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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs