Deep state obviously is ‘unelected shadow government’. If institutions are weak and have been subverted, the authorities in shadows grip the polity and also running of the government. Pakistan Army and ISI are not the example of Deep State, they are the Deep State!
Deep State is obviously where military, bureaucracy and the intelligence community and sometimes even judiciary undermine the writ of an elected government. It’s a story of ‘State within a State’.
According to dictionaries, Deep State means, ‘a large group of people, typically members of government agencies and the military, believed to have long-lasting political influence that is difficult for an administration voted into power to counter’.
Pakistan has history of military coups. It all started in 1953 and then there were military coup in 1958, 1977 and 1999. But there have been many unsuccessful military coups. Rawalpindi conspiracy of 1951 led by Major General Akbar Khan along with left-wing activists and sympathetic officers against the government of Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan's first prime minister is one such example.
Recently General Javed Qamar Bajwa was named as the 68th most powerful person on the Forbes List of 2018. Pakistan celebrated but the realists lamented. It only proved the failure of democratic institutions of Pakistan. When the Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated against the handling of Dawn Leaks by the PML (N) government, it reflected deep cleavages in civil-military relations. And obviously Pak Army had the last laugh.
Pakistan has witnessed nothing but turmoil in its political climate. Pakistan Army has constantly meddled in its national politics wherein Franksteins have been created to deliver justices with political biases. Policy-makers have been hostage to the favours by Pakistan Army.
It is a belief now that upcoming general elections on 25 July 2018 stand pre-decided by the Deep State and puppet government will play the second fiddle.
Pakistan Army controls government and also the nuclear weapons. If any civilian government tries to cross the red line drawn by the Deep State on any issue; it is tantamount to rebellion. National Security and patriotism are the pretexts which are used by Pakistan’s Deep State to sustain its influence. Never Deep State would let civilian government to assert or strengthen its position. Weak and fragile governments which Pakistan always had, suits Deep State.
Deep State emerges because of two main reasons. First is fragile position of political parties and their inability to provide good governance. Corruption, nepotism and abuse of authority create ruptures in democratic processes. Second is that Deep State emerges because of external support and assistance. In order to keep a particular country weak and subservient, it is the strategy of neighbouring or a big power to destabilise the neighbour with the connivance of Deep State.
In Pakistan’s case, both situations are there. It always had corrupt civil government and now the Chinese who are yearning to own Pakistan as one of their provinces. Needless to say, the culture of Pakistan conforms to the reality of Deep State. And Pakistan Army with ISI has emerged as the Deep State whose writ is final and binding.
Democracy without Deep State is unlikely to emerge in Pakistan. Pakistan remains at the mercy of Pakistan Army who instigate conflicts, orchestrate wars and fuel regional instabilities.
Thomas Jefferson wrote ‘the whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.’ Pakistan’s governments have not been honest and the Deep State has been failing the Nation. It is the people who are the victims and so are the neighbours. India surely has been influenced adversely by the intent and actions of the Deep State of Pakistan. But much more damage is to the people of Pakistan and to their national institutions.
Wail of Pakistanis are always lesser than viciousness of their Deep State. None can cross the red line! Pakistan in the foreseeable future shall remain in the firm grip of the Deep State.