Q. What do you think is thebasic problem with civil-militaryrelations?A.
The inability of the military tobow before the people’s will.
Q. Why is that?A.
The military’s view on securityand government is at variance withthe popular will. Pakistan is afederation but the armed forcesdistrust provincial units. They arescared of giving up power.
Q. So, what is the solution tothis impasse in civil-militaryrelations?A.
Either we have democracy ordictatorship. The military seeks adictatorship or a controlleddemocracy to continue with theirsecurity agenda. They need thecentralised state and a diversion ofresources for that security agenda.For the first time, they are realisingthe difficulty of running the ship ofstate. I believe the solution lies indemocracy and devolution. Weshould return to the roots of theQuaid. He founded Pakistan on theprinciples of federalism, autonomyand freedom. If we revert to thisdream, we might devolve morepower but we will be more secure.
Q. How has the army managedto present a discredited image ofpolitical figures, including you?A.
I dispute that they havesucceeded but I agree that theyhave tried. There are two factorsthat explain this. One, politicalinstitutions are weak and have poorfinancial resources andorganisational ability. Also, they areunable to communicate freely withthe masses. This is becausegenuine political forces have beencontinually hunted by theestablishment, and when you areconstantly hunted, you have littletime to organise. Second, becausethe army does give power to somepoliticians, it has divided the civilianpopular base by holding out to thosewho cannot win — the promise ofpower without legitimacy.
Q. You have presided twiceover a controlled democracy.What have you learnt from theexperience?A.
There is a tendency inPakistan, due to military
The Herald Annual, January 2001
“How can a political party fight an organised military, severalintelligence outfits, the president and the judiciary? It is veryimportant to create this awareness and for the press to comeon board in exposing these manipulations.”
Fighting against the odds: PPP supporters at a rally