For most part of its history, civilian political dispensation in Pakistan remained overshadowed at the hands of stern and strong military rule. Four military rulers assumed roles as helmsmen to the exclusion of civilian political elite in Pakistan. The decades of 60s and 80s witnessed direct military rule in Pakistan while the early 50s and 90s dealt with effective military presence in the political arena as well.

Déjà vu of direct military intervention again characterized early 2000 and domineered the reigns of authority till early 2008. Post-2008 the scenario again unfolded a new era for civil-military contrariety in Pakistan .The era unraveled in Pakistan after the 2008 General Elections saw attempts by the civilian political elite to invoke and assert its supremacy over the influence of military in matters of significant policy formulations . However, the results remain far from satisfying much to the chagrin of civilian political elite and the intelligentsia espousing civilian political cause.

To begin with, it was the crisis of the military regime which assumed the reins of power in 1999 that finally culminated into the General Elections of 2008 in Pakistan. The civil society led movement of lawyers for the restoration of Chief Justice of Pakistan , a worrying rise of religious militant extremism threatening national security and an ever aggrandizing browbeat from the International community to come up to the occasion in meeting their interests vis-a`-vis Afghanistan’s invasion and the international order established there – all of these aforementioned tipping points increased tremendous bane upon the military regime in 2007 and it pursued course for a transition of power towards civilian political elite. Such a leap forward towards transfiguring the civilian rule was again meant to redeem disgruntled elements of the society who were becoming a cause for denigration of the state power.

However the transition towards the civilian political rule after the General Elections of 2008 in Pakistan did not put the civil-military power equation to a topsy turvy effect , in fact quite the contrary it again crystallized into the widely held belief that “In power or not military wields power’. Discipline and organizational structure provides military an edge as opposed to the civilian political elite in Pakistan who has never fared well in respect of organization, inclusion of populace of all hues within their folds and lack of introduction of democratic traditions in political parties. In fact the case for the delegitimization of civil political elite gains further credence as they merely feign indispensible reforms in socio-economic and administrative structures of the country. Political parties remain persistent podiums and avenues for advancing vested interests of a few. These contradictions negate strongly the very rationale for their stewardship of the country .The civilian political elite which bequeathed power in post-2008 General Elections was also archetypal of these vested interests. Hence, it became rather easy for the military establishment to yet again emasculate the power of civil political elite to an extent that the military leadership secured for itself a prominent role in matters concerning national security which in totality influences the entire political landscape.

The sweeping victory of the present ruling party in federal territory after the 2013 General Elections afforded it an opportunity to subject the entire power equation defining civil-military ties to modulation. However, the manner in which the current ruling party approached the situation was yet again a non-starter. The landslide victory which the present ruling party managed to gather for itself in the General Elections of 2013 did not – and even today – equip the federal government or any alternate political leadership for that matter to challenge the civil-military power equation by invoking the nitty gritty of the Constitution of Pakistan, such as the much hyped Article 6. Constitutions and especially the pronouncements of a Republican Constitution reflect in essence the landscape of a power equation which the vanguard (political leadership ) seeks to materialize . But for such materialization, the civil political elite must calibrate a political system in place which could procure such strength and subsequent legitimization banking upon which the pronouncements of the Constitution could stand realized. It would be more apt to say that the Constitution coupled with its pronouncements simply serves as a mean but not an end in itself. This is where the thinking of the present civil society and its intelligentsia confines itself into a circuitous approach towards salvaging civil-military equation in Pakistan by resorting towards a Constitutional battle and deeming it only as means to challenge the civil-military power equation in Pakistan, while procrastinating in formulation of political system which could accrue it much needed legitimacy. The manner in which, since 2013, the federal government apparently seemed to try a former military chief under Article 6 of the Constitution and deemed it solely as a way of asserting civilian supremacy, did nothing more than drawing a spectacle. The law simply operates upon the crystallized realities of the socio-economic relations manifested through the political system and not the other way round.

It’s up to the civilian political leadership, and its auxiliary intelligentsia, to realize that in order for euphemized notions of civilian supremacy to gain traction, the political system presided over by the civilian political leadership must emancipate and enfranchise the populace in essence and not in name only. Existing political system prevailing in the country merely allows the institutions in serving the interests of the section of populace but not the populace itself. These sections of populace seek to uphold their vested interests at the cost of prosperity and emancipation of the populace at large. As long as the civilian political system maintains itself to serve the interest of the section of populace and allows the political institutions to be manipulated by that section of the populace , the civilian political system shall continue to be devoid of strength. With such debilitated power, any scuffle with the military establishment is bound to end up in events such as the 12th of October,1999 and the civilian political system shall continue embracing delegitimization while the imbalance in civil-military power equation shall continue to fester.