Backgrounder: Pakistan’s Civil-Military Crisis

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In the current tumult of Pakistan’s politics, the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ongoing dispute with the Pakistan military echo similar crises in the nation’s history. Having been released on bail, Khan’s bold challenge to the military has incited unprecedented levels of protests and unrest across the country. Understanding these historical episodes, specifically the military’s evolving role in governance, can shed light on the present situation.

Pakistan’s political history is marked by repeated military interventions that have shaped the administration and direction of its civilian and military institutions. Since the country’s founding in 1947, there have been three successful coups in 1958, 1977, and 1999 that serve as key reference points in understanding the civil-military dynamic. As we explore the current conflict, comparing it with these historical events and analyzing their effects on civilian institutions can provide valuable insight.

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