Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar recently talked about Pakistan’s military involvement in politics. He said that the military is that Pakistan’s military is “here to stay” in the country’s politics, and for this to change, civilian institutions need to become stronger.
In its 76-year history, Pakistan’s military has directly ruled the nation for more than three decades, and has had influence in the country’s politics. However, the military now claims it doesn’t interfere in politics as it used to.
Kakar pointed out that the reason for this military involvement is the weaknesses in civilian institutions over the past 40 years. This includes problems in education, healthcare, disaster management, and tax collection. When civilians can’t handle these issues, they often turn to the military for help.
Kakar criticized political leaders for working with the military for their own gain and power. He said they blame the military for their failures when they are not in power, which keeps the military involved, “Pakistani political leaders had alliance with military for their own interests and once they are out of power, they start criticising the institution to shift the onus of their own failure.”
To fix this situation, Kakar believes that civilian institutions need to become stronger. He thinks this will prevent military intervention in government affairs.
When asked if the military would continue to have a political role in Pakistan, Kakar said, “In practice, honestly speaking and considering the ground realities, the answer is yes.”
Kakar also promised to ensure fair and transparent elections and said he wouldn’t allow any institution to support a specific political party. He mentioned that the military has been helping the caretaker government, but he doesn’t feel they are dictating what to do.
Kakar stressed that no foreign country, including the United States, is interfering in Pakistan’s domestic matters. He said Pakistan’s sovereignty was respected during former PM Imran Khan’s removal, which he described as lawful and constitutional.
Regarding terrorism and Afghanistan, Kakar said Pakistan has been dealing with attacks for about 15 years. They are taking various measures to address this issue. Some banned groups, like TTP, have training camps in Afghanistan, which concerns Pakistan.
He hopes for engagement with Afghanistan despite challenges because it’s in both nations’ interest. Kakar also talked about the importance of not turning political differences into enmities, as it harms democracy.
On Pakistan-India relations, Kakar said Pakistan is open to meaningful dialogue with all neighbors. They want peace but insist on justice, especially concerning the Kashmir issue, based on UN resolutions, “We do want peace with India, but only peace with justice.”