For decades, Pakistan’s military has been the country’s most vital institution

Although it frequently intervened to oust elected governments, many Pakistanis saw this as salvation from the country’s blundering politicians. 

The military has suffered a catastrophic loss of prestige after the populist former prime minister Imran Khan directly challenged its influence. In response, Mr. Khan was ousted and jailed, and his party — despite winning the most parliamentary seats in a divisive February election — was shut out of a new civilian government

It is common knowledge in Pakistani political circles that significant portions of the military leadership, powerful military families and rank-and-file officers are sympathetic to Mr. Khan’s right-wing, anti-American vision for the country, which included aligning Pakistan more closely with China and Russia. 

Whether this internal rift can be healed will ultimately decide the direction and stability of Pakistan, which has nuclear arms and is the world’s fifth most populous.

Army unity looks likely to hold for the time being. But all is not well in the military fraternity. 

Unless Pakistan’s generals can patch the rift over Mr. Khan, the country’s political stability, its security and its future will be difficult to predict.

Ms. Ayesha Siddiqa expert on Pakistan’s military New York Times 28 March 2024

Six books provide an introduction to a troubled, nuclear-armed country - Pakistan

The Economist 6 Ferbruary 2024

Earlier this year, Pakistan was on the verge of default before it secured yet another lifeline from the International Monetary Fund. 

Millions are falling into poverty while young Pakistanis try and flee to Europe. 

Meanwhile the government, long controlled by the military, is facing growing political polarization and a rise in terrorist attacks.

Bloomberg 12 October 2023


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