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Police officers stand guard near a court where former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was responding to corruption charges, Islamabad, Nov. 7, 2017 (AP photo by Anjum Naveed).

After Sharif’s Ouster, How Strained Are Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan?

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017

Since Nawaz Sharif’s ouster as prime minister in August, Pakistan has been abuzz with talk of strained civil-military relations. The situation materially worsened when Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army’s chief of staff, publicly lectured the government last month on expanding tax collection to improve the economy. A very public war of words between the government and military ensued, with the interior minister even suggesting on Facebook that Pakistan was on the cusp of another coup d’état, before walking back his comments.

While ties between the elected civilian government and the armed forces have frayed recently, Sharif’s removal itself did not tilt the balance any further toward the army. That’s because the army was already in its strongest position since the military-backed rule of President Pervez Musharraf. Rather than a shift, recent events illustrate the extent of the military’s dominant role. ...

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