The Decade of the Pakistani Military: From a Status Quo Power to an Agent of Change


The military ended three decades of close working relationships with politicians like Nawaz Sharif, who were groomed in the eighties and nineties. This has opened the door to the biggest upset in Pakistani politics in half-century. This upset has brought to power a sports celebrity. This upset has also allowed Pakistanis to elect individuals that are not obnoxiously rich or backed by ethnic, religious, linguistic, sectarian, feudal or tribal politics (a young middle-class social activist, Zartaj Gul Wazir, from the Pashtun belt, defeated entrenched tribal and religious groups, with backing from young voters and women).


Uncertainty in Pakistan stems from sharply divided and bitter politics, and an economy not fully optimized and integrated with the global economy.


Pakistan needs a strong federal government. But equally needed is a strong system of local governments transferring power from provincial governments to cities, towns and villages.


China and India are success stories today for many reasons but the strongest is that they opened their society and economy and embraced the world after the end of the Cold War in 1991. Pakistan did the opposite. We helped the world win the Cold War. Pakistanis, Americans and the Free World partnered to defeat the Evil Empire. But, just as everyone in the world braced to exploit unprecedented global connectivity and opportunities, Pakistan retreated inwards, into political instability and global oblivion.



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Ahmed Quraishi

Ahmed Quraishi

Journalist with an eye for stories hiding in the grey area between national security, changing societies, and human rights in the MENA region.