The outsized influence of the military in Pakistan’s politics | Melbourne Asia Review

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For the nearly eight decades since its founding, Pakistan has struggled to find a balance between civilian democratic governance and the power wielded by its armed forces. The military has directly ruled the country for almost half of its existence through coups d’etat and martial law. Even during periods of civilian rule, its influence has loomed large, often described as a “state within a state.” The result has been a democracy where no prime minister has ever completed a five-year term. So what were the historical circumstances and power dynamics that elevated the military to such a dominant position? And does such an imbalance between civilian institutions and the military mean for Pakistan’s democratic development and ability to create and enforce effective public policy today? Seasoned Pakistan watchers Dr Ayesha Jehangir from University Technology Sydney and Mosharraf Zaidi from Tabadlab, an Islamabad-based think tank, join presenter Sami Shah to examine Pakistan military’s outsized presence in the political life of the South Asian nation.

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Main image: (L-R) Dr Ayesha Jehangir and Mosharraf Zaidi. Listing image: Pakistan Army logo/Wiki