Four excellent observations made by Former Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar recently in a paper on Pakistan and Terrorism at the Asia Centre, a Bangalore-based think-tank.
- There is little or no evidence that the return to representative rule in Pakistan last year means the supremacy of civilian government. The so-called permanent establishment remains in place — the military, top echelons of bureaucracy and the intelligence agencies. The army continues to be in the driving seat with regard to foreign and defence policy, internal security and nuclear policy.
- It is a fallacy to look for ‘rogue elements’ within the Inter Services Intelligence or assume that ISI is a ‘state within a state.’ The ISI is under military control and it serves as the military’s instrument. The ISI may have operational freedom but cannot conceivably act against the military interests. The military operates as a coherent organisation. There are no ‘factions’ within it.
- The polarisation between the Pakistan Muslim League and Pakistan People’s Party remains acute. Worse, religious parties act as hand-maidens of the establishment. The influence of civil society should not be exaggerated.
- Finally, the military’s corporate interests lie in preserving its political (and growingly economic) prerogatives and the power and privileges it accumulated by claiming to be the custodians of the Pakistani State