Sunday, February 22, 2009

Limited capabilities ....

Limited capabilities: The future of the armed forces By Ayesha Siddiqa

IN the past year or so, different American think tanks and research organizations have been trying to evaluate the future of the Pakistan military, an organization that is critical in the war against terror. Globally, governments are keen to know and predict what kind of management and which ideology will shape the thinking and planning of the officer cadre of Pakistan’s armed forces. The questions asked from anyone who has done some work on Pakistan’s military relate to the future stars of the military and their social background. Such research, as indicated earlier, is linked with the concern that a nuclear-weapons equipped military must not go the route it had traversed under its former army chief, General Ziaul Haq. There is also the understanding that a large number of junior and middle-ranking officers, as opposed to the higher ranks, have become ideologically conservative, even bordering on being sympathetic to the Talibaan. But is this assessment correct? More important, what is the future of Pakistan’s armed forces in terms of the dominant ideology, capabilities, and political ambitions?


The more important factor is the mediocrity in planning and generalship, a problem that has been the military’s fate for very long. The lack of capacity in planning also emanates from the fact that the army, which is the largest service of the armed forces, allocates less time on professional work and more on power politics. Thus the claim that the military is professional hardly means anything considering that successive generals have launched military misadventures to win wars and battles.


The military’s continued involvement in politics has another downside as well – it would further erode professional management at the top. The service chief, especially from the army, is selected on political grounds. In any case, it is a rarity for the selection of service chiefs, especially the army chief, to be based on the principle of seniority. Such problems influence the military’s performance and professionalism in the long run. So, despite the claims by the present army chief, General Ashfaq Kiyani, that the military can face any challenges, the organisation’s capability to counter internal and external threats remains limited.


karachi khatmal said...

is this your analysis?

its really pertinent, considering the blind faith pakistanis from all walks of life and sides of the political spectrum seem to have in the army as an institution. i mean, just the battle for the COAS shows how petty the whole thing is

Taban Khamosh said...

nah! I wish! this is Dr. Ayesha Siddiqua whose article I linked to.

Though I agree with it though, I have the same views on the involvement of our Military in the civilian affairs and I don't believe in the stories that they're now somehow "done meddling"... No they ain't!

To me the best long term way to fix is to fix our education system and more specifically change the teaching curricula and teacher's mindset in our Military Academies so we graduate officers who don't consider The Constitution as "just another brand of Toilet Paper" lol