Col Ashwani Sharma (Retd)


‘Pakistan is in a state of utter chaos’ is a strong statement but perhaps not strong enough to describe its current situation. Increasingly it appears that Pakistan is a centrifuge wherein  disparate political, economic, military and social elements are trying to force themselves together in a desperate bid to remain viable as a state. The future does not look promising at all. Pakistan’s political system has become so volatile and broke that its lack of credibility has forced the IMF to question whether the future political setup in the country will honour any deal that they sign with Islamabad. Recent unrest in the country to arrest former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Toshkhana case, and a complicit judiciary give little confidence to international institutions.

Pakistan’s economy is in dire straits. The truth is that the country badly needs the USD 1.1 billion tranche of funding from the IMF. This money is a part of the USD 6.5 billion bailout package the IMF approved in 2019. Its grant is crucial if Pakistan is to avoid defaulting on external debt obligations. Unlike in the past, even Saudi Arabia, an all-weather ally, has refused to provide easy financial bailout or interest-free loans to Pakistan. Militancy, too, continues to plague Pakistan. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the region adjoining Taliban-controlled Afghanistan remains a hotbed for fighters of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of Sunni Islamist groups. The threat the insurgency poses to nuclear-armed Pakistan was illustrated last month when the bombing of a mosque in Peshawar killed more than 80 police personnel. Insurgency and instability just seem rooted in Pakistan.

Pakistani military, the core of that state, in the meantime, is waiting in the wings for the turmoil and anarchy to get worse before it makes its move and takes over the country. Somethings will never change – history may become Pakistan’s future yet again! In our cover story,

Lt Gen Ata Hasnain has penned a scholarly paper on Pakistan’s dismal state of affairs and analysed the causes which have brought the nation state to this pass.

The other features of note in this issue are related to military transformation. Having stressed upon the need to have a military doctrine to start with, in this issue we discuss transformation related to organisational structure, capabilities and capacities that modern militaries must possess with specific reference to the Indian Armed Forces. Lt Gen Arun Sahni’s piece is of seminal importance. We wish you a professionally rewarding read as we launch into the 17th year of our publication with this issue.