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08 May 2017

Nawaz Sharif at mercy of Pakistan army

The recent beheadings of 2 Indian soldiers by Pakistani army forces indicates that the Pakistan army does not wish to play by Nawaz Sharif's rule book.

The action is contrary to the Sharif government's calls for talks between India and Pakistan.

It is speculated to be part of a larger internal rift.

Has the truce between Sharif and the military begun deteriorating?

In context

Is Nawaz Sharif losing his grip?


Understanding the Pakistani establishment

Pakistan's military is often seen as "state within the state."

While the civilian government carries out its duties, decisions on internal security, foreign affairs and external security are taken by the army and the ISI.

It is for this reason that Pakistan's foreign policy and diplomacy has always been aggressive and reactionary rather than responsive.

PM Sharif's policies have had friction with the Army.


Using terror in foreign policy, the Pakistan army way

Pakistan's Army and ISI have long used terror as a tool of their foreign policy.

This has been seen time and again in Kashmir where anti-India groups like the LeT and JeM enjoy continued patronage of the Pakistani establishment.

However Afghanistan has suffered more in this regard due to Pakistan's continued support to the Haqqani network and the Taliban insurgency in the country.

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Sharif vs Army in Pak

Sharif v Army

Sharif vs Army in Pak

In January 2017, the fractures in the relationship between Pakistan's civilian leadership and the army became evident when Nawaz Sharif publicly asked the Army to reign in terrorists or face international isolation.

Now Sharif is facing a Supreme Court investigation into his connections to the Panama papers scandal, with 2 Army representatives on the probe panel.

He faces elections next year.

Army won't depose Sharif

Analysts predict that the Pakistan Army won't depose Sharif, but will instead let him hobble along till the 2018 elections. It is speculated that the army prefers Imran Khan's leadership over Sharif's.

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