Pakistan's First Military Coup: Why Did the First Pakistani Coup Occur and Why Does it Matter?
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The first military coup in Pakistan in 1958, led by General Ayub Khan, started a precedent that continues four decades later, and also created an institutional path for three subsequent military coups. Today in Pakistan most policies, domestic and foreign, are crafted with the tacit approval of the Pakistani military. The Pakistani military continues to dominate the government both directly and indirectly through other institutions. This core imbalance in civilian-military affairs is primarily due to what Pakistan inherited at the time of its independence. The 1958 military coup was due to numerous factors. British recruitment policy during the pre-partition period and the unequal distribution of resources at the time both had a large role in setting the stage for the coup. The Pakistani military at the time of partition was professional, whereas other governmental institutions were weak. Within first 11 years of independence Pakistan had 7 prime ministers -- this never-ending change in leadership served to discredit politicians in the eyes of the people. The powerful military-bureaucratic alliance delayed the enactment of a constitution. These events provided the Pakistani army the occasion, opportunity, and disposition to lead the 1958 coup, which continues to have effects on civilian-military relations in Pakistan.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History
- Military Forces and Organizations