PAKISTAN

Military-judiciary nexus behind crippling of democracy, say experts

TOPSHOT-PAKISTAN-INDIA-UNREST-DEFENCE Pakistani Naval soldiers take part in celebrations to mark Defence Day at Clifton beach in Karachi on September 6, 2017. Photo: AFP
  • "Pakistani youth did not seem to choose the system of democracy and there is an inclination towards a pro-order or pro-army view"

he removal of Nawaz Sharif from the office of Prime Minister through a Supreme Court ruling is being seen by experts as a shot in the arm for the judiciary-military nexus in Pakistan.

Sharif's ouster came under intense scrutiny at a seminar ‘Withered Democracy in Pakistan – The Role of the Deep State’ held in London recently.

The seminar saw academicians from Britain and the United States of America get together to discuss the evolution of politics, the role of armed forces, democracy and judiciary in Pakistan. 

The seminar was organised by Democracy Forum at Senate House.

Farzana Shaikh, a Pakistani-origin fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, described the country as a “bonsai democracy” or a state restricted by its environment.

She said, “And yet the emergence in the last decade to competing institutional forces in Pakistan that have sought to muzzle in on space once thought to be exclusively to preserve the so-called deep state has arguably made business of conspiring against democracy far more challenging than at any time in the past”.

Marie Carine-Lall of London University’s Institute of Education, said that the Pakistani youth did not seem to choose the system of democracy and there is an inclination towards a pro-order or pro-army view. 

She also drew attention to the blasphemy law in conservative Muslim country.

“Social media during 2009 and 2014 was seen as an arena where there was a level of political engagement to a certain degree that has been reduced because now any kind of criticism be it consider blasphemy or  be it consider anti-national carries severe consequences as we know what happened to the bloggers”, said Marie.

Christine Fair, an Associate Professor at Washington’s Georgetown University, called Sharif’s ouster as a “judicial coup” and said she did not see the judiciary as independent.

She also exposed the nexus of jihadi outfits with the country’s intelligence agency, Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and Army.

Christine said, “LeT and JuD are very close partners with the ISI, not only because of the external objectives of the state but also because of the internal politics. In some sense, its unexpected if you take them out their word that they would be extended into a political party. It’s actually a very natural extension from all the domestic work that they have been doing, first to the JuD and FiF (Filah-i-Insaniat Foundation). There was a really funny speech where the rebranding of LeT is JuD and FiF have been so successful that Hafiz Saeed had to remark in a rally in Sindh “Oh my God, we are actually doing this, don’t forget that we are actually doing this. It’s not a separate organization. So, I think this is really a combination of the domestic work that they done under the guidance of JuD and FiF”.

Hafiz Saeed, the founder of proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit, recently launched Milli Muslim League, a political party in Pakistan. 

It openly organizes gatherings to spew venom against the United States, India and Afghanistan.

The nexus of Pakistan Army, ISI and terror outfits is no secret as they work together to create instability in the region.

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Topics : #Pakistan

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