Slim chance of an army coup in Pakistan
Speculation about a possible military coup has dominated news from Pakistan since an alleged memo seeking US help to rein in the country’s powerful military establishment surfaced in October. The military has ruled the country for more than half of its existence and pulled the strings when out of power. As such, the speculation is bound to trigger alarm in the country and beyond.
But, apart from its multiple problems, Pakistan has come a long way since Gen Musharraf seized powerfollowing a bloodless coup in October 1999. Pakistan’s higher judiciary and media have emerged as two strong pillars of democracy during this period and would, in all probability, frustrate any extra-constitutional moves to derail democracy.
The country’s celebrated Supreme Court chief justice Ifthikhar Chaudhry, who took on Musharraf in one of the biggest civil society movements in South Asia in 2008, has made it clear that the judiciary, unlike in the past, would not validate any military takeover.