Making Musharraf a civilian leader can redeem Pak Army: CSM

November 14th, 2007 - 10:18 am ICT by admin  

“The Army is always reluctant to move against their chief. But pushing Musharraf to become a civilian leader, might be the only way for the Army to redeem its image,” says,” Ikram Sehgal, the editor of the Defence Journal and a retired Pakistan Army major.

According to the CSM, the Pakistan Army has always played an important, often stabilizing, political role behind the scenes or in full view, and will not allow its prestige and position to be compromised.

But growing street unrest in Pakistan and the dismay in Washington may spur a nervous military top brass to step up again as the ultimate arbiter of Pakistani political power.

“The Army would have to be part of any political change,” the journal quoted Hassan Askari Rizvi, a former Professor of Pakistan Studies at Columbia University and author of Military, State and Society in Pakistan, as saying.

The prevailing tension has increased pressure on the Army to stabilize the country as it has in the past.

The CSM article says that Musharraf’s desperate political manoeuvres might also cause the army to view him as more of a liability on the institution.

Some senior officers might suggest that Musharraf give up his uniform and rule as a civilian president.

“A clear break in the ranks of the Army has never been witnessed; the military has never staged a coup against one of its own. But previously, subtle pressure from the high-ranking Army generals has influenced military dictators to step down,” the CSM article claims.

Musharraf has surrounded himself with loyalists in the Army and intelligence forces - sometimes superseding more senior officers with his favourites - a practice that has even resulted in a few resignations.

While such blatant favouritism has been successful for previous military leaders, a history of Pakistani military rules shows that the formula comes with a shelf life. Eventually, faced with unrest and crises of legitimacy, military rulers have had to step down. (ANI)

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