Pakistan Army might face a strong challenge from rising opposition, says expert
Islamabad: A geo-politics expert believes that Pakistan's military, which controls the government of the country to a great extent, might soon lose its grip amid rising power of the opposition- Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
The opposition alliance is continuously demanding the resignation of PM Imran Khan.
"Buoyed by backing from the generals, Khan and his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party (PTI) seem unlikely to bend, but the protests have another, even bigger target: the military itself," wrote Aqil Shah,Associate Professor in the Department of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma, in his opinion piece published in Foreign Affairs.
"Many Pakistanis see the army as the real power behind Khan and the cause of the country’s political and economic woes. Their anger has occasioned a remarkable shift as major political figures speak out for the first time against the military’s dominance of Pakistan—a shift that could eventually threaten the military’s chokehold on political power," he wrote.
The PDM has been staging rallies across the nation, challenging the government.
Narrating the control of the Army over the media, he wrote: "The army’s chokehold on the media has blunted the impact of the scandal. Officers from military intelligence agencies and the military’s media arm, the Inter-Services Public Relations, routinely decide which news stories receive top billing, which op-eds can be published, who can be interviewed on talk shows, what can be discussed on those shows, and even who gets to host them."
He said: "The military has turned the country’s main anti corruption agency, the National Accountability Bureau, into a tool of political vendetta, using it to target the leaders of the PML-N and the PPP."
"The generals also manipulate the judiciary to convict political opponents, such as Sharif. Under duress, one judge complied with the military’s dictates to wrongfully sentence the former premier to seven years in prison in a corruption case. Those who refuse or defy the military can pay a heavy price," the professor wrote.
"Recent months, however, have seen a mounting challenge to the military and to Khan. Pakistan’s otherwise fractious opposition parties formed an unprecedented united front in September under the umbrella of the PDM," he wrote.
He said the opposition’s campaign is likely to intensify in the coming month.
He wrote: "It is unclear whether the PDM will succeed. But there is no doubt that the military’s continued hold over Pakistani political life poses a clear threat to democratic freedoms and the rule of law."