For at least a decade, the military has not held direct power in Pakistan, but the balance of power is in its hands. Whether it is domestic politics or foreign policy, it is involved in all.
The relationship between India and Pakistan is strange. Both were part of the same country. But in 1947, India was partitioned and a new country called Pakistan came into existence. It should have happened that both of them lived as elder and younger brother, but both became staunch enemies. The visionary leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister after Partition, took India to new heights of development. India became a secular democratic country but Pakistan could not become a secular democratic country. Although Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted to make Pakistan a secular democratic country. But as his life cycle soon crumbled, he was left in a precarious situation.
The principles of secularism and democracy did not flourish there. Instead of staying in barracks, the army entered the political chambers. Therefore, several military generals took over the government one after the other. General Ayub Khan, General Yahya Khan, General Zia-ul-Haq and General Pervez Musharraf. More or less half of the life of Pakistan was occupied by these four generals. There have also been political parties but they have not had much opportunity to flourish. And when they met, the corruption of the political parties there went far beyond the political parties here. Now politics here is also following the footsteps of Pakistani politics. In other words, just as there was a lot of mixing of religion in politics in Pakistan and as a result of which great problems were created, in the same way politics here has also been de-religious.
However, the military has not been in direct control of power in Pakistan for at least a decade, but the balance of power is in its hands. Whether it is domestic politics or foreign policy, it is involved in all. It is said that the army brought Imran Khan. But gradually Imran Khan started making his own decisions. He also tried to present himself as Ameerul Momineen. His relations with the army were good for a few days, that’s why army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was extended for another three years after the completion of his three-year tenure. But then differences started and Imran Khan began to allege that the military and the US wanted to oust him from power. Thus, he was ousted from the government in a judicial coup. Shahbaz Sharif was made the Prime Minister in his place.
Meanwhile, Qamar Javed Bawjoh’s tenure was completed and the search for a new army chief began. Imran Khan wanted his opinion to be given importance in the appointment of the new army chief. But when this did not appear to be possible, he expressed his desire for consensual appointment and tried for it. But one of them did not work and the decision of Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister and elder brother of the current prime minister, who is living in self-imposed exile in London, prevailed. Thus Lieutenant General Asim Munir was appointed as the new Army Chief.
Imran Khan was not in his favour. One of the main reasons for this is that Asim Munir was previously the Director General of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI. While in this position, he said something in Imran Khan’s ear which made him very uncomfortable. While Imran Khan was Prime Minister, his wife Bushra Begum also had a lot of power in her hands and it is said that her close friends took advantage of this. A friend of Bushra Begum was also accused of corruption. Asim Munir told Imran Khan that the game of corruption is being played through your family. He did not like this and was transferred on the same day.
However, now the same Asim Munir has been appointed as the chief of the Pakistani army. Usually the events that happen in Pakistan are also monitored in India and it is necessary. Similarly, Pakistan keeps an eye on the situation here. Therefore, as much interest was taken in Pakistan as in the process of appointment of the new military chief, it was also taken in India. Newspapers and news channels were also being monitored here. Now that Asim Munir has been made the army chief, what will be the nature of India-Pakistan relations under his tenure is being evaluated. Some newspapers have published several articles in a single edition and have also tried to review Asim Munir’s previous record.
Multi-circulation English daily ‘Times of India’ has published a detailed report in this regard and in a separate news item details the previous services of Lt General Asim Munir. The paper says that Asim Munir has been appointed as the army chief at a time when Pakistan is facing a weak economy and other challenges. It is a coincidence that his appointment comes amid conflict between the military and former prime minister Imran Khan, who has blamed the US and the military for his ouster from government.
The newspaper writes that the military has historically been known as the main driver of Pakistan’s domestic politics and foreign policies. Therefore, the appointment of General Asim Munir may have an impact on Pakistan’s fragile democracy, the government of India and Afghanistan, and relations and policies with China and the United States. It should be noted that there was a time when Pakistan and America were close friends. But gradually the relationship between the two became cold and America’s relationship with India became very cordial. After Imran Khan’s accusation that America had a hand in his ouster, the relationship between the two got worse. But now Shahbaz Sharif is trying to bring this relationship back on track. The newspaper also prominently published Imran Khan’s statement that the US was using Pakistan as a ‘hired gun’ in the war against terrorism.
Another multi-circulation English daily ‘Hindustan Times’ writes in its editorial that there is a feeling in the public circles of Pakistan that the conflict between Imran and the army has reduced the prestige of the army and the disillusionment with the interference of the army in politics is also increasing. . It will be closely watched whether the new army chief will be able to end this discontent. General Qamar Javed Bajwa wanted to improve relations with India to stabilize Pakistan’s economy. It remains to be seen whether his successors continue this stance or not.
The English daily ‘Indian Express’ writes in its editorial that General Bajwa’s tenure is mixed with respect to India. He rejected Nawaz Sharif’s efforts to establish peace with India and it was during his tenure that the former prime minister was removed from government in a ‘judicial coup’. In later years, General Bajwa extended the hand of peace to India and indicated that Pakistan should start trading with India. It was during his tenure that the Pakistan Army signed an agreement to strictly enforce the 2003 ceasefire on the LoC.
He also writes that due to pressure from the ‘Financial Action Task Force’ there has been a reduction in cross-border terrorism. But now weapons and drugs are being dropped in Jammu and Kashmir by drones. It should be remembered that there have been cases of arms and drugs being dropped through dons in Punjab as well. It will be interesting to see if this happens under Asim Munir as well. According to the newspaper, Asim Munir was the head of ISI when a convoy of para-armed troops was attacked in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in 2019. He was behind the release of Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Vardhaman.
Sharat Sabharwal, former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan, writes in his article that Asim Munir may continue General Bajwa’s policy of restraint towards India for the past two or more years in the face of multiple challenges and a volatile economy. . Strategic Editor Nirupama Subramanian in her detailed article reveals that after the Pulwama and Balakot operations by the Indian Air Force and the retaliatory action by the Pakistan Air Force, India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval spoke to Asim Munir for the release of Abhinandan Vardhaman. And because of them Abhinandan’s release was possible. Therefore, the media has expressed the expectation that the relations between the two countries will not get better, if not worse, during the tenure of General Asim Munir.
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