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Factors Responsible For Military Intervention In Pakistan Politics Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 4925 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947, carved out of the two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of British India and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh. The controversial, and ill-timed, division of the provinces of Punjab and Bengal caused communal riots across India and Pakistan – millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India. Disputes arose over several princely states including Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir, whose Hindu ruler had acceded to India following an invasion by Pashtun tribal militias, leading to the First Kashmir War in 1948. From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a Dominion of Pakistan in the Commonwealth of Nations. It became a Republic in 1956, but the civilian rule was stalled by a coup d’état by General Ayub Khan, who was president during 1958-69, a period of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. His successor, Yahya Khan (1969-71) had to deal with a devastating cyclone – which caused 500,000 deaths in East Pakistan – and also face a civil war in 1971. Economic grievances and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political tension and military repression that escalated into a civil war. After nine months of guerrilla warfare between the Pakistan Army and the Indian backed Bengali Mukti Bahini militia, Indian intervention escalated into the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and ultimately to the secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh.Pakistan’s history has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighboring India. It is the sixth most populous country in the world and has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia. Pakistan also has the second largest Shia Muslim population.

MilItary and its characteristics:-

The army plays very important role in the process of development in most of the developing societies. Now military has become key decision-making body of the devel- oping countries. In some countries they have unified thier country after breakdown of political process. There are many example where armed forces have librated their nationcountries . Therefore army in the developing countries not only protects territories from foreign aggression but they have played a significant role in politics. But in some countries it is now routine that army intervenes in political process of the developing countries. Pakistan and Bangladesh are glaring examples.

Feature Of Armies In Developing Countries:-

As many countries got freedom from the colonialism they concentrated on getting huge and modern trained army The most of developing countries spent and are still spending a huge amount to ensure their security and integrity. As a result they got huge armies. Pakistan, India , China, and Bangladesh etc are the vittal examples. They want to reduce their standing armies, but because of so many factors they are not in position to reduse. More than two third budget is spent on armies and socio-economic aspect are comparatively weak so, we see that of lives and welfare activities are going to downfall on the cost of military development.

Master Oriented Armies:-

The newly independent countries organize their armies on the pattern of their coloniel armies.Chain of authority, training, wages and other related factors were copied from the coloniel imperial armies. Now the whole coloniel traditions are dying and the armies have started developing new and modern style. Despite the end of colonialism in most of the developing nations pattern , structure and other rules and regulations are higly influenced of colonial armies.

Well-Trained And Disciplined:-

Army is highly trained discipline instituion in the developing countries. Armed forces are properly trained and are kept according to the face of time. Because of their discipline and training they are to provide assistance in political process of the third world societies particularly in improving administration and organizational effectiveness. When there is political disturbance and break down of the constitutional machinery , so the only savior is a disciplined fores that is army and this is major cause of military intervention in politics. Its severe training and strict discipline keeps in isolated from social life.

Respectable Institution:-

As the duty of army is to protect the motherland on the cost of their life ,so they are extended full respect by their people. They enjoy a lot of prestige and honour in the society. Army is the custodian of borders both terristorial and ideological of the country in the time of peace and war. This is ahonourableprofeesion in the thirdworld countries.

Army In Polotics:-

Since the end of the second World War(WW2) intervention of milatary in politics of these societies has almost always been related to major political, economical and social changes in these states. The political activiteis of milatary are generally in the reaction of tension. Main duty of the army is to defend baoders of the counteries but in developing world, army is found in politics. Main causes of military intervention is politics is failiure of civilian constitutional machinery, political unrest trend of military interfernce , to modernize the country , global conspiracy and taste of power etc . Its very pathetic that armed force divert from their own function i.e defense of the countires ang get involve in national politics. Most of the newly emerged states of Asia, African and Latin American countries are under milatary rule.

Ambitious Of Avancement:-

Many officers are trained in advanced countries. They are to visit developed countries. They bring with them sentiments of modernization their own armies. The army leaders particularly the younger and more desirous are extremly sensitive to the need of moderniztion and technological advancement. So, their orientation plays vittal role in development and advancement.

Conservative Outlook:-

Army is the most facilitated insdtitution and the belive in status QUO. Army is often conserative and they would not talk revolutionary policies and steps in the social stucture for advancemrnt. IN developing countries armies strickly follow their respective ideologies. For instance, in Pakistan regime initiated the process of islamization and appose socialism and other progressive and westernized ideolgies. So, they are the strong adherents of particular ideology and are generally conservative in outlook.

The Most Powerfull Organization:-

In the presence global situation of armed compitition , every gevernment is to stive to make army the strongest institution. They are give high standard training and are equipped with modern weapons. Because of regional conflicts space several developing countries are to maintain huge armies.

They have been spending a major portion of their budget on armed forces.i.e India and Pakistan where more then two third of the national budget is allocated to army. This is the reason why the armed forces is one of the strongest instituitions in the developing societies. A positive aspect of its powerfullness is facilitation in defence but on the other side , no government is in position to challange their powerfull position. theri demand are ever considered positively.

Influence Of Western Tecnology:-

The armies of developing countries have been influence by western military technolgy, especially war tecnolgy. Obout all of the countries have taken the WW2 type of army as their models. these nations are to creat a form of organization that is typical of an particular to super nation. Army industries is marching from good to better. Every statse is trying to gain NUCL-EAER and MISSILE technology.

Military Intervention In politics:-

It is common feature of developing countries that their politics is dealt by military. Its major causes have been discued. In some of the developing societies, some democratic governments welcome military intervention in politics in order to restore order to political life. But it have been observed that militert intervention in civilian politics o thrid world is a crusing obstruction to political development. Military intervention in the third world proved false the belief that the developing states will manage their affiars in a non military fashion.


Military Coups In The Third World (1945- 1972)


Seccessfull Coups

Unseccesfull Coups


Average interval

Latine America





4 months






7 months

Middle east





3 months






2 months

This table shows that a coup attempted once every four months in latine America. Seven months in Asia ,once in three months in Middle East and once every to months in Africa.


Third World In Which Military Occupy Exicutive Position (1976-1977)


Number of states

Latine America




Middle East




The degree of military rule in third world certifies the instbility and un effectiveness of the civilian governments since the WW2.


High Influential Position Occupied By Military (1976)


Number of States

Latine America



5(Burma,Indonesia,South korea,Pakistan)

Middle East





States In Which Military Occupy Low Influence(1976)


Number of states





Middle East

8(Bhrein,UAE,Yamen,Tunisai and Iran)



In all thes nations the leaders are fully aware that any deteriorotion in public order or the financial affairs could bring the military to power.In large number of the third world states , the military executive live his military service and got elected as civilian executive.

Military Intervention In Pakistan(brief background):-

Martial law has been declared in Pakistan three times. In the first instance President Iskander Mirza abrogated the Constitution in 1958 and declared Martial Law over the country. The second instance was when General Yahya Khan declared martial law in March, 1969 after Mirza’s successor, Gen. Ayub Khan handed over power to him. The 3rd Martial Law declared by the Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.

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After several tumultuous years, which witnessed the secession of East Pakistan, politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took over in 1971 as the first civilian martial law administrator in recent history, imposing selective martial law in areas hostile to his rule, such as the country’s largest province, Balochistan. Following widespread civil disorder, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq overthrew Bhutto and imposed martial law in its totality on July 5, 1977 in a bloodless coup d’état. Unstable areas were brought under control through indirect military action, such as Balochistan under Martial Law Governor, General Rahimuddin Khan. Civilian government resumed in 1988 following General Zia’s death in an aircraft crash.

On October 12, 1999, the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was dissolved, and the Army took control once more. But no Martial Law was imposed. General Pervez Musharraf took the title of Chief Executive until the President Rafiq Tarar resigned and General Musharraf became President. Elections were held in October 2002 and Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali became Prime Minister. Jamali premiership was followed by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Shaukat Aziz. While the government was supposed to be run by the elected Prime Minister, there was a common understanding that important decisions were made by the President General Parvez Musharraf.

On November 3, 2007, President General Pervez Musharraf declared the state of emergency in the country which is claimed to be equivalent to the state of Martial Law as the constitution of Pakistan of 1973, was suspended, and the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court were fired.

On November 12, 2007, President General Pervez Musharraf issued some amendments in the Military Act, which gave the Armed forces some additional powers.

Reasons/factors Of Military Intervention In politics( Military As a stong political group)

Military intervention as contitutional caretaker:-

A country where indicators of political crises, confusion or corruption are seen,which are to paralize the constitutional setup,the military may interven in politics. If a civilian govenment fails,there is a state of confusion, so, the most powerfull and dicipline of the country is required to control the situation. Such a force is army. So,army jumps in politics. It introduces political reform and to establish the conditions under which political authority may be returned to civilian government. In Pakistan General Ayub khan, Gen. Yahya Khan ,Gen. Zia ul haq and Gen. Pervaz Musharaf intervended in politics, because of of deteriorated political condition. The most important example of the military in this constitutional caretaker role is the army intervention in Turkish politics. Some states constitutionally in powers army to intervene e.g In china and Turkey. In pakistan formation of the national security council is a step towards this fact.

In many coutries the course of politics since independence has been assessed by and in monoply of a small group of society. The leadership generally comes from the feudal army-bureaucracy. In pakistan ,the story of military intervention and bureaucratic control of politics starts from the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, in October 1951. The story starts when an ex-buearucrate , Ghulam Mohammad become the Governer general after Liaquat Ali Khan. With the appionment of Gen. Ayub Khan pakistan’s first pakistani Commander in Chief in early 1951, the civil and military bureaucracy began to strenght their grip on power. Gen. Ayub khan teamed up with defense secreatry Major Gen Sikandar Mirza to tighten his grip. if we analyze our contitutional history ,we may find niether the politicians nor the military leaders repected the constitution. Gen. Zia once proudly proclaimed that he could tear up constitution and thtow it into the dustbin when ever he likes. He practised his quotation by mending the constitution through ‘EIGHT AMANDMENT’ . The second constitutional assembly, selected by the provincial legislatures, finally approve the first constitution that was enforced on 23 march 1956. Major Gen. Sikandar mirza the first president of pakistan,on 7 october 1958 abrogated the 1956 constitution and aprrove Gen. Ayub khan as martial law administrator. The 1973 constitution destorted by over democratic and military rulers. It has also been put into abeynce by two military governments. Gen. Musharaf once said that constitution is inferior to people intrests. Army roles in politics is now being formaulize through national security concil.

The Military A Head OF Reform or Revolution:-

Democracy is a very fragile and sensitive form of govenment. Sometimes military jumps in politics as a revolutionary force. Military intervention lead by Sadam Hussian and Muamar Qadaffi are the examples. I n this pattern military assumes power and strives to creat new political institutions that, in long runs will pave ways for effective civilian government .Sometimes military seize power to introduce reform and to boost development in the country. The progrm of ” BASIC DEMOCRACY” by Ayub Khan in pakistan is notable example Jamal Nassar forceable enter the Egytion political scene to introduce -social economical, and political which were essential pre-requisites of democracy

To Back Civilian Government:-

Final pattern of military intervention in politics include these cases in which the militry does not gain political power. But remains as a force in politicla process. Setting conditions for better performance of civilian government. In pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf played this role. The extent of military involvment in the democratic regime can be best explain by last statement of chief of army staff Gen Musarraf. While speaking on Feburary 8 1999 at Sialkot,he outlined broadly that the pakistan army , beside defending the national frontiet , has been helping the government to stblize various institution and improving the law and oreder situation with in country. He said” The arm forces will continue assesting the govenment in improving the institution performance beside aiding the civilian administration in its effort to keeep law and order intact”.

Failure Of Civil Administration:-

When civil administration and democratic institution fails to run the state ,so there is no alternative but the most powerfull and discipline institution intervenes is army. What were the hiddrn designsof Ayub Khan but appearently failure of demoratic institutions paved way for his developed disrespect for politician anddemoratic institutions. Unfortunately, Ayub was followed by Gen. Yahya Khan who along with some politicians divided pakisatan. Gen. Zia intervened when Bhutto was reluctant to arrange free and impartial polls. People and political parties started campaigns against him and his dictatorial rule and military jumped in politics. Gen. Musharraf intervend in politics saying that civil administration has fail to satisfy people. The same is the case in Bangladesh. Political unrest invites military to seize power.

Lack of Patriotic Leadership:-

If we analyze political history of many developing states, we may conclude that army ever took over power from the political leadership only to protect people from misrule and tyranny. The militry leader ever procalimed that they seized power not for thier own sake because some body had to rescue the country from abuse of state powers. After the creation of pakistan ‘Muslim League’ loss its prestige because it was a group of oppertunist. No one was serious about nation building. Analysis of political history reveal that maximum politician prefer that persronal intrests and ever secrifies national intrests. Many undevelop country remain in grip of land lards ,industrialists ,khans , nawabs, choudaries and sardars who never care for downtrodden peolple consiquintly unrest among mass paved way for military intervention.

Inffective Lagislatures:-

Lagislature is an honourable and supreme law making institution .In the third world countries ,quality of lagilatores ever remained weak. There are various factor for example, voting system, lack of consciousness, lack of qualification for lagislators , monoply of self seeking elements political barganing ,LOTA CRACY and floor crossing and irresponsible attitude of the political parties . In law maiking institution fail to satisfiey people by providing effective laws, Lagilature face lack of confidence in such a great situation people want chamge and a rapid change is impossible without military Coup. Same is situation in pakistan and bangladesh.

National Problems:-

Civil and democratic government is consider very useful and impressive to solve national problems. We see that democratic governments never tried to solve people’s problems inspite of solving thier problems,thes democratic regimes multiply the fire. Corruption ,deteriorated law and order situation ,imflation, unemployment and injustce etc ever reach there peek and democracy planted disapear in heats of people. If democracatic means fails to solve problem then people concentrated their eyes on army. Army is compelled for coup.

Military Will to Rule:-

If we study early satatements of military Generals in power, we may conclude that deteriorated political conditions and unrest compelled them to intervene. In the early days of military rule every ruler said that army have now desire to rule but to control the situation and shift power to civil adminriistration .It has been seen that militayr government then become reluctant to go back to barraks. They tried to deep root thier grip and they rule for long time so, taste of power is another cause of military intervention in politics.

Corrupt Bureaucracy:-

Thier are two main reasons for the defunct state of civil administrator setup, which are coruption and political interferance. Colonial governaments had framed civil service to facilitate governments and had less concern with people welfare . This satuation produce and developed coruption in all forms and all levels in bureaucracy. Bureaucracy has capability to mould public opinion as disired . The civil service of pakistan or the cream bureaucracy comaanded great influence over the business community in terms of granting liseces and contracts. A section of pakistani civil servants have destroy national resources and wealth with bear hand .The situation once had reach such a severe level that the central government promulgated the civil services(prevention of corruption) rules in 1953. In pakistan when Gen. Yahya Khan took over he sacked 303 senior civil servents including 38 csp officers and 16 other officers. There after Z A Bhutto as Prime Minister sacked 1400 civil service officer and intoduce political interference in running the bureaucracy . Gen. Zia ul haq introduced institutionalize induction of military officers. Gen. Pervaz Musharraf also interoduce national accountabillity to check bureaurcracy corruption. Exessive military invovlement in civil affiars is itself a serious problem.

Military As The Stongest Institution:-

As already explained that incase of political unrest and chaos , the only discipline and the stongest force is army. It jums into political arena to govern the defunct state or to assist civil adminitration at least. In biggest peace-time mobilization of the armed forces , a quarter million military personnel were employed to conduct the fifth population census in March 1998. Almost 30,000 personnel deputed to manage the water and power. Development Authority (WAPDA). The setting up of controversial military courts, which are not as man power intensive as the involvment with other civilian administrative activities,symbolizes the power of the military over the citizens.

Non Constitutional Role of Army:-

Many decveloing countries are multi-racial having low literacy rate and they are socially economically and politically instble. In such a situation democracy cannot go ahead in a soft and transperant manner. Various factors compel army to interven in poltitics because in such a deteriorated situation civil administration fails to cope with . Sometimes our constitutional michenary totally or partially fails and there is no feasible legal way to deal with constitutional breakup. Gen. Musharff interoduced a system of military role in politics in the form of National Security Concil but role of this body is criticized by our politicians. Perhapa its role is more than representative and democratic institution.

International Causes:-

Some of the critics and politicians are of the view that because of the specific importance of the developing world in international politics, global powers relutant to see these states stable and prospurous. When these states start to develop and march on the roads of stsbility ,some foreign conspirators try to destablize them .It is said that when pakistan was near to adopt its first constitution ,its constitutions was destroy. Military ruled for along time .Dictatorship was followed by other dictatoship. It is said that Zia jumped into politics because USA wanted to remove Bhutto who was Anti-American and advocated unification of the world of Islam.

Lack of Democratic Culture:-

Democracy is a very fragile and sensitive form of government .It has certain pre-requisites like democratic culture ,effective political parties ,good leadership and tolernce etc. Political parties are the spirit of modern democracy. Unfortunatly political parties have various problems and parties are not in positon to provide people a creative political enviroment. Machiavelli says ‘an evil canbe resisted by commiting a greater evil’. Majority is ignorant and nations are generally corrupt. So ignorant and corrupt nations can be deaflt with violence and force. Violence and force is possible in dictatorship .This is the reasons why we repeatedly see military rule in many states.


Impacts Of Military Intervention In Politics:-

Military is very respestable intitution for its responsivlitlity is to defend motherland that is very respected duty modern age is the age of democracy and dectatorship in any form is dislike. In pakistan intervention of military in politics give the given result.

Place in The International Community:-

In international community a nation place is assesed by keeping in view certain factors of whci the most important factor is the “FORM OF GOVERNMENT” in that country. Those states are honourable where there is is real democracy that is rule of means of ‘BALLOTS’. Military government means of ‘BULLETS’. Unfortunatly our history is full of military coups. This situation present as a backword and illetrate nation in the globle brotherhood.

Lack of Human rights:-

It has been observed that ,ilitary is to rule by means of force. According to Jean Jacque Rousseau “Will…… not force bases of state”. Overwhelming presence of military officers in civilian administration becomes a source of disturbance in democratic culture. In a military Government human freedom and liberties are comparitively restricted. Political process cannot go to develop. The military administrator are to deal with civil affiars in militay style. Militrizing civil society is therefore, dangerous so far as human right and liberties are concerned.

Increase in Military Budget:-

It has been seen in variuou causes that Military Generals are to rule supported by army and army rulers in reverse to increase their facilities ot atleat to increase defense budget. Maximum portion of national budget is allocated to military. When army goes back to barrakcks then civilian government is not in position to cut allocation of budget. Becuase there is fear of diffrences between civil government and ARMY.

Diversion of Military From defense:-

Civil administrator involve military in states affiar in order to cope with mal-administration unfortunately, military involvement is a shortcut mean. Civilian government never concentrate on reforms and to utilize civil servants efficintly. A diturbing thing is to use the military for civilian administrated work like conducting the census, managing the sevice sector, melting out justice and monitering state-owned schools an So on… It converts the military attention from theri professional responasbility. Military leaders are often unfimiliar with politics and current political structure of country so, the use massive force which cause as failure to their rule.

Distubance in Civil Services:-

When military intervenes in politics a cold war between civil and military bueaurcracy starts. Today , while senior military officer have been appionted as govener and as Chief Executives of public sector corporations, while in our history thei retied counterparts have contested election and become political leader. This cold war proves fattle for nationl development.

To relax Society:-

In Pakistan militayr government is the child of political crises, Unconstitutionak situations politicak barganing,corruption ,inflation, violation of merit social and economical problem in a democratic system invite arny to intervene. Our people are corruptby nature and illiteracy is a chronic issue here,such an enviornment cannot be cleaned with politeness and gentleness.Such a corrupt society may be controlled or reformed by means of force. Military is a source of fear,force and terror. Therefore, military government bringd timely relief in society.

Effort of Civilian Govenment to Reduce Military Power:-

Sometime civilian government tries to reduce the power,finance and influence of military or wants to bring any sort of change in army so,in reaction army officers refuse to abey that action of civilian government and they overthrow the government.



1) Political Development Social Change And Reseach Methodolgy

BY:- PROF. Bakhtiar

2) Pakistan Affairs

BY:- PROF. Ikram Rubbani

3) Web:-




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