Civil-military relations in Pakistan: a case study of Sino-Pakistani relations and the port of Gwadar

Boni, Filippo (2016). Civil-military relations in Pakistan: a case study of Sino-Pakistani relations and the port of Gwadar. Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 54(4) pp. 498–517.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14662043.2016.1231665

Abstract

This article analyses how the dynamics of civil-military relations in Pakistan have ensured policy continuity towards China. By looking at the development of the port of Gwadar, which represents the flagship project of Sino-Pakistani cooperation during the last 15 years, this article contends that the continuity in Pakistan’s policies towards China in the post 9/11 period is explained by a broad-based consensus among the Pakistani elites, in which, however, the military plays a dominant role. Civilian control over the military is a concept that was never fully absorbed in Pakistan and, as the analysis ascertains, most of the policies introduced by General Pervez Musharraf have been adopted by the subsequent civilian regimes under indirect control from the military establishment. The ultimate aim of the Pakistani leadership, civilian and military alike, has therefore been to provide a safe ground for the Chinese investments in the country because of the key role that China plays in Pakistan’s strategic posture. Organised around semi-structured interviews conducted in Pakistan in early 2015, the article is grounded in the relevant literature on civil-military relations and assesses the level of civilian control in three key decision-making areas pertaining to the port of Gwadar: economic policy, internal security and foreign policy.

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