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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs