April 29, 2016
By removing 13 of his officers, the army chief has all but asked the Prime Minister to quit — and the oligarchic warfare in Pakistan has turned more complex than ever before
So is Pakistan’s military getting ready to take over the government for a fifth time in its 69 years of existence to play its self-acquired additional role of defending national integrity? The country’s all-powerful army chief seems to have implicitly asked the third-time elected prime minister to quit. After names of some members of Nawaz Sharif’s family appeared in the recent Panama Papers leak, General Raheel Sharif made a pitch asking the Prime Minister to offer himself for an above-the-board accountability, which basically means to resign. The general is now joined by the GHQ’s new political creations, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP). Mr. Sharif snapped back by giving a televised speech in which he questioned the moral authority of the military to question him. Given excessive publicity since he took over as army chief, General Sharif seems to have greater moral authority to poke Mr. Sharif where it hurts. The television speech did not earn the political Sharif kudos, but it did indicate his intent to fight back.