News / Asia

Pakistan's Top Military Commander to Retire

Sharon Behn
— Pakistan’s top military commander, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, will retire on November 29 after six years as chief of the country’s most powerful institution. The army, and its relationship with Pakistan’s civilian government, has changed greatly during his tenure.
 
General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, seen as the second most powerful man in Pakistan, has headed the military since November 2007. The army chief is largely credited with halting the pattern of military intervention in politics and allowing democracy to develop.
 
However, author and analyst Ahmed Rashid points out that extremism and terrorism also flourished under his watch, even if the general did seem to break a pattern of intervention.
 
“I think there is no doubt that the fact that the army has not intervened and has allowed, if you like, given the expression, allowed two civilian governments to follow one another is quite unique for Pakistan, and some of that credit would go to Kayani,” said Rashid.
 
General Kayani has wielded power since becoming the head of the country’s powerful intelligence services in 2004. Rashid said that since then, terrorism has continued to plague the country.
 
“If we take that whole period from 2004 to 2013, what we see is a massive escalation and deterioration in the state of Pakistan, and the attacks by terrorist groups from extremist groups," said Rashid.
 
There are those within the military who believe that General Kayani too often succumbed to the civilian leadership’s apparent distaste for military operations against militants.
 
Retired Brigadier Shaukat Qadir thinks whoever takes Kayani’s place will have to face that challenge.
 
“For those who understand the nuances, diplomacy cannot work without the threat at least of the use [of] force. They are tied together with an umbilical cord. So, he has to position himself in such a way as he does pose a threat, a palpable threat, even if he is not doing anything at that point in time,” pointed out Qadir.
 
As army chief, Kayani has also overseen a large portion of the country’s national security policy and foreign policy. With the withdrawal of international forces from neighboring Afghanistan, and Pakistan's desire to see a pro-Islamabad government in place in Kabul, Kayani is not likely to want to completely step out of the picture, according to military analyst Ayeesha Siddiqa.
 
“I think he probably wants to remain in the decision making to at least see the changes, oversee the changes made post 2014, or before 2014, now which side is he playing, God knows - does he really want to finish off the militant forces? I have my doubts," said Siddiqa.
 
A common belief is, whoever takes Kayani's place, the military-civilian balance will likely continue.  However, so will other institutional policies, such as using militants as proxy forces, portraying India as the enemy and vying for influence in Afghanistan.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid