It’s the Military, Stupid

By Thomas Lowe

‘Memogate’, nuclear weapons, Bin Laden, Imran Khan, US foreign policy, Afghanistan – it seems that global issues are destined to pass through Pakistan.

But it’s the vast military apparatus at the very centre of the state of Pakistan that took the attention of the Frontline panel – and demanded the mediation skills of the BBC’s Owen Bennett-Jones.

Omar Waraich, who has covered Pakistan for TIME Magazine and The Independent since 2007, spoke of the underbelly of actions carried out by the Pakistan military, particularly in the restive state of Balochistan.

Missing persons (mp3)

Professor Anatol Lieven, author of Pakistan: A Hard Country said that in a state that struggles to collect tax, the military, with its superior resources, is comparatively efficient.

Miltary Revenue (mp3)

And what is the role of Imran Khan? Is he being used by the military or, as Waraich suggests, between his platform and the military standpoint to suggest his independence?

The former international cricketer is trumpeted in the Western media and he appears to have a degree of support – but Dr Farzana Shaikh from Chatham House and author of Making Sense of Pakistan, asks whether this is likely to last.

Imran Khan (mp3)