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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pakistan Government in Trouble?

This morning's edition of Night Watch had an item on the Pakistani Army appealing to the Pakistani Supreme Court against the civilian government.  While that may sound strange to American ears, it fits in the pattern of Pakistani governance.  It would be like the Turkish military up until a few years ago, where the military, and in particular the Turkish General Staff (TGS) saw itself as the guarantor of Turkish Constitutional Government.  This quote from Wikipedia show the relative standing of the military in Turkey, and other like nations:
The Chief of the General Staff holds the fifth-highest rank, behind the President of the Republic, the President of the Constitutional Court, the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly and the Prime Minister, on the protocol of the Republic of Turkey.
This is a different understanding of Civil-Military relations from those held in nations whose governments derive from Anglo-Saxon traditions.

According to Night Watch the military is appealing to the Judiciary against President Asif Ali Zardari, who is currently out of the country, getting medical treatment.  This is not the way we would think about Civil-Military relations.  Per Night Watch:
If some government leaders are found to have committed treason, acts of disloyalty or related lesser crimes, the Army would be justified in seizing political power.
One wonders what that treason would be.

Then I saw an item from the BBC on this same situation.

And, we have a new Pakistani Ambassador to the United States, Ms Sherry Rehman.  The previous Ambassador, Husain Haqqani, was called home over the same Constitutional crisis.

Things seem to always be interesting with the Pakistani government.

Regards  —  Cliff

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