'Affirmative, yes': Caretaker PM on whether Pakistan's army influences politics

Sep 27, 2023 05:25 PM IST

Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said, “Unfortunately, civilian institutions who are responsible for service delivery at behest of government, are performing quite poorly."

Pakistan's caretaker prime minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said that the country’s military will continue its hold an importance in politics unless civic delivery institutions are strengthened. The Pakistan army has wielded considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy. Speaking to TRT World, a Turkish public broadcaster, the premier said, “Pragmatically, realistically and honestly ... affirmative, yes,” when asked if the military would continue to influence Pakistan’s polity.

Pakistan Elections: Pakistan's interim Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar(AP)
Pakistan Elections: Pakistan's interim Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar(AP)

Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar was asked about the “undue influence, whether suspected or real, of the military establishment of Pakistan” and its role during the interview.

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“As far as the civil-military relationship and its imbalance is concerned, I personally view it as a pure government structure. Pakistani politicians, all the political leadership, have had a marital alliance with this military institution for their own specific interests,” the caretaker prime minister said.

“And once they are out of power, it is one of their favourite mantras to criticise and shift the onus of their own failures in terms of governance and pinpoint the reason behind that failure as an imbalance between the civil and military relationship,” he pointed out.

“Unfortunately, in our case, the civilian institutions who are responsible for the service delivery at the behest of the government or state, are performing quite poorly in last three-to-four decades .... be it in our health services, be it in our education services, be it our disaster management, be it our tax revenue collection,” he said, adding, “So, when there is poor governance challenge, the only institution which has the organizational capability left with us is military.”

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“So anyone who is leading the government has to rely on the day-to-day basis on the challenges of government and engage them to do that delivery part,” he added while also offering a remedial measure, “If somebody is genuinely interested that the military should not meddle in the affairs of the state structure, then we need to enhance the capability of these civilian institutions.”

On his government, the caretaker PM said that he has ensured that “no one, whether it is the USA or any other power, meddles in our domestic affairs.”

“We are a sovereign country, we are a sovereign nation. We do things according to our own interests. Whether that was a good decision or a bad decision to oust Imran Khan’s government, but all we know is for the last many, many, many years, that was the only way and time that he was ousted constitutionally. There was no military coup. That was all constitutional and lawful,” he asserted.

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