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Pakistan crisis puts army back in the driving seat

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Pakistan crisis puts army back in the driving seat
Reuters | Aug 20, 2014, 02.55 AM IST

ISLAMABAD: As tens of thousands of protesters advanced on the Pakistani capital last week to demand his resignation, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif dispatched two emissaries to consult with the army chief.

He wanted to know if the military was quietly engineering the twin protest movements by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan and activist cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, or if, perhaps, it was preparing to stage a coup.

According to a government insider with a first-hand account of the meeting, Sharif's envoys returned with good news and bad: there will be no coup, but if he wants his government to survive, from now on it will have to "share space with the army".

Even if, as seems likely, the Khan and Qadri protests eventually fizzle out due to a lack of overt support from the military, the prime minister will emerge weakened from the crisis.

The army may have saved his skin, but its price will be subservience to the generals on issues he wanted to handle himself — from the fight against the Taliban to relations with arch foe India and Pakistan's role in neighbouring, post-NATO Afghanistan.

"The biggest loser will be Nawaz, cut down to size both by puny political rivals and the powerful army," said a government minister who asked not to be named. "From this moment on, he'll always be looking over his shoulder."



A year ago, few would have predicted that Sharif would be in such trouble: back then, he had just swept to power for a third time in a milestone poll that marked nuclear-armed Pakistan's first transition from one elected government to another.

But in the months that followed, Sharif — who had crossed swords with the army in the past — moved to enhance the clout of the civilian government in a country that has been ruled by the military for more than half of its turbulent history.

He irked the generals by putting former military head Pervez Musharraf, who had abruptly ended his last stint as prime minister in a 1999 coup, on trial for treason.

Sharif also opposed a military offensive to crush Taliban insurgents, sided with a media group that had accused the military of shooting one of its journalists and sought reconciliation with India, the perceived threat that the army uses to justify its huge budget and national importance.

India rapprochement at risk

Sources in Sharif's government said that, with civilian-military relations in such bad shape, Sharif suspected that the street protests to unseat him were being manipulated from behind the scenes by the army.

He also feared that, if the agitations turned violent, the army would exploit the situation to seize power for itself.

However, the two close aides who went to see army chief Raheel Sharif in the garrison town of Rawalpindi last Wednesday were told that the military had no intention of intervening.


"The military does not intend to carry out a coup but ... if the government wants to get through its many problems and the four remaining years of its term, it has to share space with the army," said the insider, summing up the message they were given.

"Sharing space" is a familiar euphemism for civilian governments focusing narrowly on domestic political affairs and leaving security and strategic policy to the army.

The army's media wing declined to comment on the meeting.

The fact that the military is back in the driving seat will make it harder for Sharif to deliver the rapprochement with India that he promised when he won the election last year.

Indian media speculated this week that Sharif had already been forced by the generals to scuttle peace talks.

New Delhi on Monday called off a meeting between foreign ministry officials of the two countries, which had been set to take place on August 25, because Pakistan announced its intention to consult Kashmiri separatists ahead of the meeting.

The Pakistani army's predominance could also mean it could torpedo the government's relationship with Afghanistan, where a regional jostle for influence is expected to intensify after the withdrawal of most foreign forces at the end of this year.

Paying the price

Few believed that the army would back Khan's bid for power even if it used him to put Sharif on the defensive.

"Even the army knows that Imran Khan may be a great pressure cooker in the kitchen, but you can't trust him to be the chef," said a former intelligence chief who declined to be named.

Sharif may now pay the price for miscalculating that the military might have been willing to let the one-time cricket hero topple him.

"Thinking that Imran could be a game-changer, Nawaz has conceded the maximum to the army," a Sharif aide said.

"From a czar-like prime minister, they (the army) have reduced him to a deputy commissioner-type character who will deal with the day-to-day running of the country while they take care of the important stuff like Afghanistan and India. This is not a small loss."

But Sharif's aides say a stint in jail under Musharraf, followed by exile from Pakistan and five years as leader of the opposition party, have made him realize that he needs to share power to survive.

"This is not the old Nawaz, the wild confrontationalist," said an adviser to the prime minister in Lahore, the capital of his Punjab province power base. "This is the new Nawaz who has learnt the hard way that politics is about living to fight another day."Pakistan crisis puts army back in the driving seat - The Times of India
 
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trueINDIANpatriot

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I really don't get it...If some government comes in with utmost single majority why these people are complaining ???
I had good op abt IK but these acts are making him look not so good..
Why there is no support from those who voted for NS that he should stay on???
Are Pakistani people really behind IK and Qadri and want a government change?
On what side the army is in?

Folks from Pakistan let me know answer to the above ones ..I am really baffled at what is happening...
 

Winchester

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"Indian media speculated this week that Sharif had already been forced by the generals to scuttle peace talk" :blah::blah::blah:
So it was the Pakistani army who forced Modi to call off the talks...hmmmm
 

DESERT FIGHTER

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Look a troll and a third class indian newspaper ... Most indians on PDF lovingly call "Toi-let" news... But when it suite the resident trolls agenda all cool!

"Indian media speculated this week that Sharif had already been forced by the generals to scuttle peace talk" :blah::blah::blah:
So it was the Pakistani army who forced Modi to call off the talks...hmmmm
Or the idiots recent anti Pakistan rants?
 

DESERT FIGHTER

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I really don't get it...If some government comes in with utmost single majority why these people are complaining ???
I had good op abt IK but these acts are making him look not so good..
Why there is no support from those who voted for NS that he should stay on???
Are Pakistani people really behind IK and Qadri and want a government change?
On what side the army is in?

Folks from Pakistan let me know answer to the above ones ..I am really baffled at what is happening...
Allegations of rigging in elections.. IK asks to reopen 4 constituencies.. Nothing ... He moves the court ... Nothing ... Nawaz is a corrupt politician who would say n do anything to save his *** and interests ... His whole family is controlling the key positions.. Brother is the CM of Punjab ... His son is vice CM .. Nawaz daughter is handling 100 billion RS .... And so on ....

They killed Qadris workers in model town,lahore at his residence .. Shot 100 ppl.. Killed 14 including women.. They employed assholes like Gullu butt (criminal/N worker) who were leading the Punjab police (slaves of Nawaz thanks to politicising I the Punjab police department).. No FIR was launched against them ... When they did .. Nobody gave a damn n even our good ol Gullu sb has been released..: and so on.... Bad governance ... Look at the nandipur power project billions spent n the plant shuts down I the fifth day?....

Nawaz is in this mess due to his own self n nobody else is to be blamed.... Army has remained neutral ... No statement .. No pro or anti Nawaz or Imran stance.. No a single statement ... Except today th they should negotiate peacefully ...

Meanwhile tens of thousands of ppl are sitting outside the parliament ..Demanding Nawaz to resign.
 
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trueINDIANpatriot

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Allegations of rigging in elections.. IK asks to reopen 4 constituencies.. Nothing ... He moves the court ... Nothing ... Nawaz is a corrupt politician who would say n do anything to save his *** and interests ... His whole family is controlling the key positions.. Brother is the CM of Punjab ... His son is vice CM .. Nawaz daughter is handling 100 billion RS .... And so on ....

They killed Qadris workers in model town,lahore at his residence .. Shot 100 ppl.. Killed 14 including women.. They employed assholes like Gullu butt (criminal/N worker) who were leading the Punjab police (slaves of Nawaz thanks to politicising I the Punjab police department).. No FIR was launched against them ... When they did .. Nobody gave a damn n even our good ol Gullu sb has been released..: and so on.... Bad governance ... Look at the nandipur power project billions spent n the plant shuts down I the fifth day?....

Nawaz is in this mess due to his own self n nobody else is to be blamed.... Army has remained neutral ... No statement .. No pro or anti Nawaz of Imran stance.. No a single statement ... Meanwhile tens of thousands of ppl are sitting outside he parliament ..Demanding Nawaz to resign.
Wowww:woot: Never knew this much abt NS...He seems to give tough fight to our politicians...:cheers:
 

illusion8

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I am not aware of anyone from Pakistan telling India which of their institute is main problem?
Pardon us here - I assume that the whole crack a jack started after India called off the FS talks and the dialogue - till then no one in India was keen or commented on what's happening in Pakistan.
 

DESERT FIGHTER

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Wowww:woot: Never knew this much abt NS...He seems to give tough fight to our politicians...:cheers:
He owns billions of $$$... And pays 5000 RS as tax... He has industries outside the country .. In KSA,UK etc .. And he comes from a humble background ... He talks abt dictators? BC used to please call me when free Zia his spiritual father and so on ...
 

IceCold

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Every source in the article is some unnamed person. Pure garbage by times of India.
India called off the talks not Pakistan. It is not the first time nor will it be the last, Pakistan speaking with Huriyat leaders. Like foreign office said, Huriyat leaders represent Kashmir and they are a stake holder, so is Pakistan, India calling Kashmir its internal matter does not make it so. Its still consider disputed by the world.
 

OrionHunter

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Like foreign office said, Huriyat leaders represent Kashmir and they are a stake holder, so is Pakistan, India calling Kashmir its internal matter does not make it so. Its still consider disputed by the world.
Firstly, please be aware that the Hurriyat does NOT represent the people of Kashmir! Period!

Secondly, they are just a bunch of self styled 'representatives' who claim they represent all Kashmiris. Just 2% Kashmiris are aligned with this gang of thugs, even less if you include Jammu and Ladakh. These yahoos have become immensely rich due to the inflow of illegal funds from across the border, built huge mansions for themselves and sent their kids to school abroad. Shows they care a fig for Kashmir and the ordinary Kashmiri.

I fail to understand why the Pakistanis don't realize that they're barking up the wrong tree by dealing with this rag tag circus which has no say in Kashmir? Has the Pak government made an attempt to talk to the democratically elected government of J&K?

Question: Will the Pakistan government (and PA/ISI) allow the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to talk with representatives of Pak Administered Kashmir including Gilgit/Baltistan as this area is disputed too?
 

IceCold

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Firstly, please be aware that the Hurriyat does NOT represent the people of Kashmir! Period!

Secondly, they are just a bunch of self styled 'representatives' who claim they represent all Kashmiris. Just 2% Kashmiris are aligned with this gang of thugs, even less if you include Jammu and Ladakh. These yahoos have become immensely rich due to the inflow of illegal funds from across the border, built huge mansions for themselves and sent their kids to school abroad. Shows they care a fig for Kashmir and the ordinary Kashmiri.

I fail to understand why the Pakistanis don't realize that they're barking up the wrong tree by dealing with this rag tag circus which has no say in Kashmir? Has the Pak government made an attempt to talk to the democratically elected government of J&K?

Question: Will the Pakistan government (and PA/ISI) allow the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to talk with representatives of Pak Administered Kashmir including Gilgit/Baltistan as this area is disputed too?
So now Hurriyat does not represent kashmir, Should we now assume that India does? The democratic regime is no more than a puppet regime of India. Talking to them means Pakistan accepts Kashmir as an Indian territory. Any elections held under Indian control are not legitimate till the time India allows a referendum in Kashmir under the UN resolutions and as promised by Nehru.

As for the question Pakistan has made it explicitly clear on numerous accounts that any referendum held will be to decide the faith of both and not just Indian Kashmir.

By the way has Indian High commissioner ever made a request or attempt to meet representatives of Azaad Kashmir?
 

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