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Published Date: Apr 28, 2014

Civil-Military Relations Discussed – SDPI Press Release

Democracy
is absolutely essential for a peaceful, prosperous, and united
Pakistan, and there is a need to further strengthen democracy in the
country. This was expressed by Asad Umar, MNA, Pakistan
Tehreek-e-Insaaf, at a seminar on ‘Civil-Military Relations and the Role
of Media in Pakistan’, organized by the Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI) here today.
Asad Umar highlighted that the people of Pakistan have chosen democracy
as the best possible solution to the country’s problems, and people
will continue to support the democratic system if it delivers well.
There is a need to enhance the credibility of democratic institutions,
which will happen when such institutions adhere to the law and deliver
to the people.

He
observed that it is not just politicians and the army but also
judiciary and media that are now competing for greater space in the
power structure of Pakistan. There is nonetheless a need for a strong
military and intelligence in the country, just as there is a need for an
independent media to analyze and bring to light issues of public
interest. However, there should be institutional mechanisms in place for
monitoring, maintaining transparency and ensuring accountability of
various institutions. He stressed that there is no effective system
based on self-regulation. "If one is committed to living up to the
highest standards of ethics, then one should not have any problems in
opening up for scrutiny", he said.

Ejaz
Haider, senior analyst and expert on national security affairs,
highlighted that military interventions occur these days not because
militaries are unprofessional but because they are highly professional
and have their own ideas of the polity and of their place in the polity.
He observed that historically, there have been two categories in
civil-military relations: one in which militaries have conducted coups
and have placed themselves in the ‘driving seat’, while in the other,
militaries have not taken the driving seat but have found ways to
influence policy in their own interest. He said that civilian supremacy
essentially relates to effective control of the military, which in turn
implies that the civilian enclave should have the capacity to understand
the security sector.

In
the case of Pakistan, he observed that the Pakistani military has now
decided to stay away from getting into the driving seat and taking
control. However, that does not mean that conditions which may lead to
such a situation have eradicated altogether. The military has therefore
found other ways of influence, as witnessed in the recent public support
for the military. He also highlighted that there has been no
significant theoretical scoping on civil-military relations in Pakistan.
He added that the civilian enclave should begin to improve its capacity
to understand the security sector. There is also a need for civilian
and military representatives to sit together and have a better
understanding of each other’s’ position.

Moderating
the session, Shakeel Ramay, Senior Research Associate SDPI, highlighted
that given that major shifts are occurring in the global arena,
Pakistan needs to focus more on its foreign policy.