Will there be another coup in Pakistan?
–DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL
Pakistan has gone through phases of civilian and military rules.
General Kayani who replaced Pervez Musharraf, kept his word that he would not stage any coup to topple the government. Now Kayani has retired and all eyes are no on the new military incumbent in Rawalpndi.
Lieutenant-General Raheel Sharif, brother of a war hero, will take charge of the world’s sixth-largest army, with a formal handover from General Ashfaq Kayani on 29th November Friday. General Kayani announced last month he planned to step down after six years in the post, presenting Pakistan’s new leader with his toughest choice since coming to power in May. The new army chief is not related to the prime minister or president.
Pakistan government’s choice of a career infantry officer considered a moderate as army chief is viewed as a milestone in the political charter of Pakistan as the country fights an arrogant American military occupying and attacking Pakistan within by using drone arms. Pakistan seeks accord with the USA on how to stabilize neighbouring Afghanistan. But Washington is still focused on Taliban insurgency only to prolong the over stay in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, struggling to deal with both USA and Taliban, announced that he wanted to disentangle the military from politics but the military is unlikely to relinquish its hold at such a sensitive time.
The appointment of Sharif as the powerful military chief comes as tension with arch-nuke-rival India over its occupied Jammu Kashmir is rising and as the USA seeks Pakistan’s help in bringing peace to Afghanistan ahead of the withdrawal of most Western forces there next year.
The army chief is arguably the most powerful person in Pakistan, with the military having ruled the country for more than half its 66-year history since independence from Britain. Sharif, 57, received his military commission in 1976 and studied military leadership in Germany, Canada and Britain. He commanded several infantry units, including the Sixth Frontier Force Regiment along the disputed LOC-Line of Control in Kashmir. Perhaps his most important contribution has been his role in the reshaping the country’s strategic policy.
Sharif was one of the architects of the new doctrine. In 2007, the military undertook an ambitious programme of re-thinking its strategic doctrine, following the appointment of Kayani as army chief. The new approach was seen as a move away from a focus on the rivalry with India to a more nuanced policy which considered the internal threat from militants equally as pressing. His brother, Major Shabbir Sharif, received two of the country’s highest military awards for his action during the 1971 India-Pakistan war in which he was killed.
World views the change of guard in Pakistani military with keen interest as it always played a determined role in Pakistani system and establishment. Military have staged and still can stage coup to remove the elected primers. In 1999 and only a year after appointing him, Nawaz Sharif was ousted from power by his army chief, General Pervez Musharraf. He will be keen to ensure history does not repeat itself. The prime minister also named water and power minister Khawja Muhammad Asif as defense minister. The prime minister had held the portfolio since being elected in May.
Pakistani security analysts say that Nawaz should know that whether it is Raheel Sharif or someone else as army chief, he won’t do the PM’s bidding – he will be driven by the institution first and last.
Of course, a few coup attempts had failed to yield result.
The obvious question: Will there be another coup in Pakistan? may look funny but cannot be that funny though…
However, if if one wants now if there could a coup in Pakistan in the near future, many would raise eyebrows in dismay and disbelief.
Unless, of course, they do have idea about Pakistan’s coup history.
A quick look at the coup history of Pakistan after it got freedom from Britain.
Military coups in Pakistan began in 1958 and there have been three successful attempts, and also a few flopped ones. There have also been numerous unsuccessful attempts since 1949.
Since its independence in 1947,Pakistan has spent several decades under military rule (1958 – 1971, 1977 – 1988, 1999 – 2008). In 1958, the first Pakistani President Major General Iskander Mirza dismissed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and the government of Prime Minister Feroz Khan Noon, appointing army commander-in-chief Gen. Ayub Khan as the Chief martial law administrator. Thirteen days later, Mirza himself was deposed by Ayub Khan, who appointed himself president. Operation Fair Play was the code-name for the coup d’etat conducted at midnight on July 4, 1977 by the Pakistani military led by army chief Gen. Zia-ul-Haq against the government of then-Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Near midnight on July 4, 1977 the army chief General Zia ordered the arrest of Bhutto, his ministers and other leaders of both the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan National Alliance. The National Assembly of Pakistan and all provincial assemblies were dissolved, and that the Constitution of Pakistan was suspended. In October, 1999 senior officers loyal to army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf arrested prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his ministers after thwarting the Sharif regime’s attempt to dismiss Musharraf and prevent his plane from landing in Pakistan as he returned from a visit to Sri Lanka.
There have been numerous unsuccessful coup attempts in Pakistani history. The first noted attempt was the Rawalpindi conspiracy in 1949 led by Maj. Gen. Akbar Khan along with left-wing activists and sympathetic officers against the government of Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s first prime minister
د. عبد راف
–BY DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL has been an educationist, Columnist-Commentator on world affairs Expert on Mideast Affairs, Chronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.) Chancellor-Founder of Centor for International Affairs(CIA); Former university Teacher; Editor:INTERNATIONAL OPINION; FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES; Author of books;website: http://abdulruff.wordpress.com/ mail: email@example.com/Phone: 91-8129081217—(Account: No 62310377429 – CIF No: 78215311481- State Bank of Hyderabad, India)