Civil-Military Relations(3)

27 اگست 2009
Major Gen Athar Abbas
Since in our country, national security remains the prime concern of the armed forces, therefore, the differences between the democratic governments and military generally develop on:-
(1) Defence expenditure.
(2) Military’s tight control on nuclear weapons programme.
(3) Afghan policy vis-à-vis foreign policy dictates.
(4) Relations with India vis-à-vis Kashmir issue.
The military, owing to its nationalistic ethos, expects civilian government to ensure socio-political stability and harmony in the country.
Since military maintains a high standard of merit based selection and promotion system, it does not like any outside interference in its organizational and administrative affairs.
To meet the defence needs, procurement of defence equipment is also a military interest, which at times clashes with government priorities.
Due to inadequacy of knowledge regarding defence matters, politicians find it difficult to come to terms with defence budget requirements. Whereas, military feels that defence requirements must be met at priority.
Induction of Serving/Retired Officers in Civil Departments remains an area of concern with the civilians/bureaucracy without realizing that the government has an approved policy of 10% quota for serving/retired military officers in selected civil departments.
Employment of Army in Civilian Sector should be very selective. Prolong employment of Army in civilian areas does not auger well for the Army.
No matter what reasons are, military occupying the political space is an anathema for any good civil–military relationship. Other than eroding its own professionalism, military rule or quasi – military rule further aggravates the wedge between civil & military.
Due to limited knowledge and interaction with the Army, the privileges authorized to the senior officers are portrayed as unjustified extravaganza. Lack of information on the system of accountability for the military hierarchy lends credence to this notion.
Intelligence community needs to be more innovative in their technique. Issue of missing persons being played in the media is a tributary of the same phenomenon. ISI/MI should not be used for political manipulation/wheeling – dealing.
The internally organised system of welfare measures for the Armed Forces has dwelled into a sizeable corporate sector. It is a rich source of re-employment of skilled manpower besides being a considerable contributor to the national economy.
“Stable civil-military relations are critical for a democratic polity and progress of society”. Politics, all over the world is a messy affair. Democracy is not an ideal form of political system; but it is the best out of all available. It always takes time to adjust and grow in accordance with existing environment. There will always be crises, chaos, but be patient and allow it to muddle through. Democracy is not about efficient government; it is about self government. Government of the people, by the people, for the people. All developed societies and polities exercise civilian control over military and not vice versa.