Saturday, March 22, 2014

Is Pakistan a Warrior State? Or a Failed State?

The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World by Canada's McGill University Professor Thazha Varkey Paul, a graduate of India's Jawaharlal Nehru University, describes Pakistan as a "warrior state" and a "conspicuous failure". It is among a slew of recently published anti-Pakistan books by mainly Indian and western authors which paint Pakistan as a rogue state which deserves to be condemned, isolated and sanctioned by the international community.

As Pakistanis celebrate 74th anniversary of the 1940 Lahore Resolution calling for the partition of India, it is important to examine TV Paul's narrative about Pakistan and fact-check the assertions underlying his narrative.

Here's a point-by-point response to Paul's narrative:

1. Paul argues: Seemingly from its birth, Pakistan has teetered on the brink of becoming a failed state.

In 1947 at the time of independence, Pakistan was described as a "Nissen hut or a tent" by British Viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten in a conversation with Jawarhar Lal Nehru. However, Pakistan defied this expectation that it would not survive as an independent nation and the partition of India would be quickly reversed. Pakistan not only survived but thrived with its economic growth rate easily exceeding the "Hindu growth rate" in India for most of its history.

Agriculture Value Added Per Capita in 2000 US $. Source: World Bank


Even now when the economic growth rate has considerably slowed, Pakistan has lower levels of poverty and hunger than its neighbor India, according UNDP and IFPRI. The key reason for lower poverty in Pakistan is its per capita value added in agriculture which is twice that of India. Agriculture employs 40% of Pakistanis and 60% of Indians. The poor state of rural India can be gauged by the fact that an Indian farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes.



2. Paul: Its economy is as dysfunctional as its political system is corrupt; both rely heavily on international aid for their existence.



The fact is that foreign to aid to Pakistan has been declining as a percentage of its GDP since 1960s when it reached a peak of 11% of GDP in 1963. Today, foreign aid makes up less than 2% of its GDP of $240 billion.

Foreign Aid as Percentage of Pakistan GDP. Source: World Bank


3. Paul: Taliban forces occupy 30 percent of the country.

 The Taliban "occupy" a small part of FATA called North Waziristan which is about 4,700 sq kilometers, about 0.5% of its 796,000 sq kilometers area. Talking about insurgents "occupying" territory, about 40% of Indian territory is held by Maoist insurgents in the "red corridor" in Central India, according to Indian security analyst Bharat Verma.

4. Paul: It possesses over a hundred nuclear weapons that could easily fall into terrorists' hands.

A recent assessment by Nuclear Threat Initiative ranked Pakistan above India on "Nuclear Materials Security Index".

5. Paul: Why, in an era when countries across the developing world are experiencing impressive economic growth and building democratic institutions, has Pakistan been such a conspicuous failure?

Pakistan's nominal GDP has quadrupled from $60 billion in 2000 to $240 billion now. Along with total GDP, Pakistan's GDP per capita has also grown significantly over the years, from about $500 in Year 2000 to $1000 per person in 2007 on President Musharraf's watch, elevating it from a low-income to a middle-income country in the last decade.I wouldn't call that a failure.


Pakistan Per Capita GDP 1960-2012. Source: World Bank 


Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill, the economist who coined BRIC, has put Pakistan among the Next 11 group in terms of growth in the next several decades.

6. Paul argues that the "geostrategic curse"--akin to the "resource curse" that plagues oil-rich autocracies--is at the root of Pakistan's unique inability to progress. Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has been at the center of major geopolitical struggles: the US-Soviet rivalry, the conflict with India, and most recently the post 9/11 wars.

Pakistan is no more a warrior state that many others in the world. It spends no more than 3% of its GDP on defense, lower than most of the nations of the world.

7. Paul says: No matter how ineffective the regime is, massive foreign aid keeps pouring in from major powers and their allies with a stake in the region.The reliability of such aid defuses any pressure on political elites to launch the far-reaching domestic reforms necessary to promote sustained growth, higher standards of living, and more stable democratic institutions.

"Massive foreign aid" adds up to less than 1% of Pakistan's GDP. Pakistan's diaspora sends it over 5% of Pakistan's GDP in remittances.

8. Paul: Excessive war-making efforts have drained Pakistan's limited economic resources without making the country safer or more stable. Indeed, despite the regime's emphasis on security, the country continues to be beset by widespread violence and terrorism.

Pakistan Defense Spending as % of GDP Source: World Indicators


 In spite of spending just 3.5% of its GDP which is average for its size, Pakistan has achieved strategic parity with India by developing nuclear weapons. It has since prevented India from invading Pakistan as it did in 1971 to break up the country. Pakistani military has shown in Swat in 2009 that it is quite capable of dealing with insurgents when ordered to do so by the civilian govt.

Growth in Asia's Middle Class. Source: Asian Development Bank


While it is true that Pakistan has not lived up to its potential when compared with other US Cold War allies in East and Southeast Asia, it is wrong to describe it as "conspicuous failure". A possible explanation for it could be the fact that Pakistan did not have the US security guarantees that South Korea, Japan and Taiwan enjoyed. Pakistan should be compared with other countries in South Asia region, not East Asia or Southeast Asia. Comparison with its South Asian neighbors India and Bangladesh shows that an average Pakistani is less poor, less hungry and more upwardly mobile, according to credible data from multiple independent sources.

Pakistan is neither a "warrior state" nor a "conspicuous failure" as argued by Professor TV Paul. To the contrary, it has been the victim of the invading Indian Army in 1971 which cut off  its eastern wing. Pakistan has built a minimum nuclear deterrent in response to India's development of a nuclear arsenal. Pakistan has responded to the 1971 trauma by ensuring that such a tragedy does not happen again, particularly through a foreign invasion.

Today, Pakistan faces some of the toughest challenges of its existence. It has to deal with the Taliban insurgency and a weak economy. It has to solve its deepening energy crisis. It has to address growing water scarcity. While I believe Pakistanis are a very resilient and determined people, the difficult challenges they face will test them, particularly their leaders who have been falling short of their expectations in recent years.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Looking Back at 1940 Lahore Resolution

Pakistan's Economic History

History of Literacy in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Asian Tigers Brought Prosperity

Value Added Agriculture in Pakistan

Are India and Pakistan Failed States?

Musharraf Accelerated Growth of Pakistan's Financial and Human Capital

Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Pakistan on Goldman Sachs' BRIC+N11 Growth Map

9 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Couple of reports on Pakistani politicians promising water projects:

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government in Sindh province of Pakistan is installing 683 solar-powered reverse osmosis plants in the drought-hit areas of Tharparkar and other arid regions to provide 10,000 gallons of safe drinking water daily.

“As the world observes International Water Day, we reiterate our commitment to ensuring a well-irrigated and greener Sindh and Pakistan,” PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said in a statement released on Sunday.

According to Bilawal, the PPP government has initiated the renewal of 3,420 miles of canals and embankments, construction and repair of 3,890 water courses, installation of 1,762 tube wells, introduction of sprinkle-and-drip irrigation systems and rain guns, and renovation and repair of the Sukkur Barrage, the Dawn online reported.

Five-hundred water treatment plants would be set up in the towns of Keamari and Lyari in Karachi and the world’s biggest water filtration plant would be set up in the district of Shaheed Benazirabad, also in Sindh province, he added.

The Desert Rangers Force has also joined the civil administration in relief operation and for providing drinking water to the drought-hit people of Cholistan. This was stated by Bahawalpur Sector Commander of Desert Rangers Brigadier Riazul Hassan.

The sector commander said that the relief operation regarding the provision of drinking water to the human population in the desert had been launched at the request of the civil administration.

He said drinking water was supplied to thousands of inhabitants staying around the Bijnot and Rhenalwala open water ponds, which had gone dry because of the dry spell. He said these two ponds were around 160 kilometres far....


http://www.omantribune.com/index.php?page=news&id=164259&heading=Pakistan

Development minister says National Water Policy in the offing soon
Pakistan Water Summit 2014 highlights themes including groundwater sustainability, trans-boundary waters, water-food-energy nexus and innovative financing for water infrastructure among others
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said on Thursday that the government was taking strong measures to avoid water crisis in the country.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recreated Ministry of Planning and Development with a view not to repeat past mistakes in terms of water and this summit was a step towards evolving National Water Policy which would soon be announced by the government”, the federal minister said while addressing Pakistan Water Summit 2014.

Federal Minister for National Food and Agriculture Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada and other officials were also present on the occasion. He said the summit comprises of 14 themes and the experts would present their opinions on these themes.

The 14 themes of the summit include groundwater sustainability, trans-boundary waters, understanding water security and impacts on national security, water-food-energy nexus, innovative financing for water infrastructure, drinking water and sanitation, water technologies for 21st century, climate change impacts on water availability(droughts, floods, glaciers), research and education for water secure future, industrial effluent, water infrastructure, development reforms, system efficiency for urban utilities, agriculture water productivity.


http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/03/20/city/islamabad/ahsan-iqbal-digging-deep-for-water/

Riaz Haq said...

Retired US career diplomat Mark Fitzpatrick proposes giving Pakistan a civil nuclear deal similar to US-India deal. Here he's talking about his new book "Overcoming Pakistan's Nuclear Dangers" on Pakistani nukes:

I am eagerly awaiting the first runs of my new book, ‘Overcoming Pakistan’s Nuclear Dangers’. Publication comes one year and three-quarters after conception. They’ve been laborious months.

The book was inspired by fellow Londoner Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times, who asked in a June 2012 column why the West was so obsessed with stopping Iran getting nuclear weapons when, ‘by any sensible measure, Pakistani nukes are much more worrying’. I suppose I was one of those who seemed obsessed with Iran, so Rachman’s words hit home. Let’s take a look at Pakistan, I decided.

Successive chapters of my book examine in detail the dangers Rachman ticked off, plus a few more. I concluded that some of the concerns about Pakistan are exaggerated. While the prospect for nuclear terrorism cannot be dismissed, the government’s efforts to ensure the security of its nuclear programme garner too little attention, and compare favourably with India’s nuclear security management. In the ten years since the leakage of the nation’s nuclear secrets masterminded by A.Q. Khan, lessons have been learnt and reforms adopted.

Other concerns get too little attention. As a nuclear wonk, I cannot help but fixate on Pakistan’s veto over negotiations to ban fissile material production and the nation’s move away from signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The most worrisome danger, though, is the prospect for nuclear war in the subcontinent.

One cannot write about Pakistan’s nuclear programme without examining the ways that it is motivated by India’s actions, and perceptions thereof. Therefore, the manuscript is about more than Pakistan. One key chapter assesses the South Asian arms race. Although it pales in comparison with the nuclear excesses of the Cold War, the strategic competition in South Asia is potentially destabilising.

In the conclusions, I offer a policy suggestion for the West that will be controversial. Pakistan, I argue, should be offered a path to normalising its nuclear programme. This recommendation did not sit well with one of the statesmen who, before reading it, had agreed to write a back-cover blurb commending my book. Having vehemently opposed making an exception for India, allowing it to benefit from nuclear cooperation while outside the confines of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he had to back out because he objected to the idea of creating a second such hole in the NPT for Pakistan.

His is a respectable opinion. It had also been my view when I started the book project. If there is one tenet I have taken to heart at the IISS, however, it is that analysis should guide one’s research direction. I reached my conclusion with more surprise than enthusiasm.

I am looking forward to explaining more about my analysis in upcoming book launches in Washington, London, Geneva, Vienna and Islamabad.


http://www.iiss.org/en/iiss%20voices/blogsections/iiss-voices-2014-b4d9/march-2013-cd5b/pakistan-nuclear-dangers-d899

Riaz Haq said...

The narrative in a number of recent books by authors like TV Paul, Carlotta Gall and Husain Haqqani needs to be challenged through Q&As.

Here's what the narrative says:

1. Pakistan has been lying to the United States to get aid since its inception in 1947.

2. The US has provided massive aid but Pakistan has not delivered anything substantial in return.

3. The duplicitous Pakistan game continues to this day.

If you really analyse this narrative, you have to conclude that Pakistanis are uniquely clever in deceiving the superpower US and its highly sophisticated policymakers who have been taken for a ride by Pakistanis for over 6 decades.

Questions:

1. If the standard western narrative is correct, why have successive US administrations been so gullible as to be duped by Pakistan's politicians and generals for such a long period of time? Is it an indictment of all US administrations from Truman to Obama?

2. What role did Pakistan play in the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and the subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union?

3. What price has Pakistan paid for facilitating US military operations in Afghanistan? How many Pakistani soldiers and civilians have lost their lives since 911?

Please read the following posts on my blog:


1. "Well, first of all, I would say, based on 27 years in CIA and four and a half years in this job, most governments lie to each other. That's the way business gets done." Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates June 2011

http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/06/straight-talk-by-gates-on-pakistan.html

2. "The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with the nuclear test, does not view assistance -- even sizable assistance to their own entities -- as a trade-off for national security vis-a-vis India". US Ambassador Anne Patterson, September 23, 2009

http://www.riazhaq.com/2014/03/us-and-europe-must-accept-pakistan-as.html

Bottom Line: Alliance never means compliance...it's true of all US allies. US and its closest allies in Europe and elsewhere interests do not always converge on all issues.

Riaz Haq said...

India (score 25.6) ranks at 19, higher than Pakistan (score 21.9)at 28 on world misery index rankings compiled by Washington's Cato Inst.

According to a analysis published by the Cato Institute, Venezuela holds the disreputable top spot as the most miserable nation in the world.
The 90 countries listed in the misery index were selected based on data from the Economist Intelligence Unit and calculations from Steve Hanke, a professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University.

The formula used to compile the list involves inflation, lending rates, and unemployment rates minus year-on-year per capita GDP growth.

Venezuela's much higher misery score of 79.4 is much higher than every other country except Iran (61.6), and the top 22 countries are above 25 on the index.

Inflation is the major contributing factor plaguing three of the top four nations listed. The other countries are either hampered by high unemployment or interest rates.

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/measuring-misery-around-world

http://www.businessinsider.com/most-miserable-places-in-the-world-2014-4

Riaz Haq said...

PAKISTAN’S NUCLEAR CAPABILITY: COST AND BENEFIT – OPED

Nuclear weapons and the debate over the necessity for such weapons have persisted for several years. As opinions against nuclear weapons increase, so too do more and more countries yearn to possess these weapons and demonstrate their power. This means that we have to discover those benefits which are of such significance that a country prefers to divert a huge portion of its finances from public sector to become a nuclear capable state.

The rational for Pakistan to develop a nuclear weapon was so that the country could have the self-reliance to ensure its security. After the hefty losses in the wars of 1948 and 1965, and the debacle of 1971, Pakistani leadership understood that none of the great powers were going to support Pakistan in times of crisis against any Indian aggression. Therefore self-reliance was the crucial idea of Pakistan’s policy makers to make sure that only Pakistan should be responsible for defending their country against any Indian offensive. In this regard, we must understand that being a nuclear power is crucial for Pakistan’s survival and sovereignty. Preserving and improving national security is vital to the national interest, and expenses from the state budget in support of this objective are permissible.

For a country like Pakistan, having nuclear weapons means that it has the ultimate strategic defense. Wars are bad for the economy and nuclear deterrence is a best tool to avoid wars. A short conventional war between India and Pakistan would cost Islamabad U.S. $ 350 million per day. Now one can easily estimate the economic deprivation if Pakistan had to face another 1971 debacle without having any nuclear weapons. In contrast, to conventional warfare, nuclear deterrence has made wars between nuclear states rationally non-viable.

In this regard, the possession of nuclear weapons serves not only military and political purposes, but also economic functions. The acquisition of nuclear weapons appears to be associated with the long-term decline in conventional military spending. This is acutely accurate in the case of Pakistan. Pakistan’s conventional military expenditure has been constantly on decline since the nuclear tests. Military expenditure (% of GDP) in Pakistan was measured at 5.3 % in 1998, according to the World Bank. In 2012 that expenditure was 3.13 %. This is a clear instance where nuclear capability served as a major cause to diminish military expenditure in Pakistan.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/09012015-pakistans-nuclear-capability-cost-benefit-oped/

Riaz Haq said...

If you have ever doubted that the mother of invention is necessity, then look no further than Pakistan.

Pakistan has struggled to provide opportunities to its people for decades. But the country is turning the tide.

People in Pakistan are determined to define their destiny. They are using all of the resources at their disposal to tackle their challenges..
When Madeeha Hassan, a young entrepreneur from a small town found herself in Lahore, one of the largest Pakistani cities, she was a bit scared. She thought everyone was smarter than her. At times, she wanted to run back to her home town.

After completing her studies, she started to work as a user interface designer. Her office was far from where she lived. It was hard to find a reliable mode of transportation. So she and few of her friends, created Savaree, Pakistan's first ridesharing app. The app resolved her carpooling problems and those of many others too.

It's just not young people who are innovating. Public administrators are doing it too.

In 2011, dengue fever engulfed Pakistan and killing hundreds of people. By 2012, Pakistanis had created an app to ensure people were treated rapidly and resources to combat dengue were mobilized efficiently. In 2012, there were 80 times fewer cases of dengue fever in Lahore than in 2011.

In Pakistan, there has been remarkable progress in rebuilding trust between citizens and public administrators. Pakistan's Punjab Citizen Feedback Model is leveraging the power of mobile phones, SMS and personal phone calls.

Let's say, for example, you went to a government office in Punjab to register your property. An official "records your mobile number, along with other details of the transaction." This information is sent to "local call officers" and to a call center.

Later, a local officer will call you asking about your experience registering your property. And there are call centers that call thousands of people who use public services. As of April 2014, "more than 4 million citizens of Pakistan had been contacted" and asked about their experiences with "the departments of revenue, health, and education."

These responses are entered into the system to make public services better.

This progress comes in contrast with how Pakistan is viewed as a place of conflict. But as evidence shows, we are witnessing how public administrators and youth are taking steps towards realizing Pakistan 2.0: where people can fulfil their dreams and have the opportunity to reach their potential.

Technology is not only serving as a tool for the government to leapfrog the way it conducts its business, but, as you might have guessed, it's also helping youth become job creators and problem solvers.

In 2013, more than 70% of the population had mobile phones, most of them costing under $60.
​Today more than 60% of Pakistanis are under the age of 30. Unemployment, especially, among youth remains high. With no jobs, and lack of opportunities youth are taking it upon themselves to create opportunities, as Hassan did.

As administrators, and public, especially youth, commit to innovating and improving Pakistan, we are bound to see Pakistan 2.0 in the near future.
The digital youth summit happening in May in Peshawar, a diverse and dynamic city of Pakistan, is just one more step towards the quest to make Pakistan more prosperous and stable. At the summit, participants will focus on technology entrepreneurship, on-line work and 'tech for social' innovation.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ravi-kumar/what-would-pakistan-20-lo_b_7184818.html

Riaz Haq said...

the figures unveiled Friday showed 781 billion rupees (nearly US $7.7 billion) for "'Defence Affairs and Services," an approximately 11 percent increase over the previous year's budget, according to the Associated Press.

Regardless, much of any increase will be to finance the ongoing operation against the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), Operation Zarb-e-Azab.
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Furthermore, though the economy is in reasonable shape and the government hopes for a 5.5 percent growth in GDP in the upcoming fiscal year, analysts do not expect the essentially stalled Armed Forces Development Plan, which was put in place modernize the military with new capabilities and equipment, to be restarted on wide scale.

Speaking about the latest increase, Brian Cloughley, former Australian defense attache to Islamabad, said, "I'm not at all surprised. The operating costs of Zarb-e-Azb have been enormous. Provision and transportation of fuel are major items in the budget, and air support is vastly expensive."

"And of course there can be no mention of the nuclear program, which must soak up an enormous amount, too," he added in highlighting that this would not be responsible for all the additional expenditure.
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Pakistani defense budgets also consistently rise with Indian budgets, something which Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has previously highlighted.

The true size of the defense budget is thought to be somewhat higher, and some reports indicate 26 percent of taxes raised in fiscal 2015-16 will be allocated to defense in some form or another.

However, despite some improvement in the economy, Cloughley says the "AFDP seems to be stuck in the mud – but there's still a lot of procurement."

Much of this present procurement is from China, and Claude Rakisits, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, believes this will remain the case for the foreseeable future.

"The Pakistan military will continue to depend on Chinese loans to buy their big ticket items, as is the case of the 8 conventional, diesel-powered submarines that Pakistan is going to buy from China for $6 billion as part of the $46 billion [Pakistan-China Economic Corridor] deal," he said.

Pakistan has a long list of requirements when it comes to new equipment for all three branches of the armed forces, however, much of it from China, and analyst Haris Khan of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank says this includes tanks such as the VT-4, which will be called 'Haider' in Pakistani service; the VN-1 8x8 wheeled APC, surface to air missiles such as the FM-90, HQ-17, and HQ-9 to establish an integrated air defense system, plus submarines and frigates.

Though this amounts to a considerable amount of very expensive equipment, Khan highlights moves made by China that will streamline funding their acquisition for Pakistan.

"Since China has established Export-Import Bank of China is one of three institutional banks in China chartered to implement the state policies in industry, foreign trade, diplomacy, economy, and provide policy financial support, these procurements from China would become more manageable for Pakistan. The Chinese EximBank is based on the American EXIM for granting financial help, this new Chinese financial institutions has generated a lot of negative blow back from the Obama administration," he said.

Though he highlights there are other acquisition programs that also include the US, and that evaluation efforts are ongoing.

"On the other hand the sale of 15 AH-1Z has been approved and the deal will be paid by Pakistani funds via Foreign Military Financing. Pakistan is still looking for surplus or even new F-16.Serbia has sent one of its APC and SPA systems for evaluation along with China supplying three of its most advance attack-helicopter WZ-10 for real time evaluation," he said.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/2015/06/05/pakistan-boosts-defense-budget/28565379/

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpt of Aqil Shah on TV Paul's book "Warrior State" and Christine Fair's "Fighting to the End":

" ...claims in The Warrior State are contestable on several grounds.
One, both South Korea and Taiwan enjoyed varying degrees of external
security guarantees from the United States, so they had a better chance of
prioritizing economics over warfare. Two, and unlike ethnically divided
Pakistan, both South Korea and Taiwan were also homogenous societies,
which ultimately facilitated their transitions to democracy by insulating
them from the potential challenge of peacefully accommodating ethnic
diversity. Finally, neither Turkey nor Indonesia was even half as insecure
as Pakistan, and their main security threats were internal. Hence, as Paul
himself concedes, neither had the need to overspend on defense or develop
the tools, such as the use of nonstate actors, needed to fight a much stronger
external enemy (p. 165).
Second, he attributes Pakistan’s thwarted development to its geographic
location, which has put a “geostrategic curse” on the country (pp. 3, 15,
21–22, 33). According to the book, this strategic curse works much like the well-known curse of natural resources. In return for serving (and at
times undermining) U.S. security interests, Pakistan’s elites have enjoyed
access to strategic rents, which has discouraged them from expanding the
state’s extractive capacity to achieve the economic strength required for
maintaining the security competition with India (pp. 18–23).
This “rentier” thesis has much going for it but leaves one question
unanswered: why did Pakistan not reform itself when the strategic rents
dried up—for example, in 1965–80 and 1990–2001? Paul alludes to the
path-dependent nature of ideas (p. 23), so it is reasonable to infer that even
in the absence of U.S. military aid, Pakistani elites continued to harbor their
hyper-realpolitik strategic assumptions. However, it is not clear where these
assumptions come from, or how they stick. On closer analysis, it appears
more plausible that once Pakistan’s founding fathers adopted a warrior state
strategy in response to structural insecurity at the outset of independence,
these Hobbesian beliefs developed a life of their own, especially because the
powerful military institution internalized them. "


"Fair seems to discount the role of political learning on elite
attitudes and behavior. As the case of Brazil and other Latin American
countries demonstrates, the experience of authoritarian government can
unite political elite against military praetorianism and electoral competition
can create incentives for them to erode the military’s undue political and
strategic influence. Pakistan’s most recent transition from authoritarian rule
in 2007–8 has revealed that major political parties like the Pakistan Peoples
Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have learned
their lessons from exile, incarceration, and repression under authoritarian
rule and appear strongly committed to the democratic process. In May 2013,
Pakistan broke its seemingly permanent curse of zero democratic turnover
of power from one full-term elected government to another when the PPP
government completed its five-year tenure and Nawaz Sharif’s opposition
PML-N won the parliamentary elections to form a new government. As Fair
herself admits, this successful transition was made possible in good part by
Sharif’s ability to resist the temptation of knocking on the garrison’s door
to unseat the PPP government (p. 265). "

http://www.nbr.org/publications/asia_policy/free/ap19/AsiaPolicy19_PakistanBRRT_January2015.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

John G. Gill's review of books on Pakistan by TV Paul, Christine Fair and Aqil Shah:

As for the individual books, it would have been interesting to see
Fair and Paul examine how the Pakistan Army defines concepts such as
“friends” and “interests” in the international context. Fair approaches this
in her review of the army’s hagiographic treatment of China as compared
with the generally vitriolic rhetoric reserved for the United States, and
Paul touches on this issue when he depicts Pakistan as viewing the world
through a Hobbesian prism. But it would have been enlightening if they
had carried this line of thinking a few steps further. Shah, on the other
hand, may be too critical of the army in some of its recent interactions with
the civilian elements of the state. The former chief of staff of the Pakistan
army, General Ashfaq Kayani, for one, allegedly tried but failed to elicit
strategic guidance from the civilian leadership. Having cleared and held
zones of militancy such as Swat, the army may also legitimately complain
that civilian authorities are conspicuous by their absence when the time
comes for the military to withdraw. Furthermore, the army is the object of

urgent importunities by groups across the political spectrum whenever a
domestic crisis arises. For example, Shah might have explicitly addressed
the thorny issues associated with the army’s role—if any—when elected
officials undermine the political system through corruption, ineptitude, or
megalomaniac behavior. Breaking out of this destructive cycle requires civil
as well as military vision and steadfastness.
These lacunae and desiderata notwithstanding, all three works are
excellent additions to the growing scholarship on Pakistan and its army.
Policy-relevant and academically rigorous, thoughtful and readable, they
can be recommended highly for decision-makers, staffers, and analysts in
the policy, security, and intelligence communities. They will be especially
valuable for diplomats and military officers assigned to serve in Pakistan or
with Pakistani armed forces.

http://www.nbr.org/publications/asia_policy/free/ap19/AsiaPolicy19_PakistanBRRT_January2015.pdf