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General Pervez Musharraf And His Government Essay

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Selection and Significance of the Topic
The topic has been chosen by our group as Pakistan’s stance in the sensitive international community rests with the leadership of President Pervez Musharraf. His takeover was one-of-a-kind in the annals of Pakistan: a military regime yet no imposition of Martial Law. The coup, unlike previous ones, took everyone by surprise. Further, rumours of the coup by General Musharraf being planned were dismissed. The change in power was at a very critical and precarious time when there was a criminalization of the political system and growing economic adversity; Pakistan was being labeled as a failing state. Though democratically elected, Nawaz Sharif failed to provide a transparent administration. To the people of Pakistan, army intervention was the only way to escape a sham democracy. The fact was reinforced that the stature of army is powerful and preeminent in the country’s complex power structure. How a leader from a military background was able to improve the deteriorating domestic situation and steer the country away from foreign suspicions is significant in all respects.

Relevance of topic to the field of Study
The main objectives of the nation-states are survival, continuation and multiplication. With regard to the fact that Pakistan was being termed as a ‘failing state’, it was unable to come up to the core objectives of nation-states. After General Musharraf took reins of the country, Pakistan was able to progress so much so that it stands today as one of the freest Muslim countries in the world with a totally-not to say stridently-independent Press and complete freedom of association. Although, military cover exists, Pakistan’s civil institutions are functioning as they have been previously. This has rarely been the case when military regimes exist.

Central Questions
A range of questions have been addressed through this research. Primarily, the challenges faced by General Musharraf and how well he has been able to tackle them are addressed in this paper. Thus, the salient questions are as follows:

Question: 1
How crucial were the circumstances under which Musharraf took over the country?

Question: 2
What were the immediate challenges faced by the Government of Musharraf?

Question: 3
Has the Government of Musharraf been successful in improving domestic and foreign ties while not deviating from the defense of the country?

Question: 4
Regarding popular belief that Human Rights suffer under a military regime, how efficiently has the present Government encountered this?

Central Argument
This paper aims to critically analyze the performance of the country when the democratic government was dissolved and the army took over the country. The democratic government had failed to deliver the most fundamental rights and recklessly attempted a coup against the General to establish ascendancy over the army. The result was the countercoup. By reviewing the circumstances which led to a sound and bloodless coup, the study intends to establish that the take-over by the army was a counter-coup.

The paper aims at analyzing Pakistan under the leadership of President Musharraf by studying the scenario within the country and with other countries, particularly the United States of America and India.

The methodology adopted by the group for analyzing this topic has been through the use of the theoretical framework of the concept of the prosperity of the country does not depend on the nature of rule but the transparency and dedication of the government. Musharraf has strived to build a nation and place the nation before taking any decisions. A bloodless coup was the result of which General Musharraf came into power. Samuel P. Huntington has given the concept of ‘bloodless coups’ in his research.[i]

Organization of Study
The study has been divided into five chapters. The detail is as follows: Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Countercoup: Circumstances and Challenges
Chapter 3: Scenario within Pakistan
Chapter 4: Pakistan and the World
Chapter 5: Fundamental Rights

Since the topic is huge, our group has chosen to address a few important aspects of the regime of President Musharraf. The first chapter introduces the topic along with the central argument and significance of the study. The second chapter begins the study with an overview of the conditions which led to the events in late 1999 and the pressing challenges faced by General Musharraf. How General Musharraf dealt with the domestic scenario-particularly the political, social and economical aspects-and the relations with the world-particularly America and India-are elaborated in the next two chapters. To what extent are the fundamental rights provided to the people of Pakistan is discussed in the last chapter.

Survey of Existing Literature
During the research for this project an extensive study of the secondary sources-which include books, on-line research papers and newspaper articles-was carried out. These incorporate the following:

2. Abdul Shakoor Khakwani, Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan: The Case of Recent Military Intervention and Its Implications for Pakistan’s Security Milieu, ACDIS 2003 3. Iftikhar H. Malik, Pakistan in 2000: Starting Anew or Stalemate? Asian Survey 2000 4. Sadanand Dhume, The Friday Times: May 7, 1999, Lahore

5. Pakistan Almanac 2002-2003

Primary Resources
In our primary research we studied the memoir of President Musharraf: In the Line of Fire, in detail.



On 12th October 1999, General Pervez Musharraf took full control of Pakistan in a bloodless military coup. Pakistan had come to a point where it was facing uncertainty, political turmoil and instability, under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Domestic Disturbances

Nawaz Sharif’s government had been accused of violations of human rights and the mismanagement of the economy. Law and order was in shambles. Shootings and killings were the order of the day, in particular in Karachi. The unmistakable signs of a nervous government were visible when peace demonstrations were not allowed and opposition senators were arrested in Karachi.

The people of Pakistan had elected Nawaz Sharif largely for his pledge to revive the economy, but after about two and a half years of his tenure, foreign investment was drying up, Pakistan’s currency had been devalued substantially due to which prices were escalating, foreign debt mounted to $32 billion and unemployment was rising. All social indicators- health, education, income-were extremely low and continuously deteriorating. Poverty has risen to alarming levels: from 18% to 34%.

The Great Divide: The Kargil Issue

The turning point in the governing period of PM Nawaz Sharif was the Kargil issue. Kargil would have proved significant in forcing India to negotiate seriously on Kashmir, if only the political leadership had known how to take advantage of it. The Pakistani military believed they could finally score a significant victory over India.

During the earlier part of the conflict, India was caught unprepared and suffered heavy losses. Within days of pledging support to the campaign, PM Nawaz Sharif succumbed to US pressure and accepted an unfavorable and unconditional withdrawal. The war ended in disaster for Pakistan which lost not only the military battle but also paid dearly on the political and diplomatic fronts. Apart from the humiliation suffered internationally, the estimated cost of the Kargil operation is $ 380 million which formed a significant part of the annual fiscal expenditure on the already burdened economy.

The Kargil episode resulted in the eventual distrust between the Prime Minister and General Musharraf. Both had wanted to place Kashmir as a political and military issue to the World. The Kargil initiated succeeded in doing so but the Prime Minister came under external political pressure. Rather than deriving strength from National Solidarity, he blamed the army and denied any involvement in this issue.

The Last Straw: The Hijacking and Dismissal

“And who would believe that the chief of army staff, having represented Pakistan in Sri Lanka, upon his return was denied landing in his own country. Instead circumstances were created which could have forced our plane to either land in India or crash…”

President Musharraf Oct 17, 1999 BBC News

PM Nawaz Sharif ordered to divert a commercial flight (coming from Sri Lanka) carrying about 200 passengers including General Pervez Musharraf and not allowing it to land at any airfield in Pakistan. The plane was suggested to head to India, Iran or the Middle East. Owing to the scanty fuel, the plane could only land in India, a country with which Pakistan has shared a history of animosity and tension. Landing a commercial flight in India and that too carrying the Chief of Army Staff is preposterous in every way.

The same day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attempted to dismiss Musharraf while he was out of the country and appoint Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director Khwaja Ziauddin in his place. Senior Army generals remained loyal to their commander and refused to accept General Musharraf's dismissal. Thus, the army retaliated on this brute trespassing of authority. Consequently, the plane landed at its destination with allegedly seven minutes of fuel to spare. This is the counter-coup of the army.

The PM’s decision of dismissing the Chief of Army Staff is questionable: an army chief, also a constitutional appointee, cannot be dismissed without giving him a justified cause and due process. Worse, the General’s dismissal was announced in Pakistan when he was not present in the country.

PM Nawaz Sharif staged a coup by attempting to remove General Pervez Musharraf. PM Sharif’s untenable decision of not al...

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