Pak's future depends on who becomes the next army chief

09 Oct 2016 | Written by Ramya ; Edited by Vaneet Randhawa

While Pakistan's international relations are deteriorating over the rising militancy threat, the Indo-Pak ties have entered a crisis mode over Kashmir, Balochistan, and the increasing use of proxy forces.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is single-handedly balancing the military and the civil bureaucracy.

Pakistan's situation largely depends on who becomes the next Chief of Army Staff after Gen. Raheel Sharif's retirement in Nov'16.

In context: Next Pakistani Army Chief - A complicated decision?

IntroductionSeparation of powers in Pakistan

Over the last two years, Pakistan has witnessed a separation of powers between the army and government.

The General Raheel Sharif-led military decides the national security policy, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif-led civilian side manages the public services and the economy.

The aspects of internal security - which the military is willing to delegate - are also looked after by the civilian government.

Power SeparationReturn of the diarchy in Pakistan?

Observers feel that the current situation of power separation in Pakistan seems like a silent return of the diarchy to the system during 1919-1947.

In that period, the British Raj had realized the impossibility of governing without some kind of democratic consent.

However, they were also equally convinced that the politicians could not be trusted with the power to command the defence forces.

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DiarchyWhat is "diarchy"?

Diarchy is a double governance system introduced for the British Indian provinces by the 1919 Government of India Act.

Diarchs (two individuals) are joint heads of the state, with similar ranks but different prestige; one is a superior while the other inferior.

After independence, India's strong civilian leadership ended the diarchy.

However, the political zero-sum fight in Pakistan reinforced diarchy attitude in the army.

Sharif's InterestsThe military's distrust

The case of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - for whom there is a deeper distrust among the military - impacts the current situation.

There are long-standing claims that Sharif's business interests in steel and sugar drive his "conciliatory approach" to India rather than nationalistic ideals and interests.

These widely-circulated rumors have damaged the current situation and turned it in the Pakistani military's favor.

Three successful military coups

There have been three successful military coups in Pakistan during which serious political crises compelled the military to dismiss the government. Nawaz Sharif had faced a similar situation in 2013-14. To avoid a coup, he handed over the foreign policy decision-making powers to Gen. Sharif.

Gen. Raheel SharifThe most highly-respected COAS in Pak's history

General Raheel Sharif became Pakistani Army's 15th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on 29 Nov'13; he will retire in Nov'16.

He has been honored with four service medals, two non-operational military awards, six commemorative medals, and five foreign awards, including the US' 'Legion of Merit' medal.

His heroism, successes in improving security, and strengthening democracy without overpowering the government won him immense public support.

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09 Oct 2016Pak's future depends on who becomes the next army chief

Sharif flying through the storm

The opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led by former cricketer Imran Khan declared that military rule would be much better than PM Sharif's corrupt democracy. Selection of the army chief, Indo-Pak tensions, and mounting pressure from the opposition have created a dramatic atmosphere in Pakistan.

ContendersThe power to choose Gen. Sharif's successor

Despite PM Sharif's "semi-neutered" state, the power to choose Gen. Sharif's successor is in his hands.

For an army chief, the support from Pakistan's biggest province Punjab and the military matters the most than that of the Prime Minister.

Contenders for the post include Lieutenant General Javed Iqbal Ramday, Lieutenant General Zubair Hayat, Lieutenant General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad, and Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

26 Nov 2016Sharif appoints Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as army chief

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has selected 2 senior army officers as Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

Javed Bajwa has been designated as the new COAS, while Lt Gen Zubair Hayat was selected for the post of CJCSC.

Both generals will take on their new posts from 29 November once the army chief Raheel Sharif retires.