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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid