Army and state in Pakistan. Part of 3. From flirting with fundamentalists to fighting them
The help provided by the Pakistani intelligence services to radical fundamentalists was then also worried about the leadership of several Central Asian republics. In particular, Uzbekistan demanded that Pakistan immediately “sort out” the radical groups operating in the country, who invited Uzbek citizens to Pakistan for religious and military training. The bulk of students in training camps were immigrants from the Fergana Valley, which has long been known as the stronghold of religious fundamentalists in Uzbekistan. By the beginning of 1998, according to the intelligence services of Uzbekistan, at least 400 people from Central Asian republics, primarily from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, were trained in Pakistan. Naturally, their training could not be conducted without the knowledge and consent of the Pakistani authorities.
In Afghanistan, the Pakistani intelligence services by the end of the 1990-ies. provided direct support to the Taliban. Islamabad sought to stabilize the internal political situation in Afghanistan, for which he needed to find and isolate the most serious structure from the point of view of the Pakistani authorities in the complex spectrum of the Afghan political field. Such a structure was the Taliban, which at one time was created not without Pakistani (as well as Saudi and American) aid. For Pakistan, the Taliban was a more acceptable political force than the scattered Northern Alliance, behind which stood Russia. However, flirting with religious radicals outside Pakistan inevitably influenced the internal political situation in the country. Fundamentalists have gained a very serious influence on political processes, primarily on the army, which has long ceased to be the backbone of secular forces. The deepening of cooperation with Afghan, Kashmir, Tajik and Uzbek fundamentalists contributed to further strengthening the radical views among the military of the Pakistani army. If officers were still in the top echelon of military personnel who were supporters of a more secular model of government, the lower commanders of the Pakistani army almost completely adhered to religious-fundamentalist ideas.
By the end of 1990's again there was a serious complication of relations between Pakistan and India. The key sticking point between the two "heavyweights" of South Asian politics, as before, was Kashmir. Pakistan claimed the rest of the region, which was under the control of India. In Islamabad, the “war party” was represented mainly by the military elite, which remained the main proponent of destabilizing the situation in Indian Kashmir and supporting Kashmiri separatists. In May, 1999 was attacked by Pakistani special forces units in the Indian part of Kashmir. However, despite the fact that Pakistan was thoroughly preparing for the operation, which was included in history as the "Kargil war", the armed forces of India provided a fitting rebuff to Pakistani special forces. 26 July 1999, the conflict in Kargil ended in the defeat of Pakistan. The Indian troops, although they suffered heavy losses, were able to regain control over all the territories seized by the Pakistani units and the Kashmiri Mujahideen in the first days of the war. In Islamabad, the defeat in the Kargil conflict caused a mixed reaction. Pakistani Prime Minister Navaz Sharif was quick to blame for the defeat of the operation of the Pakistani military - they say that this army leadership acted on its own initiative and its actions led to such a pitiful finale. The words of the prime minister caused real indignation among the Pakistani military elite.
By the time of the events described, the post of chief of staff of Pakistani ground forces was held by General Pervez Musharraf (born 1943), who came from the family of Indian Muhajirs (immigrants). It was his Nawaz Sharif who blamed the events in Kargil, and when Musharraf was on a business trip in Sri Lanka, the prime minister announced the resignation of the army chief of staff and forbade his aircraft to land in Pakistan. But by this time the military elite were already ready to act.
October 11 The 1999 plane with Pervez Musharraf landed safely at Karachi airport. The general was met by military units, and on October 12, within a few hours, army units took control of all the country's most important facilities. In Pakistan, there was a military coup, General Pervez Musharraf became the new head of the country. He restricted political freedoms and arrested Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was initially going to be sentenced to life imprisonment, but then limited to his deportation to Saudi Arabia. 20 June 2001 P. Musharraf became president of Pakistan, replacing Rafik Tarar in this post.
General Musharraf proclaimed himself a supporter of democracy, while promising fundamentalists that democracy in Pakistan would be built on the basis of the principles of Islam. At the same time, he really started a number of democratic innovations, including reserving seats for women, religious and national minorities in legislative bodies. When 11 September 2001 in the United States occurred famous terrorist attacks, Pervez Musharraf expressed his condolences to the American people and stressed the focus of Pakistan on the fight against terrorism. With this, the general made a very important step towards further strengthening cooperation with the United States of America.
However, in turn, representatives of radical organizations were very unhappy with the actions of Musharraf. When the Pakistani leadership officially broke off relations with the Taliban and joined the actions against Al-Qaida (a banned organization in Russia), the religious-conservative part of the Pakistani population literally exploded with accusations against General Musharraf. The commander was accused of betraying national and religious interests. However, this was unlikely to be so - at least, no less a betrayal of genuine national interests would, in that situation, continue to demonstratively support radical groups, which would lead to the transformation of Pakistan into a rogue state of world politics and cost the country a serious deterioration in the economic situation. , weakening military power and political influence in the world. In addition, it should be noted that as a result of the policy of the authorities, which for decades spent the main budget funds spent on the army and on supporting radical organizations, Pakistan turned out to be the country with the lowest level of education in South Asia. Despite the military power that really made Pakistan a regional power, the country's cultural and economic potential remained low. In a changing world, meanwhile, it is necessary to spend money not only on weapons and on political ambitions, but also on the development of human capital.
The consequences of the many years of inattention of the Pakistani authorities to the development of the intellectual potential of their own citizens were to be “cleared up” by Pervez Musharraf. The general, apparently, made a choice in the direction of a gradual transition to a model of secular development of the country, finally distancing himself from cooperation with fundamentalists. The general himself was worth several attempts on his life. For the period from 2003 to 2005. General Pervez Musharraf survived three attempts at an attempt on his life; another fourteen attempts were uncovered by Pakistani special services before they were committed. At the same time, there were continued constant attacks on the president by the opposition, which accused him of being the acting chief of staff of the army. Finally, in November 2007, Mr. Pervez Musharraf left the post of chief of staff of the Pakistani army. This act was fateful for his presidential career. After all, having lost the status of army commander, Pervez Musharraf lost a significant part of his influence among the country's military elite. In the end, it cost him the presidency of the country. In 2008, he voluntarily left the post of head of state, including because the army, from which he had left, refused Musharraf his support.
After retiring from the post of President Musharraf, politician and entrepreneur Mohammedmian Somro performed the duties of the head of state for less than a month, and then Asif Ali Zardari (born 1955), a native of Sindh, became the president of the country, but a representative of the Baloch Zardari tribe. During the presidency of Zardari, his confrontation continued with Nawaz Sharif, who had returned to politics. However, significant steps were taken to reduce the political influence of the army.
This was facilitated by the position of General Ashfak Pervez Kayani (b. 1952), who took the post of chief of staff of the Pakistan Army. General Kayani, a hereditary soldier, began serving in the Baluchistan regiment of the Pakistani army, then served in various command positions, headed the Pakistan Inter-Agency Intelligence - the country's main intelligence service. In January, 2008, General Kayani, issued an order banning military officers from maintaining any relationship with political organizations. Kayani then ordered all military officers to leave civilian government offices. Thus, the new chief of staff of the army has proved to be a principled opponent of the participation of the armed forces in the political life of the country.
Apparently, this position of Kayani quite suited the leadership of Pakistan. In 2010, the new head of state, Yusuf Reza Gilani, extended the term of office of the army chief of staff for three years, thus emphasizing that he is completely satisfied with the model of army non-participation in the political life of the state implemented by Kayani. At the same time, during the period under review a serious event took place, which could not but affect the authority of the command of the armed forces. This is a demonstrative removal of the well-known terrorist Osama bin Laden in the city of Abottobad in Pakistan. It is clear that the attack of the American army in the center of Pakistan could not add to the authority of the army, on the other hand, the Pakistani leadership explained the stay of bin Laden in the country by not being aware of his presence in Pakistan - but then why intelligence, counterintelligence of the armed forces? There were further concerns about the possible cooperation of the army with radical fundamentalists.
However, when General Kayani’s term as Chief of Staff of the Army expired in 2013, he was replaced by Lieutenant General Rahil Sharif, who was also known as opposing the participation of the armed forces in the political life of the Pakistani state. The new army chief of staff has established himself as a consistent opponent of the Taliban movement in Pakistan. Under his leadership, Pakistani troops continued their operations against the Taliban in the Waziristan region inhabited by Pashtun tribes.
At the same time, the influence of religious radicals on the worldview of Pakistani military personnel remains a very serious problem. Many sergeants and junior officers of the Pakistani army, recruited from the lower strata of society, grew up in conservative families, the views of fundamentalists on the social and political structure seem to them quite natural and correct. A gradual change in the national composition of the officer corps also plays its role - there are more and more Pashtuns, whose areas of residence are known to be the stronghold of religious fundamentalists in Pakistan. In fact, only the army and Islam are full pillars of modern Pakistan. If you remove these two key institutions, the Pakistani statehood will be under threat of actual destruction - ethnic differences between the peoples of the country are very large, such important ethnic groups as Pashtuns and Baluchis have their own stable identity and a desire for political autonomization, if not complete separation. At the same time, given the traditions of military discipline and hierarchy in the Pakistani army, it is hardly possible to predict the real strengthening of the position of fundamentalists. After all, the top commanders of the army remain more secular in their mentality, and many conservatively inclined junior officers never get promoted to command positions, or, as they grow in positions and receive an academic military education, their mentality will be transformed, and the absorption of more moderate ones. and secular views on the political and cultural life of Pakistan.
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