Pakistan’s civilian government must gain more security expertise, and strengthen oversight and coordination among its agencies to counter the military’s role in internal counterinsurgency policy.

297

Summary

  • Internal militancy and insurgency are the immediate threats to Pakistan’s security.
  • Pakistan’s polity is fractured and dysfunctional, allowing the military to assert greater control over Pakistan’s response to this growing internal threat.
  • Civilian authorities have missed numerous opportunities to assert control over security matters. Miscalculation by the current civilian government in its attempt in 2008 to exert control over the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate soured civil-military relations at a time when the new army chief favored keeping the army out of politics.
  • The military’s interests are expanding to newer sectors, including economic policymaking, since a shrinking economy could hurt military interests and lifestyles.
  • An opportunity to improve security sector governance exists in the proposed National Counter Terrorism Authority, which the government has unduly delayed.

About the Report

This report reflects the views expressed during a conference entitled “Who Controls Pakistan’s Security Forces?” hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Security Sector Governance Center on April 19, 2011. Speakers at the event included the author, Professor Hassan Abbas of Columbia University, and Moeed Yusuf of the U.S. Institute of Peace. The report discusses the complex political landscape in which Pakistan’s civilian and military authorities operate, often vying for power and supremacy; identifies the challenges facing Pakistan’s civilian government in the face of the military’s expanding role; and suggests a realignment of roles, increased expertise for civilian officials in security matters, and better civilian-military coordination.

About the Author

Shuja Nawaz is the director of the South Asia Center at The Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within. He is the principal author of FATA: A Most Dangerous Place, Pakistan in the Danger Zone: A Tenuous U.S.-Pakistan Relationship, and Learning by Doing: The Pakistan Army’s Experience with Counterinsurgency.
 

Related Publications

Pakistan Presses U.S. to Lead Global Response to Climate Disasters

Pakistan Presses U.S. to Lead Global Response to Climate Disasters

Thursday, September 29, 2022

By: James Rupert

Pakistan’s unprecedented flood disaster is a wakeup call for governments and international institutions on the need to build a worldwide response to the disproportionate burden of climate change on nations of the Global South — a challenge that Pakistan’s foreign minister underscored to U.S. officials and foreign policy analysts Wednesday at USIP. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged policymakers to lead an international effort to use the Pakistan crisis as a catalyst for a more effective international effort to help the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Environment

The Latest on Pakistan’s Floods: 3 Things You Need to Know

The Latest on Pakistan’s Floods: 3 Things You Need to Know

Friday, September 9, 2022

By: Jumaina Siddiqui

After experiencing its hottest months in decades this spring, Pakistan has been beset by torrential rains and deadly floods, leaving one-third of the country under water. While no country can be fully prepared for an environmental disaster of this magnitude, corruption and mismanagement have exacerbated the fallout. USIP’s Jumaina Siddiqui explains what makes Pakistan so vulnerable to climate change, how it can better prepare for extreme weather events and what the international community can do to help.

Type: Blog

Environment

Why Pakistan Is Drowning

Why Pakistan Is Drowning

Thursday, September 8, 2022

By: Sahar Khan;  Jumaina Siddiqui

Pakistan is currently experiencing one of the worst environmental disasters in the world. One-third of the country is under water. Over 1,325 people have died and 33 million have been impacted. The latest statistics show that over 1,600 have been injured, 325,000 homes destroyed, 735,000 livestock lost and 2 million acres of crops damaged — numbers which are likely to increase. According to a rough assessment by Atlantic Council’s Uzair Younus and economist Ammar Khan, the direct damage to roads, homes, livestock and crops is over $3 billion, which is an astronomical amount for a developing country like Pakistan.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Environment

Pakistan’s Deadly Floods Come Amid Deluge of Crises

Pakistan’s Deadly Floods Come Amid Deluge of Crises

Thursday, September 1, 2022

By: Tamanna Salikuddin;  Jumaina Siddiqui

After experiencing its hottest months in 61 years in April and May, Pakistan has been hit by a “monsoon season on steroids,” according to U.N. chief Antonio Guterres. Pakistan has long been considered one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the world. Despite a history of intense floods, the country was ill-prepared for this year’s monsoon season. Intractable political and economic crises have hampered Pakistan’s capacity to address the ongoing fallout, particularly the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

EconomicsEnvironment

View All Publications