Pakistan a Garrison State

Every country has an army but Pakistan army has a country

Stefi Cohen

Origin of Garrison State

The term was coined by Lasswell in 1941 when he published his paper with the name “The Garrison State.” Moreover, on January 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower delivered his political farewell to the American people on national television from the Oval Office of the White House. Those who expected the military leader and hero of World War II to depart his Presidency with a nostalgic “old soldier” speech like Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s were surprised at his strong warnings about the dangers of the “military-industrial complex.” This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in American experience. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist (US National Archives). It was the first dissident voice against McCarthyism, who was a senator, and tried to make America a garrison state. Eisenhower, being an army veteran who won a Second World War, knew very well that the military complex or garrison state could destroy the US’s future; therefore, he built a strong wall against the flood of the military complex or garrison state.

Evolution of the Garrison State

The term evolved in 1941 by Lasswell, who wrote a paper on the Garrison state. Though he was inspired by the Sino-Japanese war, later when Europe united with the US against Russia to contain, the American President, a retired general, informed the general public about the transition of the US state to a military-based state, or simply a garrison state.

Certainly, there is nothing novel to the student of political institutions about the idea that specialists in violence may run the state (Lasswell, 1941). According to Spencer, societies are of three types: one military type, which uses guns to terrorize the public; the second, the industrial type, based on greed for wealth; and the third, free-consent people, who are considered the buffer zone, who maintain societies and even countries.

Though Pakistan was created by politicians, and there was no role for the army, later the junta made itself so strong that no one dared to oppose it. They built the state as a garrison state from the appointment of General Ayub Khan. From the very inception of Pakistan, the metaphors that built the narrative of the garrison state were “Pakistan is the fortress of Islam,” “Pakistan is the light of Allah,” and “it is a protected state by Almighty Allah,” among others. The military junta always paved the way for ruling the state from the very beginning; there were only the true politicians’ hurdles, whom nature, and somehow their designs, killed, died, or murdered. Glaring instances were Quaid Azam, Liaquat Ali Khan, Fatima Jinnah, Hussain Suhrawardy, and many more. It is now a much-debated conspiracy that Quaid, Liaquat Ali Khan, and others were fixed by the Junta.

Current State of Pakistan

The current situation in Pakistan is a totally failed state, where might is right, and almost all institutions have their hands up due to the unprecedented power of the Pakistan army. The pride they have in mind is that “we are the wisest of all” and “we have the vision to do whatever we want” and “we have the capacity to run all types of state affairs.” This mentality is now ruling Pakistan, which makes Pakistan near ruin, economically, socially, politically, and more importantly, constitutionally. The company has no idea about improving; they have a plan to fix the people who say no to them. It is the mentality of the army people that they oppose anyone who says no, love the yes-man, and even if he goes against them, he must say yes. This notion is bitterly explained by Lasswell (1941) in his paper: “For those who do not fit within the structure of the state, there is but one alternative—to obey or die.” Right now, they are doing this to a renowned journalist, Imran Riaz Khan, who has been abducted by the junta for almost three months.

They jailed opposing voices from the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf political party and many more. They have two objectives: be with us or against us, As America told the world on the occasion of the 9/11 incident, “ally or enemy, no third option.” They are not wise people; they can never make wise decisions because they are trained for war, they are always happy in killing, looting, and destroying opponents, no matter how much damage their policy inflicts. But they stick to their plan, which makes it disastrous for the country if any insane person becomes a chief. We have seen this many times in Pakistan; they even broke Pakistan for their petty interests. They have used the Pakistani people as tools to fulfill their vested interests. They have used the politicians for their interests and shifted blame for their actions. Now, many perceive that the military junta is responsible for every problem in Pakistan, even though some issues have arisen independently. Their deep involvement in the system has contributed significantly to the turmoil in the country, extending beyond their constitutionally assigned tasks.

The end of the state starts as a garrison state when everyone thinks alike; then no one is thinking, according to a famous quote by Walter Lippmann. And this is happening right now; everything in Pakistan is stagnant, and there is now a bad smell coming from the state’s corpse, which needs to be broken down or the garrison mentality. In a garrison state, the junta wants to think in a linear way, horizontal way, or in a box; no vertical or out-of-the-box thinking is allowed.

Reasons for the End

The junta has no future plan to refrain from politics and hand over the country to politicians. Furthermore, they have no regret for what they have done in the past; they even say in pride that “we are the only institution loyal to the country.” In their perceptions, the army officers are the people who have an extra-powerful mind to do anything that may bring Pakistan on a track of success. In reality, they have been doing this for the last 76 years. We can save Pakistan only if we stick to Quaid’s statement, which he made in Baluchistan on August 14, 1947:

“Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people, and you do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues, and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.”

Sources: Dr. Moeed Peerzada Vlog, Lasswell’s research paper, ‘The Garrison State’, and Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed’s Book, ‘Pakistan a Garrison State- origin, evolution, consequences 1947 to 2011’.

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