The emergence of nuclear factor in international politics has overwhelming transformed the essence of balance-of-power concept. This dynamic is an escalation of political dimension of balance-of-power and reduction of military aspect (hard power). However some realists argue that in world politics military and political both characteristics of balance-of-power indeed shape nation-states’ balancing approach against dominant players in a system. Therefore weak players get engaged with strong one stopping its opponent’s military threat and having deterrence capability. As a result, strategic balancing comes to light. As the focus of the study is concerned, this entire scenario can be seen amid two major players of South Asia i.e. Pakistan and India. It has been analyzed that the balance-of-power politics has long been troubling due to hard power imbalance between Pakistan and India since independence. Besides the influential role of superpower(s) in the theatre of South Asian politics has also been a great disturbing factor for regional equilibrium and widening hard power unevenness where the U.S. or (USSR in past) is/were trying to maintain global balance in Asian-oriented global politics by making dyadic strategic partnerships with regional players. As the strategic triangle - Pakistan-China-India - seems quite significant wherein Pak-China strategic relationship has emerged owing to one of the very basic and common Indian factor and China being the most adjacent player of South Asian region has played a role by creating a balancing aptitude in its relations with both India and Pakistan whereas the U.S. (as a sole superpower) could not do this. While changing dynamics in India and U.S. partnership regarding strategic balancing after civil nuclear deal, Pakistan and China both have also strengthened their 60-years old strategic relationship. As a result, the strategic quadrangle - the U.S.-India-China-Pakistan is getting eminent as a new dynamic of the South Asian balance-of-power politics.
Army’s involvement in politics
It is axiomatic that military has no political role in any democratic country. Unfortunately, a weak political system allowed the Pakistan military to manipulate events, and, ultimately, hijack the state.
The military has cast a long shadow over politics in Pakistan even during the period of civilian rule. Repeated army intervention in the politics of Pakistan has been a recipe for disaster. It has thwarted the growth and development of parliamentary democracy and destroyed whatever little faith people had in their political institutions. What is worse, it has eroded people’s faith in them as citizens of a sovereign, independent, democratic country.
Marx once said: “Neither a nation nor a woman is forgiven for an unguarded hour in which the first adventurer who comes along can sweep them off their feet and possess them”. October 7, 1958, was our unguarded hour when democracy was expunged from the politics of Pakistan with scarcely a protest.
The result is the mess we are in today. As a direct consequence of military intervention in the politics of Pakistan in 1958, we lost half the country in 1971. Our Bengali compatriots parted company with us when we drifted away from the democratic path.
They saw no future for themselves in a military – dominated Pakistan and broke the country in two. We lost half the country but learned nothing. 33 years after that traumatic experience, a General in uniform rules Pakistan. Some lessons of history, they say, take time to have an effect.
It is now abundantly clear, except to those who are blind, or on drugs, that Pakistan cannot survive if army is not taken out of the turbulent arena of political conflict. Pakistan cannot survive under military rule, with or without a civilian façade, because military rule lacks legitimacy and is an anachronism in a world of global markets, information and media.
Pakistan cannot survive under military rule because military rule symbolizes the hegemony of Punjab over the smaller federating units. Pakistan cannot survive under military rule because experience has amply demonstrated that military rule is a recipe for disaster. Army is the only shield we have against foreign aggression. Why involve it in politics?
On August 14 / 15 1947, both Pakistan and India emerged as sovereign, independent, democratic countries with great hopes and high expectations. 66 years after independence, the Indian army remains bound by tight constitutional and political constraints. There has been no coup, no colonels or brigadiers conspiracy to seize power. The Indian army has not intervened in politics. De Tocqueville and other theorists have argued that democracy and a large standing army were incompatible, but India has managed both. Indian democracy has stood the test of time.
The constitution has kept the country united, allowed its democracy to survive and kept the armed forces at bay. The structure of the Indian civil-military relationship is still intact largely because the legitimacy of the political system remains high. The British tradition of separate spheres of military and civil authority has carried over. Indian officers like to boast that politics and military do not mix; that the two are immutably different and separate. Junior officers are taught to be political illiterates. Tragically, Pakistan army followed a different path with disastrous consequences for the country.
The engine of history is moving Pakistan backwards. If we are not vigilant, our fledging democracy may, after all, turn out to have been a historical accident and a parenthesis that is closing before our eyes. Today Pakistan has no choice: It is condemned either to be part of the democratic world or not to be at all. Pakistan will never be all it can be, let alone all it need to be, if army is not taken out of the arena of political conflict and civil administration.
Asghar Khan is right when he says that, “Only powerful public pressure to restrict the armed forces to their defense responsibilities under political direction can bring about a change”. This task must be undertaken today. Tomorrow will be too late. Today our fate is still in our hands, but soon it may pass beyond control.
In Pakistan, as in other countries, the business community also has
organizations or committees that perform the role of pressure groups to
protect, promote, and project the interests of members. These organizations
may cater to the combined interests of the business community, such as
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, or they may look
after the interest of, for example, the automotive industry, the textile
spinning mills, or the rice exporters.
Generally, the pressure groups within the business community in Pakistan do
not put up candidates for election as MNAs, MPAs, or even Senators.
Although some businessmen have managed to get elected, they have usually
gone thru the process in their individual capacity. There have been no
reported cases of a trade association or a chamber nominating a candidate
on an official level. Some businessmen have been appointed Ministers or
even as Governors, again in their personal capacity, rather than
acknowledging them as leaders of any particular organization.
Feudal lords were created by the “Gora Sab“, the British rulers. I will not call these landlord groups the real culprits, or blood suckers, because there is a history behind giving them powers by the British rulers, that’s the way they were ruling the people and collecting the land revenue from peasants.
It’s not easy to eliminate feudal lords; nobody relinquishes power, it has to be taken. The structure of Feudal Lords was created by British-India government for their convenience a long time ago; it is weakening with time and will ultimately go away. Our country is just 66 years old; maybe we are a little impatient. Getting rid of all the evils of slavery will take some time.
Jamaat-I-Islami under Maulana Abulala Maududi was one of the many religious organizations, others being Jamiat-I-Ulema, Ahrar, Momins etc., who entered Pakistan after independence. Their entry has been tragic, and is continuing to be so, for the establishment of Iqbal’s and Jinnah’s Pakistan. Having failed to destroy the movement, they decided to destroy it from within or control it theocratic ally. In the post-independence period they made at least two attempts to disrupt Pakistan. First by trying to create disaffection in the army by issuing a ‘ fatwa ‘ on the Kashmir War of 1947-48. C.J.Adams describes it merely as “ careless remarks “! Secondly, by creating law and order situation in the anti-Ahmadiyah riots in 1935. Keith Callard confirms that “ the agitation against the Ahmadis was led by religious leaders, many of whom had previously engaged in politics on the side of the opponents of Pakistan. However, before the inquiry commission none of these Ulemas could even define a “ Muslim “.
As early as 1951, the ulema started their struggle to preserve themselves as a class, almost on the style of a Trade Union. Thirty-one Ulema met in Karachi and announced their “ Fundamental Principles of an Islamic State”. Article Nine reads as follows: “ The recognized Muslim Schools of thought shall have within the limits of the law complete religious freedom and the right to impart religious instruction their followers, and shall have the freedom to propagate their view, matter relating to their personal status shall be administered in accordance with their respective codes of jurisprudence. It will be desirable to make provision for the administration of such matters by the respective ‘ qadis’.”