The current economic and political crisis is enough to attract a military takeover in Pakistan, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in a warning. He said the army intervened in the past in much less severe circumstances and urged the top stakeholders to initiate a dialogue, The Dawn reported.
A senior leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, “Martial law always remained a possibility if the system failed or when there was a conflict between institutions and the political leadership was unable to chart a way forward.”
Pakistan is hit by a severe economic crisis and is grappling with high external debt, a weakening currency and soaring inflation. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have plummeted to USD 4 billion, the country’s central bank said last week.
Pakistan is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a much-needed bailout but is still struggling for the same. The USD 1.1 billion bailout package is aimed at preventing the country from going bankrupt.
Moreover, relations between the judiciary and the ruling coalition have soured ever since the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led government has been pushing for the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023 to dilute the powers of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to take suo motu action and form a panel of judges for hearing of cases.
On April 20, Pakistan President Arif Alvi returned a bill seeking to curb the powers of the chief justice of the Supreme Court to parliament for a second time, saying that the matter was now subjudiced.
‘PAKISTAN NEVER WITNESSED…’
“Pakistan has had many long periods of martial law in very similar situations,” he was quoted by The Dawn as saying.
“In fact, I would say Pakistan has never witnessed a [more] severe economic and political situation before. In much less severe circumstances the military has taken over,” he said.
The Pakistan Army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.
Abbasi warned of anarchy if friction within the society and institutions became too deep, adding that such a situation could also see the powerful Army step in.
“It has happened in many countries. When the political and constitutional system fails, extra-constitutional (measures) take place,” the report quoted him as saying.
The PML-N leader, however, hoped that the military was not considering the option of imposing martial law.
“I don’t think they are considering that but when they are left with no choice, the old famous speeches of ‘mere aziz hamwatano’ (a phrase synonymous with military takeovers) are heard,” he added.
Source : IndiaToday