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Understanding the Future Military Leadership in Pakistan

Pakistan Flag with ArmyStratfor has recently published an article which was later picked up and later blogged by The Glasshouse. Considering the present political turmoil in Pakistan it is a good article to read and comprehend the power struggle faced by Musharraf not only limited to external political forces but also from within the ranks of the military establishment.

After reading this article I would recommend you to read a commentary titled ‘When the corps commanders speak‘ published in 11th June issue of Dawn written by A.R. Siddiqi, a retired Brigadier who reviews the Corps Commanders meeting held recently in Karachi

Pakistan: The Future Military Leadership
June 08, 2007 20 45 GMT

Summary

For the first time since Pakistan’s current political crisis began March 9, Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf acknowledged June 7 that he is in trouble. His admission that his hold on power is slipping raises significant doubts about his ability to secure a second term in the presidential election slated for the second half of September. It is too early to predict which actor will succeed him politically, but Musharraf’s ability (or lack thereof) to win re-election will be a key element in shaping the Pakistani military’s future.

Analysis

In a speech to lawmakers from Pakistan’s ruling coalition, embattled Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said he is worried and warned that a change in the current political order would be disastrous for the country, Pakistani media reported June 7. Musharraf accused his parliamentary allies of abandoning him in the ongoing political crisis and said he constantly receives reports about what they are saying privately. The president went on to criticize his allies for not supporting him publicly and questioned their usefulness if they are not willing to step up and defend him in the media and other public forums against criticism from the opposition.

These comments — Musharraf’s first admission of concern since the political crisis began March 9 — show that the Musharraf regime is buckling under the weight of the crisis, which has created serious fissures within the civilian side of the hybrid Musharrafian political system. Infighting among his allies — upon whom he depends to secure a second presidential term — and the rapidly intensifying unrest in the country raise serious doubts about Musharraf’s ability to win the next presidential election, scheduled for the second half of September. If the president cannot win re-election, he could try to impose an emergency rule of sorts, but that would only exacerbate matters.

When Musharraf cannot seek re-election, his generals likely will force him to throw in the towel, and a caretaker government, whose main task will be holding fresh parliamentary polls, will be created. It is too early to predict which political force will form the next government, since a number of elements are in play. Whatever happens to Musharraf politically, the composition of Pakistan’s military — with or without Musharraf — is relatively easier to discern.

If Musharraf Wins Re-election

Musharraf not only wants to get re-elected as president, but he also wants to do so while holding onto the position of military chief. This is because he wants to oversee the forthcoming round of promotions and retirements in order to build the right team to ensure his hold on power — a step that would be an absolute necessity if Musharraf later caves to domestic pressure and steps down as military chief.

The military deck is scheduled to undergo a routine reshuffle in the first week of October. The most prominent change to come is the retirement of Musharraf’s two senior-most subordinates: Vice Chief of the Army Staff (VCOAS) Gen. Ahsan Saleem Hayat and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Gen. Ehsan ul-Haq. Currently, these two are the only four-star generals besides Musharraf himself. If he wins re-election in September, Musharraf’s priority will be to fill the vacant positions. This process will bring to the fore younger generals, among whom there are a number of possible candidates based on merit and seniority, as well as on personal ties to Musharraf:

  • Lt. Gen. Tariq Majeed: commander of the 10th Corps, who is considered to be the most capable among all the corps commanders, and who is the front-runner for the No. 2 position of VCOAS
  • Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani: director-general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and another senior general who could be appointed to the No. 3 post, the CJCSC
  • Lt. Gen. Salahuddin Satti: current chief of the General Staff who, though a bit junior to other generals, could be moved to a key position
  • Lt. Gen. Muhammad Yousaf: current vice chief of the General Staff, who also could be appointed to a critical position

While effecting promotions and appointments, he would want to make sure that his own position is not threatened, especially given the growing movement to oust him from power. Moreover, should he need to step down as military chief and become a civilian president, he would want the next military chief to be beholden to him. This involves not just loyalty but also the creation of dependency. Therefore, he could go beyond the top tier of generals and elevate others, such as 4th Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Shafaatullah Shah, Quarter Master General Lt. Gen. Afzal Muzaffar or 30th Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Waseem Ahmed Ashraf. Director-General of Military Intelligence Maj-Gen. Nadeem Ejaz could also become a three-star general and be made director-general of the ISI.

There is a downside to filling the top slots with second-tier commanders. These generals are inexperienced in political matters, especially in situations like the current crisis. Therefore, they are more likely to press Musharraf to step down if the existing situation escalates, especially with political forces mobilizing for the parliamentary polls slated for November.

Considering the pace and magnitude of the anti-Musharraf movement’s growth, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Musharraf can win re-election. Once Musharraf realizes that an election victory is beyond his reach, he could attempt to impose emergency rule as a means of prolonging his hold on power. This will only accelerate the unrest and lead to the point at which his generals will likely have to force him to quit.

If Musharraf is Forced to Step Down

Though he is the army chief, Musharraf has not had time to oversee the day-to-day running of the military because of his duties as a president — especially as a president who has had to deal with an extraordinary number of domestic and foreign policy issues. As a result, Hayat has been running the military on Musharraf’s behalf and could easily step into the role of military chief.

But the task of removing the increasingly unpopular Musharraf — especially since Hayat is due to retire — would make the process very complicated, to say the least. Furthermore, Hayat is known to be mild-mannered, which makes him unlikely to initiate Musharraf’s removal. Instead, a consensus among corps commanders and certain key agency heads would be required.

This is where the other four-star general, Ehsan-ul-Haq, who has served as head of the military’s two intelligence directorates, could play an important role. However, Ehsan-ul-Haq’s position is ceremonial, so he does not have the authority to get the ball rolling or even secure a position in a post-Musharraf military leadership. This makes the role of the corps commanders — who already are key because they are in command of the troops — all the more important.

From the seniority standpoint, Majeed and Kiyani would be the key deciding players, while Satti and commander of the Mangla-based 1st Corps Lt. Gen. Sajjad Akram would be the prominent players from a logistical standpoint. At the end of the day, a consensus would be needed among the three-star generals, who likely would back Hayat to succeed Musharraf as army chief and get a three-year extension, thereby avoiding his scheduled retirement.

Hayat’s first order of business as military chief would be to work with the political forces and the civilian establishment to install an acting president and caretaker government headed by an interim prime minister, which would hold parliamentary elections within 90 days. Though Hayat would not inherit Musharraf’s political powers, he would be the one to oversee the reshuffle of the military deck, at which point every position aside from his own would be up for grabs. That said, those who would have played leading roles in the removal of Musharraf will be the ones most likely to assume key posts in the post-Musharraf military hierarchy.

After Musharraf’s departure from the helm, regardless of how and when that happens, the military is unlikely to continue to directly run the country. Moreover, because of the assertiveness of the judiciary and the media, and an increasingly vibrant civil society, the military will have to give the civilian setup more freedom than it did in 1988, when military rule came to an end after military-chief-cum-president Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq died in a mysterious plane crash. But, for the foreseeable future, the military will continue to maintain a strong hold over the state — partly because it is the most disciplined and professional institution in the country.


6 Comments

  • BitterTruth |

    The perception of Army being the most disciplined institution is, in my opinion, contrary to the definition of discipline. The main role of Army is to be protectors of country and conformance to be a disciplined institution should be regarded when army men are loyal to the country and their core job. In our case they are loyal to themselves even at the cost of country’s interest.
    This institution has performed miserably as far as its main job is concerned. The 4 wars it fought have been discussed several times but its peace time activities are also not upto the mark. The smuggling mafia is in full control, human trafficking is another issue, point is the boundaries of country are not safe and the responsibility lies squarely on those responsible for safe guarding it.

  • Khwaja Aftab Ali, Advocate & Intellectual Property Attorney |

    FACTS ON THE GROUND IN PAKISTAN

    I want to go a step further that the Army Chief of Staff should be
    declared/ elected as a President for 2/3 years term and Present chief should
    be given extra time for his outstanding services. All other Corps.
    Commanders of the Army and COS of Airforce and Navy should be apponited Governors and Deputy Governors of the provinces and regions ( by creating regional governments in all four provinces, 2 in Punjab 1 in each province- these regions already exist based on language, culture and history , such as Saraiki, Potahari, Upper Sind-Sukkar, Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP and Gawadar- Balouch Area )The same time army brass should not have any influence on federal, provincial and local elections or its results.And all additional bureaucrates who love to live in provincial capitals should be trasfered to these remore areas of the country. These new regions should invite and attrect the foreigner and Pakistani origin people to invest in the area to creat jobs and eliminate poverty.) This is the only way we can stop further intereption/ coup in Pakistan . After all armed forces personnel are wel diciplined and organized . And above all represent Pakistan’s divercified population. With this arrangement no one is loser except few feudals and industrialists, who reprent non of the masses in Pakistan. We already have a quota system applied for superior services since 30 years and had killed thousnds of innocent talented young people, why not try this arrangement for the welfare of the country which will effect none but very few so called politicians who after all deal with generals behind the curtains.WOULD THE EDITOR PUBLISH THIS LETTER in the larger interest of the nation. KHWAJA AFTAB ALI , the first and only post graduate of Intellectual Property Laws on scholarship from USA. Residing in Orlando, Florida.U.S.A. at 4418 St. Georges Court, Kissimmee, Fl.34746 Phone. 407-729-3983 & 407-397-1376

  • KHWAJA AFTAB ALI, Advocate & I.P. Attorney |

    FACTS ON THE GROUND IN PAKISTAN.Reference to the Islamic history and Pakistan’s independance period, I want to go a step further and will recomend to select/elect every Chief of Army staff as president after retirement and the present Army chief should be be given extra time for his oustanding services at national and international level and all other Corps. Commanders of the Army and COS of Airforce and Navy should be apponited Governors and Deputy Governors of the provinces and regions ( by creating regional governments in all four provinces, 2 in Punjab 1 in each province- these regions already exist based on language, culture and history , such as Saraiki, Potahari, Upper Sind-Sukkar, Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP and Gawadar- Balouch Area. And all additional bureaucrates who love to live in provincial capitals should be trasfered to these remote areas of the country. These new regions should invite and attrect the foreigner and Pakistani origin people to invest in the area to creat jobs and eliminate poverty.) This is the only way we can stop further intereption/ coup in Pakistan . After all armed forces personnel are wel diciplined and organized . And above all represent Pakistan’s divercified population. With this arrangement no one is loser except few feudals and industrialists, who reprent non of the masses in Pakistan. We already have a quota system applied for superior services since 30 years and had killed thousands of innocent talented young people, why not try this arrangement for the welfare of the country which will effect none but very few so called politicians who after all deal with generals behind the curtains.And it’s good to know that supporters of these politician are 500/600 Mafia families who live in 125 districts in Pakistan and provide so called public leadership for national, provincial and local levels. All 8000/9000 candidates in recent elections were from the same mafia group who are the biggest law breakers and around 1000 leading law breaker are been elected as new law makers who will take care of them but none. They all involved in worst kind ofcrimes on this earth against humanity.An enquiry by a nuetral agency may prove my claim.WOULD THE EDITOR PUBLISH THIS LETTER in the larger interest of the nation. KHWAJA AFTAB ALI,(a former Secretary Iranian Embassy, Saudi Arabia,1975-88), first and only post graduate of Intellectual Property Laws on scholarship from USA. Residing in Orlando, Florida.U.S.A.

  • wali adnan ali empra of tali (uk) |

    aslamalikum respectid elders and brothers, and sisters.
    iv have been fiting my case in the united kingdom, along with the hole of pakistan high coomisioners office based in london, and mashallah we have made a big improvment in the past 2 weeks, of liqudating the country as one big giant company under the raighn of qween elizibeth the 2nd, and we have come to a conclusion that a ne wislamic province has been formed under the act of theft of 6 political projects, and high treason of me the wali adnan ali bin mohammad aslam/arsal, bin sultana shakeela begum, i have managed to liqudate the whole assets of the qween elizebeth II, which are her caverly, qweens guards,the british army and all regiments. the mI6 services, the MI5 services, new scotland yard services, and the metroploitan police force, and the fire (brigade services), i have allso liqudating all members of the parliment based in the united kingdom and that includes the scottish goverment.
    i am on the liqdation on liqudating every group and aspects of the goverment to an extent to make all goverment body reduntant with a 2 year pay for any losses out of my genarocity. i dont have enouf money left so can u please deposit £20,000 in the following acount for admin work
    the acount informaion is
    mr a ali s/c 11.05.81. a/c01.81.05.48
    wali adnan ali empra of pakistan/ tali and more for time being. kudafiz.

  • wali adnan ali empra of tali (uk) |

    Behind the level of under standing of the elligel back benching (unaothorised and regulated) are a society of englan qween elizebeth II and her parlimentries (elected goverment)each equivelent of a level of understanding and managing in to a given society of anxiety and major down fall potentiol, in work related enviroments whether its self employed, employed through a vast company’s (ltd)
    students who are in a well adapt social happy out going, ablr to relate to peaple on a wide variety of backgrounds” which who in full time development’s eg; nursery, primary school, secondary school, collage and further developments of entry to university to all across the united kingdom which was once called, the new name is T A L I islamic province………………………………………….
    allso the contamination of data which beds in to the library in stored books of articles, the setting formats of MAJOR TAMPERING………………………………..
    Published articles, items of daily use are of requirements to engage in to social and fundlemental and profit organisations to fund and prss further in to a public society where a new age society are trying develop and creat a new standing potentiol of carea..

    Now where the corruption is concernd it is time to eradicte the total hate and glossy built up by a foreighners and qweeen elizebeth II and her parlimenteries, where one cancome and take controll and impliment a knowlode of every section possible to observe at a distance of knowing and funding in £££.
    It is easy to distinguish and gain controll to where the possabilty of breach and thefteg; political invention’s not only on the street but in all political departments and buldings of a controlled (so controll)
    …………………..OVERTHROWNED……………………
    Please do not copy write any thing (especialy foreighn countrys as i am a WALI ADNAN ALI EMPRA OF THE NEW FOUND ISLAMIC PROVINCE COUNTRY T A L I HEAD QUATERZ
    PAAK-STAAN………………………………………….

    wali adnan ali empra

  • PAKISTAAN |

    I would like to put forward a piece of information which was collected by man named HARUN YAHYA followed by a shor verse from the Holy Quran, staes in his own book”
    QUICK GRASP of FAITH

    In the eyes of alla, superiority is not based on the possessions, position, beauty or anything else a person may posses, but only on his nearness to allah, that is, his piety.
    ALAH SAYS; mankinde! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peaples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in Allah’s sight is the one with the greatets piety. Allah is all-knowing and all-aware. (Surat al-Hujurat)

    harun yahya wali adnan ali empra