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Dawn

Published Date: Nov 29, 2012

FIXING CIVIL-MILITARY IMBALANCE

Civil-military divide has done immense harm to Pakistan and the government through policy should make amends.

This was stated by the participants of a roundtable discussion on “Civil-military imbalance and its policy implications” organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

The discussion included members from the academia and the research community, ex-civil and military officials, parliamentarians and human rights activists.

During the discussion, Dr Ilhan Niaz from Quaid-e-Azam University said that due to certain socio-eco trends, civilian side is facing an imbalance and an astonishing decline in administrative affairs.

“Professionalism on the civil side has collapsed and the ability of Pakistan’s civil sector to formulate any policy is declining, due to inept governance, corruption and weak strategies. The result, military is perceived to be Pakistan’s most reliable institute,” he added.

Parliamentarian, Khurram Dastgir of PML-N said that freedom of speech and action is a tool to empower civilian actors and bring about a certain balance to the civil-military divide.

Renowned columnist and PML-N MNA, Ayaz Amir carried the discussion forward by underlying the importance of the army in holding the country together. He provided analytical assessment of the capacity of some of the political parties in organising rallies, collection of funds and juxtaposed it with the inability of the civilian government to act while in power.

Human Rights Activist, Tahira Abdullah, raised an important point of allocation of resources to the military, which was discussed in detail by the participants. She also rejected feudalism, tribal leaders, and Peer-Mureedi systems prevailing in the country.

The roundtable concluded with Gen (retired) Talat Masood, and Gen (retired) Umar Farooq, bringing the perspective of the army on the table, while discussing the issues of professionalism from the army’s perspective.

Some of the other participants at the discussion included media analyst, Zahid Hussain, social activist, Dr Farzana Bari Social and Malika Raza from Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf.