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Round-table with Dr. Siegfried O Wolf, on “Process of Democratization and Civil Military Relations.”

    On May 31, 2010, The DSS department hosted Dr. Siegfried O. Wolf of South Asia Institute, Department of Political Science, Heidelberg University, Germany, who spoke on the “process of democratization and civil military relations.” The roundtable was conducted and moderated by Salma Malik from the department’s side. During the roundtable, the speaker was of the view that democratic set-ups should have control over the affairs and institutions of countries, and should not seek military support in political affairs. He said army’s hands are tied up in Pakistan due to engagement in the war against terror, and it should not and is not intervening into state affairs. He said a trend started in the last 3-4 years of implementing necessary actions like Balochistan Package and NFC Award, adding that it is a good idea that the will of civilians should prevail and deliver.

    He said there is a new consensus among civilians, at least in major political parties, to be able to come together and get through things while keeping the army out of politics. welcoming the passage of the 18th Amendment which in his view rectified many wrongs, with the military not opposing it and remaining in the barracks. He said it is interesting to see external actors busy in improving civil-military relations, adding that the Kerry-Lugar Bill could also contribute in this direction with the US pressure on India to improve its ties with Pakistan. He said the media, civil society and the judiciary would put pressure on the civil government to improve things in the long run, though the establishment might not be willing to shed some of its powers.

    In the question hour, a teacher said that the establishment manoeuvres to manipulate politicians and (mis)manage events in such a way that political parties do not come together, thereby giving space to the military to intervene. A doctoral student of DSS said it is a transitional period and there is a sincere effort on part of the civil and military leaders to let other institutions grow.

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Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, 45320, Pakistan.
Tel: +92-051 9064 3076, Email: dss@qau.edu.pk