LPINDI (Online) - The rules of Gen Ayub Khan, Gen Yahya Khan, Gen Ziaul Haq and Gen Pervez Musharraf had badly damaged the image of Armed Forces.
This point of view is presented by Director-General Inter Services Public Relations Maj-Gen Athar Abbas in an article available at ISPRs website. Following is the text of the article:
Countries with a colonial past, find democratic institutions struggling hard against heavy odds for a variety of reasons. The political institutions i.e. political parties do not develop in the developing countries because societal cleavages are too strong, said Professor SP Huntington, Political order in Changing Societies, 1968.
The founding father envisaged Pakistan as a sovereign, modern and democratic state based on the principles of equality and justice. The failure of successive governments to establish a tolerant political culture, viable political system and good governance has driven people to a state of disillusionment. The rapidly changing global politico-economic environments demand all stakeholders realise the challenges of new security paradigm. Any failure to do so would seriously affect our national integration and may result in destabilisation of the state and society.
In the past we have tried various systems but have not succeeded. The stunted development of our political system is mainly due to the fact that initially our state developed as a security state due to incomplete partition and no urgency was felt to have a constitution. Subsequent corruption and incompetence led to frequent near collapse situations making way for military interventions. As soon as military took over, realising that it could do better, it tended to prolong the stay in power. This led to concentration of power in one hand and eroded the system of checks and balances - which is the spirit of a democratic system.
A state needs a military powerful enough to defend itself, but it must also ensure that its coercive arm does not become a threat to itself:
The civil-military challenge is to reconcile a military strong enough to do anything the civilians ask with a military sub ordinate enough to do only what civilian authorise.
Huntington evolved two types of 'control - subjective and objective. While the subjective definition of civilian control presupposes a conflict between civilian control and the need for military security, whereas, objective control denotes maximising of military professionalism.
The large number, varied character and conflicting interests of civilian groups make it difficult to maximise their power as a whole with respect to the military. Consequently, maximising of civilian power always means maximising of the power of some particular civilian group or groups.
The general relationship between power, professionalism and ideology make possible five different types of civil-military relations (CMRs).
Anti Military ideology, High Military Political Power, and Low Military Professionalism: This type of CMR is found in more primitive countries where military profession has been retorted or in more advance countries where security threats are suddenly intensified and the military rapidly increases their political power. Examples are Asia, Latin America. Turkey removed officers from politics and concentrated on professional behaviour and outlook. Japan is another example, maintaining this pattern of CMR over a long period of time. It was, however, characteristic of Germany during World War 1 and United States during World War II.
Anti Military Ideology, Low Military Political Power and Low Military Professionalism: It appears where the ideology of society is so intensely pursued that it is impossible for the military to escape its influence no matter how far they reduce their political power.
Anti Military Ideology, Low Military Political Power and High Military Professionalism: A society, which suffers few threats to its security, is likely to have this type of CMR. Example is of United States before World War II.
Pro-Military Ideology, High Military Political Power and High Military Professionalism: A society with continuing security threats and an ideology sympathetic to military values may permit a high level of military political power and yet still maintain military professionalism and objective civilian control. Examples Prussia and Germany during Bismarck and Moltoke (1860-1890).
Pro-Military Ideology, Low Military Political Power, and High Military Professionalism: Societies that are relatively safe from security threats and dominated by a conservative ideology sympathetic to the military viewpoint. Example: CMR in Great Britain in 20th Century.
The unfortunate death of Quaid-e-Azam soon after partition left a political vacuum and chaos. C-in-C General Ayub Khans appointment as the defence minister, while he was serving, was the instance of the political government voluntarily ceding political authority to the army and a tacit recognition of the armys potential for a greater political role in the future of Pakistan. The result was a bloodless coup in 1958. His initial period, 1958-1961 was known as golden era. Yahya Khans brief period from 1969-1972 resulted in separation of East Pakistan.
During Zulfikar Ali Bhuttos regime 1972-1977 the army stayed out of politics. The rigging of 1977 elections brought the army back in politics. General Zias era (1977-1988) fully entrenched the army in politics and started the era of Islamisation of the society.
During the period from 1988-1999, power kept shuttling between Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. The era where the government functioning came to a grinding halt several times and governance suffered badly due to infighting of politicians.
General Musharraf ruled from 1999-2008. It was a military cum quasi-military rule that achieved many things but resulted in a severe political turmoil and badly affected the image of Army.
Factors - Affecting Civil Military Relations
* The management of CMR is a key to effective governance, particularly in states undergoing the transition to democracy like Pakistan.
* Since in our country, national security remains the prime concern of the armed forces, therefore, the differences between the democratic governments and military generally develop on
(1) Defence expenditure
(2) Militarys tight control on nuclear weapons programme
(3) Afghan policy vis-a-vis foreign policy dictates
(4) Relations with India vis-a-vis Kashmir issue
* The military, owing to its nationalistic ethos, expects civilian government to ensure socio-political stability and harmony in the country.
* Since military maintains a high standard of merit based selection and promotion system, it does not like any outside interference in its organisational and administrative affairs.
* To meet the defence needs, procurement of defence equipment is also a military interest, which at times clashes with government priorities.
* Due to inadequacy of knowledge regarding defence matters, politicians find it difficult to come to terms with defence budget requirements. Whereas, military feels that defence requirements must be met at priority.
* Induction of serving/retired officers in civil departments remains an area of concern with the civilians/bureaucracy without realising that the government has an approved policy of 10 per cent quota for serving/retired military officers in selected civil departments.
* Employment of Army in civilian sector should be very selective. Prolong employment of Army in civilian areas does not augur well for the Army.
* No matter what reasons are, military occupying the political space is an anathema for any good civil-military relationship. Other than eroding its own professionalism, military rule or quasi-military rule further aggravates the wedge between civil and military.
* Due to limited knowledge and interaction with the Army, the privileges authorised to the senior officers are portrayed as unjustified extravaganza. Lack of information on the system of accountability for the military hierarchy lends credence to this notion.
* Intelligence community needs to be more innovative in their technique. Issue of missing persons being played in the media is a tributary of the same phenomenon. ISI/MI should not be used for political manipulation/wheeling - dealing.
* The internally organised system of welfare measures for the Armed Forces has dwelled into a sizeable corporate sector. It is a rich source of re-employment of skilled manpower besides being a considerable contributor to the national economy.
Stable civil-military relations are critical for a democratic polity and progress of society. Politics, all over the world is a messy affair. Democracy is not an ideal form of political system; but it is the best out of all available. It always takes time to adjust and grow in accordance with existing environment. There will always be crises, chaos, but be patient and allow it to muddle through. Democracy is not about efficient government; it is about self-government. Government of the people, by the people, for the people. All developed societies and polities exercise civilian control over military and not vice versa. This poses a challenge to civilian authorities to educate themselves on military matters. Government and opposition must make efforts to select suitable members for Standing Committees for Defence in case they desire for a meaning full parliamentary oversight of defence matters. There should be a forum, like NSC, where security matters are discussed and deliberated between the civilian and military authorities. The forum will afford opportunities to military leadership to highlight the issues pertaining to national security. The interaction will help both to understand each other rather than listening about each other through media or other means. Rule of law is the essence of a good democratic polity. It should be strictly adhered to by all stakeholders without exception. Constitution, being the fundamental law of the land, should never be allowed to be violated by any individual/group.
Militarys initiatives for improving CMR
* Role in general elections - Feb 08
* Return of serving officer from civil department
* Non-interference/involvement in politics
* Resolve to act in accordance to its constitutional role
* Breakdown of defence budget for discussion in parliament
* Assist Government/parliament to take the ownership of security policy
* Suspend work on construction of new GHQ
The central problem of civil-military relations is civilian control of the military, but it should be objective and not subjective - for obvious reasons the civilian control must be effective in order for the military to accept civilian supremacy. The issue however, is the lack of capacity amongst the legislators/civilians to understand the issues that military brings to the table.
For smooth functioning of the system, all pillars of the state need to work within their well-defined parameters in accordance with their respective roles as laid down in the constitution. They need to work in harmony and should remain involved in strategic decision-making. Wars, including war on terrorism, are fought by nations and not armed forces alone. Wars cannot be won without public support; armed forces require full public backing while fighting on the front.