News / Asia

Pakistan Government Slow on Key Military Appointments

FILE - Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani.
FILE - Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani.
Sharon Behn
The Pakistani government has been slow in making key military leadership appointments.
 
Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman of Pakistan Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, retired this week after 42 years in the military. His post has been assumed by the country's powerful military figure, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the army's chief of staff.
 
But Kayani has already announced his retirement, set for November. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has yet to indicate who will fill both posts. Kayani is seen as the second most powerful man in the country.
 
Michael Kofman of the Washington-based Institute for National Strategic Studies says Sharif's pick for the next military leader will need to align his vision for peace talks with the militant Taliban.

"The chief of army staff at the end of the day oversees not only the military but still a large percentage of the national security policymaking in the country, and to an extent, foreign policy as well," said Kofman.
 
Writer and analyst Ahmed Rashid says Sharif will choose the new military leaders carefully, given that the army ousted him from power in 1999. But Rashid adds that silence from the prime minister's office is indicative of a government that has no clear national security policy.

"I think what we are seeing is that this dithering and this lack of decision and decisive decision making by the government is playing in to the hands of the Taliban in the sense that they are trying to create propaganda value for themselves," said Rashid.
 
Prime Minister Sharif says that the only way to resolve the years-long Taliban militancy in Pakistan is through negotiation.

But the Taliban has a list of demands that includes the release of all Taliban prisoners, the withdrawal of the military from their northwest strongholds, the imposition of sharia law and an end to U.S.-conducted drone strikes

Analysts say the government will be hard pressed to agree to the conditions. Meanwhile, multiple factions of the Taliban have kept up their bombing campaigns, leaving dozens of people dead and injured.

Kofman, who said his views did not necessarily reflect those of The Institute for National Strategic Studies, says Pakistan has reached a pivotal point.
 
"Pakistan's military deployment is almost at 40 percent which is very, very hard to sustain in the long-term, unrealistic, and I am sure there are many people wondering whether they will have to intensify operations, or whether they should be looking to cut a peace deal or make some other type of agreement," he said.

So far, the Pakistani army has been unable to eliminate the Taliban.
 
A recent on-camera interview with Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud showed him very at ease. His attitude, some analysts say, is that of a man who feels he is winning. Analyst Kofman:

"That means for the Pakistan Taliban, that if this is the worst, that this is the best that the Pakistan army can do against them, then they should hold out, because if they are still alive, and if they still represent a real fighting force today, this is probably the most that the Pakistani army can do," he said.

But other analysts argue the military is only hampered by a lack of political will on the part of the government. Analyst Rashid:

"I think there will come a time quite soon when the military will go to the prime minister and say, 'I am sorry, but this offer of talks with the Taliban has not worked,'" he said.
 
After several military coups and years of army rule, many Pakistanis are deeply proud of the current civilian rule. But privately, many believe the civilian leadership will only remain in charge as long as it is able to maintain stability.

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs