WASHINGTON: The new army chief could broker a concession agreement in Pakistan, setting a date for holding public choices, says Marvin Weinbaum, an elderly US scholar who has written several books on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In a piece published by the US Council on Foreign Relations(CFR), another US scholar, Andrew Gordan, urges the Biden administration to increase aid to Pakistan.
“Under a new army chief, the chances may ameliorate that the service will broker a concession agreement, setting a date for holding public choices,” says Mr. Weinbaum in a piece he wrote for the Middle East Institute(MEI), Washington.
By adding aid to Pakistan, “the United States will propel forward its own strategic interests and fulfill philanthropic scores while contemporaneously helping this South Asian nation forestall extremity,” Mr. Gordan writes.
While the CFR composition deals with the larger question of US-Pakistan relations, the MEI paper focuses on the appointment of a new army chief in Pakistan.
Mr. Weinbaum notes that while the current Pakistani government would “prefer to name a new principal believed likely to cover the interests of the governing coalition, the high minister is hemmed in by a military establishment anxious for the selection to be seen as grounded solely on senility and merit”.
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Another US scholar of Pakistani origin, Shuja Nawaz, whose books on the Pakistan Army are tutored at universities in the US and Pakistan, tackles another issue the withdrawal of one of the six possible campaigners for the top niche on Nov 27, two days before the current chief.
He says that elevating one of the campaigners before Nov 27 to deal with the withdrawal issue “may provoke legal challenges as we can not have two chiefs contemporaneously”.
Prof Hassan Abbas of the US National Defence University says the most likely script would be choosing “the two elderly most generals” as the chief and the president common chiefs of staff, while the third “may come out as a concession seeker”.
Mr. Weinbaum notes that the army’s top brass “appears determined to avoid taking sides in the brewing political showdown” as Imran Khan’s long march descends on Islamabad. “With the important of the officer fraternity sympathetic to the former high minister, the army is presently leaving the conservation of order to the original police, the civil Rangers, and the country’s ethnical fuzz,” he adds.
Mr. Weinbaum, still, says Mr. Khan “must make peace with the military establishment if he hopes to again clear a path to taking power and holding it”.
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For its part, “the service has come to appreciate that Mr. Khan has succeeded in mobilising a popular movement that, if not accommodated, could hang the service’s long-exalted special relationship with the people of Pakistan,” he adds.
Mr. Weinbaum sees Imran Khan “arising from new choices with a massive pride-boosting accreditation,” but says that “it will take a steady, skillful new army chief to lead to a re-establishment of the mercenary-military governing condominium with the former high minister that had was until last April”.
In the meantime, he suggests maintaining “cool heads on all sides to avoid the violence that could destabilise an economically floundering Pakistan”.
Mr. Gordan warns that “Pakistan’s frugality has reached a breaking point and political uneasiness threatens to throw the nation into farther disarray”.
He notes that as of Nov 2022, the US has delivered $97 million in aid to Pakistan, but “this figure slightly registers on the scale of Pakistan’s recovery conditions, estimated at $40 billion”.