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Military change, democratisation and non-linear transformation

This chapter discusses the processes of change and democratisation of security and defence institutions in hybrid orders, using evidence from Pakistan. It does so based on three major indicators: (a) military strategic preferences for peace and security approaches; (b) change in civil-military relations, including the military’s strategy and attitudes towards civilian institutions and actors (including NGOs) and (c) the military’s role in democratisation processes, as perceived by the three categories of respondents. The results, based on the respondents’ statements, suggest that there has been a significant transition in how the military seeks to project its role in society, from an autocratic and closed institution of the armed forces during the military regime of Pervez Musharraf (t[) to a situation where the armed forces are seeking to project a view of the military with a more democratic outlook in the post-Musharraf period (t2). This change is highlighted by the perceived changes in the military security strategy, improvement of civil-military relations and acquiescence of democratic processes. Nonetheless, as the findings show, the respondents perceive that the actual balance of power remained strongly inclined in favour of the military institution, which continues to maintain an important veto over the elected civilian government, particularly with regard to security, defence and foreign policy.

Most respondents assess the military’s active role in decision-making as ‘compulsive intervention’, due to weak capacity and performance of civilian institutions and leadership. The military’s uncertain commitment to a sustainable and indiscriminate security and counterterrorism strategy, as well as to a progressive foreign policy towards India and Afghanistan jeopardises its credibility as a democratic political actor. While the data show that the military is perceived to have undergone processes of adaptation and transformation and there is a perceived military change from t( to t2, these processes are non-linear, asymmetric and incomplete. This is mainly due to the military’s inaptitude to efficiently perform the new military functions and the government’s weak capacity to exert democratic oversight and/or to request more far-reaching change.

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