Pakistan is facing an unprecedented crisis.
“The army has never been interested in taking over … they know the environment for the next martial law is simply not there. The army wants the facts and reality of the Memogate scandal to come to light in one way or the other.”
– Hamid Nawaz, retired general/military analyst
Throughout the country’s 64-year history, there have always been tensions between civilian governments and the military.
But this time, there is a bitter feud between the government of Asif Ali Zardari and the generals.
And it is being fought very publicly in the media.
All this in a country with an economy in tailspin; a country at the centre of the West’s fight against the Taliban; and of course a country equipped with a nuclear arsenal.
“The Pakistani military is not the political player it used to be. It knows it’s not in a position to capture political power in Islamabad … not with the supreme court being the biggest impediment.”
– Moeed Pirzada, political analyst
In the latest twist – making things even more acrimonious – Yousuf Reza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, has fired retired General Naeem Khalid Lodhi, the country’s defence secretary over claims of a coup plot.
How will this battle end? And is the government already so weak and discredited that it may soon fall?
Inside Story, with presenter James Bays, discusses with guests: Hamid Nawaz, a retired Pakistani general and military analyst; Moeed Pirzada, a political analyst; and Zafar Jaspal, a security analyst and associate professor of International Relations at Quaid-i-Azam University.
“For the first time in the history of Pakistan, political forces from both sides are united in not welcoming the army. Secondly, there is a proactive judiciary. In the present situation the internal dynamics of the country are such that they will create complexities and uncertainties but the system will continue.”
– Zafar Jaspal, security analyst