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Punjab and the making of Pakistan The roots of a civil‐military state

Punjab and the making of Pakistan The roots of a civil‐military state

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Published by Usman Ahmad
FOR MOST OF ITS POST-INDEPENDENCE HISTORY, PAKISTAN'S SEARCH
for a stable party-based system of parliamentary democracy, which its
Indian neighbour has apparently taken to so easily, has proven elusive.
Since its creation nearly five decades ago, Pakistan has seen more than
twenty years of direct military or quasi-military rule, and real political power
has always been firmly entrenched in the country's powerful civil-military
bureaucracy. The character of Pakistan's post-colonial state was shaped by
two divergent, yet mutually reinforcing political processes in the first
decade after independence.
FOR MOST OF ITS POST-INDEPENDENCE HISTORY, PAKISTAN'S SEARCH
for a stable party-based system of parliamentary democracy, which its
Indian neighbour has apparently taken to so easily, has proven elusive.
Since its creation nearly five decades ago, Pakistan has seen more than
twenty years of direct military or quasi-military rule, and real political power
has always been firmly entrenched in the country's powerful civil-military
bureaucracy. The character of Pakistan's post-colonial state was shaped by
two divergent, yet mutually reinforcing political processes in the first
decade after independence.

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Published by: Usman Ahmad on Mar 19, 2014
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This article was downloaded by: [University of Alberta]On: 06 June 2012, At: 09:51Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/csas20
Punjab and the making of Pakistan: The roots of acivil
military state
Tan Tai Yong
aa
 National University of SingaporeAvailable online: 08 May 2007
To cite this article:
 Tan Tai Yong (1995): Punjab and the making of Pakistan: The roots of a civil
military state, South Asia:Journal of South Asian Studies, 18:s1, 177-192
To link to this article:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00856409508723250
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLEFull terms and conditions of use: http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsThis article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form toanyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae, and drug doses shouldbe independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims,proceedings, demand, or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly inconnection with or arising out of the use of this material.
 
South Asia,
 Vol. XVIII,
 Special Issue
(1995), pp. 177-192.
PUNJAB AND THE MAKING OF PAKISTAN:THE ROOTS OF A CIVIL-MILITARY STATE.
Tan Tai Yong
 ational University of Singapore
F
OR MOST OF ITS POST-INDEPENDENCE HISTORY, PAKISTAN'S SEARCH
for a stable party-based system of parliamentary democracy, which itsIndian neighbour has apparently taken to so easily, has proven elusive.Since its creation nearly five decades ago, Pakistan has seen more thantwenty years of direct military or quasi-military rule, and real political powerhas always been firmly entrenched in the country's powerful civil-militarybureaucracy. The character of Pakistan's post-colonial state was shaped bytwo divergent, yet mutually reinforcing political processes in the firstdecade after independence.The first was the failure and eventual collapse of the experiment withparliamentary democracy. Although the trappings of representative politicalinstitutions were evident at the creation of Pakistan, the intended democraticprocess failed to materialise. The country's two key political institutions: thelaw-making National Constituent Assembly and the Muslim League - theparty which had successfully spearheaded the Pakistan movement and wasexpected to play a similar role to that of the Congress in India by providingthe leadership and organisational machinery to ensure and facilitate massparticipation in the political structure - failed dismally. The NationalAssembly quickly degenerated into a forum for factional infighting and pettyintrigues, while the Muslim League, precisely weakest in the areas whichbecame the constituent parts of Pakistan, failed to develop into a national,democratic party capable of integrating the ethnic and regional diversitieswithin a workable political structure. The second process, which developed insharp contrast to the failure of political institutions, was the increasingconcentration of state power in the hands of the bureaucracy and the army.
   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   A   l   b  e  r   t  a   ]  a   t   0   9  :   5   1   0   6   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   2
 
178 SOUTH ASIAAll this led to the eventual emergence of a powerful civil-militarybureaucracy which was able to usurp state power in October 1958, and whichremains the real force in Pakistani politics to this day.
1
 While it is importantto recognise that 'an interplay of domestic, regional and international factors'in the post 1947 period had allowed the bureaucracy and the military todominate 'the evolving structure of the Pakistani state'
2
, it can be suggestedthat the rise of a Punjabi controlled military-bureaucratic oligarchy, whichwas organised and powerful enough to wrest control of, and dominate, thepost independent state of Pakistan, preceded the birth of the country. Thisessay argues that the groundwork for this 'organic collaboration' between aPunjabi-dominated bureaucracy and army and Punjabi landed families hadbeen worked out and perfected in the past, in colonial pre-partition Punjab. Itexamines how developments in colonial Punjab during the first half of thetwentieth century, especially related to its position as the principal recruitingground of the Indian army, saw the rise of a well-entrenched and all-pervasive civil-military regime dominated by powerful landlords. Thisformation not only survived the disruptions and upheaval caused by thepartition of the Punjab, but very significantly went on to form the formidablebastion of the new state of Pakistan.
Punjab and the Indian Army
By the end of the nineteenth century, the Punjab had became the majorrecruiting ground for the Indian army, supplying roughly half of all thesoldiers recruited from India. The dominance of the Punjabis in the respectivearms of the army was significant: just before the First World War Punjabisaccounted for sixty-six per cent of all cavalrymen in the Indian army; eighty-seven per cent of the artillery; and forty-five per cent of the infantry.
3
 Thesefigures indicate the highest rate of military participation from a particularprovince ever experienced in colonial India. Yet paradoxically, whilePunjabis dominated the Indian army, the military labour market in the Punjabwas an extremely limited one. As British recruitment policies in India cameto be informed by the 'martial races' doctrine, only a select group from thePunjab, mainly Sikhs, Muslims and, to a lesser extent, Dogras and Hindu Jats,were eligible for recruitment, while all other groups of Punjabis notconsidered of sufficient 'martial' qualities were automatically excluded. Intheir selection of recruits, the military invariably limited its choices to
* On these issues, see Omar Noman,
 Political and Economic History of Pakistan since 1947
 (Oxford,1989); Hassan Gardezi and Jamil Rashid (eds),
 Pakistan: the Roots of Dictatorship. The PoliticalEconomy of a Praetorian State
 (Delhi, 1983), and Tariq Ali,
 Can Pakistan Survive? The Death of aState
 (Penguin Books, 1983); Ayesha Jalal,
 The State of Martial Rule: the origins of Pakistan'spolitical economy of defence
 (Cambridge, 1991).* This argument is most convincingly developed in Jalal,
 The State of Martial Rule.
' Annual caste returns compiled by Army Headquarters in India indicate that by 1900, Punjabisaccounted for over fifty per cent of all native soldiers recruited from India. See 'Annual Caste Returnsof the Native Army, 1800-1910', India Office Library and Records [henceforth: IOL], L/MIL/14/221-226.
   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   A   l   b  e  r   t  a   ]  a   t   0   9  :   5   1   0   6   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   2

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