of his government to gain a vote of confidence and it is expected that he may resign before the voting takes place on April 1.

From India’s perspective this would mean another phase of uncertainties over its relationship with its neighbour. There had been visible improvement in the situation over the border during the last two years. The instances of shelling at the border have come down drastically and so has the infiltration of terrorists from across the border.

Kartarpur CorridorThe opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, evidently at the suggestion of Pakistan Army, had improved relations between the two countries.

With the political turmoil brewing in Pakistan and question mark over his successor, India shall have to remain alert. It is also the time when Pakistan Army is seen to be getting re-activated. Besides, the high inflation rate and the country trying to tide over the serious economic crisis by more borrowings from international agencies, might force the new government to divert attention of the people.


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Vipin Pubby

Vipin Pubby

The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.

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