Costs of Military Dictatorships of Pakistan

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]

Historic Failures of Strategic Doctrines by Dictator Generals in Pakistan

What happens when generals (military men) arrogate to themselves “strategy making” when at best they have been trained for obtaining tactical advantage? 
The table below shows the fiascoes in which our country had been led into: 
Major Areas Ignored
Unrestrained Development at the Expense of Have-Nots without representation
Ignored people’s power
Estrangement of Bengalis Surrender and Fall of East Pakistan
Created rich-poor divide; created ZAB’s rise
Created famous 22-Families Nationalization of all major firms that sent us back for fifty years
Defense of East Pak lies in West
Size/depth of enemy forces; inability to read enemy’s mind
Failure of Op Gibraltar → 1965 War
Popular discontent in East Pakistan can be subdued by military force
Fierceness of Bengali resistance,
Indian forces all out support 
1971 war → Surrender of East Pakistan; 92,000+ Pakistani soldiers become PoWs
Army as Protector of ideological frontiers
Ideologies are not Concrete frontiers. Military is not in the business of ideological warfare
Created Jehadists → Increased sectarian polarization → → Led toSectarian killings → bomb blasts
US’ Afghan Jehad, Strategic Depth
Ignored US response in Clinton’s time & 9-11
Arms culture → drugs culture militancy → instability Talibanization
Bleed India in Kashmir
Ignored Indian capacity to strike back in kind; RAW infiltration in Balochistan
Baloch resistance, Baloch insurgency, Karachi disturbances
U-Turn: Good-Taliban-Bad-Taliban
WoT imported in Pak; Blackwater/RAW/BLA infiltration
Suicide bombers → War on Terror → Op Zarbe Azb

Unfortunately dictator generals’ strategies involving foreign countries actually turned out to be tactical in nature. They initially may have created some tactical advantage but were all checkmated by the broader discourse and broader issues of provincial disputes, international considerations, and geo-political maneuvering for which the generals found themselves singularly unprepared. See the disaster of the following strategies: 
1: Gen Ayub’s strategy of  Unrestrained Economic Development at the Expense of Have-Nots led to disastrous implication for Pakistan because it was undertaken without the representation of the people or considering their sentiments. It was disastrous in both wings of Pakistan:  

  • (i) In West Pakistan, the sense of alienation produced by the concentration of wealth in the famous 22 families resulted in the meteoric rise of ZAB that created the conditions for the mass scale nationalization, and roll back of all economic gains made during the 1960s [12]. 
  • (ii) In East Pakistan, the sense of alienation created conditions where Bengalis who faught for Pakistan were forced to secede: E.g. Shaikh Mujeeb ur Rehman who had led Fatima Jinnah’s presidential bid in 1965 from East Pakistan got the first major jolt when Gen Ayub won through massive rigging. The 2nd major jolt was the reaction that he faced for his 6 points when Gen Ayub equated it with treason and which eventually made him to lose faith in the united Pakistan, and became a self-fulfilled prophecy of Gen Ayub [15]. 

2: “Defence of East Pakistan lies in the West” was the famous military doctrine of the 1960s which got its first major jolt during the miscalculation of Operation Gibraltar culminating in 1965 war, and later proved to be a disaster with the uprising in East Pakistan with the support of India [13]. 
3: “East Pakistan is a Liability” and the discontent of Bengalis can be subdued through military operations was the strategic thinking of Gen Yahya, which backfired and led to the surrender of East Pakistan with over 92,000 forces as PoWs. As per Hamood ur Rehman Commission report, conditions were created by a clique of five generals that led to the uprising in East Pakistan [8]. 
4: Military is not only the defender of the geographic frontiers but is also the defender of ideological frontiers (chadar aur chardiwari ki hifazat): This Gen Zia’s strategy was instrumental in cultivation of Jehadis that history had proved to be one of the most disastrous of strategies ever.
5: Joining the US’ Afghan Jehad and the chimera of Strategic Depth was Gen Zia ‘s major strategic contribution. It totally ignored the US interests and capacity of CIA to involve the mujahideens into a perenial war. This was then countered by the introduction of Talibans in the Afghanistan which was again responded first through missile attacks during Clinton rule and later after 9-11 through a massive war [19, 21].
6. General Aslam Baig’s strategic doctrine of “Bleed India in Kashmir” of the 1990s [16], ignored the tit-for-tat ability of India to respond through infiltration of Balochistan by RAW agents, and destablization of Karachi and cultivation of Baloch insurgency. Eventually, the strategic assets of Bleed-India-in-Kashmir doctrine turned into strategic liabilities. 
7. Taliban Strategy of 1995: Initially it worked and a pro-Pakistan Taliban government was installed in Afghanistan. But, the strategists underestimated the response of the US when its regional interests were threatened. Starting with the missile attacks during Clinton years, it led to a full scale ground attack by US forces after 9-11 with the famous U-Turn by Gen Musharraf. This resulted in US forcibly taking away the air bases, air space, and even gaining ground access to move troops from Gawadar to Afghanistan [22].  
8. Good-Taliban-Bad-Taliban Doctrine (running with the hare and hunting with the hounds) Doctrine by Gen Musharraf again underestimated the depth of US interests in the region [20]. Their response through blackwater ops and CIA infiltration in Pakistan and with RAW agents supports created a situation of deadly suicide bombings that eventually all had to rolled back with Op Zarb e Azb.  

References [Being Updated]

[5] Operational Gibraltar; -An Unmitigated Disaster? by Sultan M Hali in Criterian, Vol 7#1
[6] Operation Kargil was a Four Man Show – General Shahid Aziz, Daily Dawn Jan 28, 2013
[7] Is this the End of Strategic Depth Doctrine? The Friday Times, 11 July 2014 Issue
[8] East Pakistan Operation and Surrender: Hamood ur Rehman Commission Report
[9] Karachi Operations- MQM: a cycle of peaks & troughs by Abbas Nasir in Daily Dawn, April 18, 2015 
[10] MQM: A love-hate relationship by Ayaz Amir in Daily Dawn, Nov 12, 2004
[11] Balochistan Operations: A leaf from history: Reclaiming Balochistan, peacefully by Shaikh Aziz in Daily Dawn Oct 05, 2014; and Blood and Balochistanby Cyril Almeida in Dawn Apr 26, 2015 
[12] 22 Families and Nationalization: Who Owns Pakistan by Shahid ur Rehman
[13] Defense of East Pakistan Lies in the West; An Examination of the Strategic Concept of War by Maj (Retd) AGHA HUMAYUN AMIN from WASHINGTON DC makes an excellent dissection of strategy concerned for 1971. Defence Journal, Jan 2001
[14] Bengalis are Strategic Liability: Hamood ur Rehman Commission Report
[15] Autobiography of Shaikh Mujeeb ur Rehman: COVER STORY: From the founder of BangladeshDAWN BOOKS AND AUTHORS, NOV 18, 2012 and also reviewed in Memoirs by Hamid Mir The News- Saturday, November 24, 2012 
[16] Bleed India in Kashmir: BLEEDING WOUND: ANALYZINGPAKISTAN’S KASHMIR POLICY (1989-95) by Irfan Waheed Usmani, GC University, Lahore
[17] Gen Musharraf’s U-Turn on Taliban, The Telegraph, Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad, 03 Oct 2006. What Happened Between Musharraf and Mahmood after 9-11, by Hassan Abbas, Daily Times on September 25, 2006.
[19] Chimera of The Strategic Depth Concept by Lt Col Khalid Masood Khan,The Nation, Oct 16, 2015
[21] Strategic Depth, Shahzad Chaudhry, Tribune, April 3, 2015
[22] Tilting at the Windmills, the Taliban Strategy, Najam Sethi Friday Times, Aug 10, 1995
[23] Costs of Political Engineering by Military Dictators; link


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