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Pakistan Army Act

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: International Relations

 

Source: TH

Context: The Pakistan Senate passed a Bill on July 27, 2023, to amend the Pakistan Army Act, 1952.

 

What is the ongoing issue with Pakistan?

The ongoing political crisis in Pakistan has escalated with the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. The conflict centres around Khan’s confrontation with the military establishment, marking a power struggle between the popular politician and the powerful institution. Khan’s arrest led to widespread protests and violence, causing damage to military installations. The military responded forcefully, indicating a strong stance against dissent. The arrest was deemed unlawful by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, further highlighting the power struggle.

 

Khan’s popularity had previously acted as a buffer against the military’s assertiveness, but the recent events have intensified the conflict. The Present coalition government has also confronted the judiciary, adding to the chaos. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s economy is in dire straits, with looming default and high inflation. General elections are due, but the Military appears to want Khan sidelined.

 

Against this backdrop, Pakisatan’s army has endorsed the amendment to The Army Act.

 

Key Features of Amendments:

Controversies and Concerns
Expands Act to include civilians in army-affiliated entities.
It criminalizes unauthorized disclosure, raising concerns about freedom of information. It bars political activity for two years after retirement.
It restricts engagement with conflicting entities, raising concerns about post-retirement opportunities. It outlines punishments for undermining the Armed Forces, which could curb freedom of expression.
Rushed Passage of the Bill: Passed quickly without proper notice, raising questions about transparency and the legislative process.
Intimidation of Veterans: Seen as targeting retired personnel supporting Imran Khan, which could stifle dissent.

 

Concerns: The amendments to the Pakistan Army Act signal a power struggle between Imran Khan and the military establishment, impacting Pakistan’s domestic stability. This situation has implications for India’s neighbour, with potential repercussions on regional dynamics and security.