The Persistent Challenge of Political Instability in Pakistan due to Military intervention

Pakistan has struggled to develop a stable political structure since its founding. Military takeovers, political killings, and a lack of stability in government have tainted the nation's history. The political environment has been shaped by both direct and indirect military authority, demonstrating the military's persistent influence in politics.

politicalCivil-Military Relations

The intricate relationship between the civilian government and the military is one of the main causes of political instability in Pakistan. Throughout history, the military has been deeply involved in politics, frequently interfering with government while posing as an army to maintain stability or neutralize threats. Let's take a look at the increasing interest of Pakistani Army in Politics throughout the years.  

Ayyub Khan's Martial Law, 1958:

In 1958, Pakistan saw its first significant military intervention when then-Army Chief General Ayyub Khan declared martial law, which resulted in the overthrow of the civilian government. This signaled the start of a trend in which the military took up a direct leadership role. Although that martial law save Pakistan from Collapse but it started the trend of Military Take-overs in this country.


1971: Bangladesh's Creation and the Civil War:

The 1971 civil war that resulted in Bangladesh's formation saw an increase in military engagement. The battle highlighted how the military and civilian authorities have a complicated relationship, with the military playing a more direct involvement in political decision-making.

Zia-ul-Haq's Coup in 1977:

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the prime minister, was overthrown in a coup in 1977 by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. With its stringent Islamization measures and consolidation of military might, Zia's dictatorship signaled the beginning of an extended period of military rule and this turned out to be the longest military rule in the history of Pakistan. Zia-ul-Haq promised to hold elections in the coming year but the subsequent time witnessed something else.


1988: Return to Civilian Rule (Still Military Rule):

The death of Zia-ul-Haq in 1988 paved the way for a return to civilian rule. However, the military continued to exert influence from behind the scenes, and political instability persisted. COAS was rumored to be involved in the dismissal of Nawaz and Benazir's Government. The military's influence during this period was evident in its role in the discharge of civilian governments and the subsequent periods of military rule.  

1999: Musharraf's Coup: 

After a bloodless coup, General Pervez Musharraf overthrew Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's administration beginning the most controversial military era in the history of Pakistan.  The highlights of Musharraf's era include Political opponents facing restrictions, and opposition parties encountering obstacles in their activities, the Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir, Musharraf allying Pakistan with the United States in the War on Terror after the 9/11 attacks and the Laal Masjid event.

3284741-1727104713Musharraf held a controversial referendum in 2002 to extend his presidency, and later that year, parliamentary elections were conducted. The process was marred by allegations of rigging and manipulation, casting doubts on the credibility of the democratic transition. 

2013–2018: Civilian Administrations Under Military Sway:

2018 marked the end of the second of two successive civilian governments that began in 2013. But claims of military meddling in domestic politics continued, casting doubt on the resilience of democratic institutions. Nawaz Sharif was made ineligible for life due to corruption cases but certain reports and analysts claimed military intervention in this dismissal. It was said that if Nawaz had good relations with army at that time then he could have completed his regime even with his direct involvement in corruption and money laundering.

2018: Imran Khan's Ascension:

The election of Imran Khan as Prime Minister in 2018 marked another shift in Pakistan's political landscape. While a civilian government was in power, questions about the military's role in shaping the political agenda remained.

2022: Imran Khan's Dismissal:

Since the beginning of Imran khan's era, military involvement was rumored and it was made clear when Imran khan was ousted in April 2022. The Discharge of Imran khan's Government exposed the involvement of army in Pakistani politics. Former prime Minister Imran khan is illegally (without any charges) held in jail. His party leaders and candidates have been unlawfully arrested, harassed and some have also been killed by the intelligence agencies. But it didn't stop here, the family members of all those candidates have also been wrongfully arrested and pestered to pressure those aspirants to leave PTI (Imran Khan's Party). And all this happened because Imran Khan denied to become the Puppet of Army. The Dismissal of Imran Khan has uncovered the dark face of Pakistani Politics and it has changed people's perspective towards army.


The historical timeline of military intervention in Pakistani politics highlights a complex relationship between the military and civilian authorities. Despite periodic returns to civilian rule, the military has consistently influenced political dynamics, impacting governance, stability, and the democratic process. Even today, Pakistan is a country without any government because General elections were scheduled to be held in Pakistan less than 90 days after the dissolution of the National Assembly, which was prematurely dissolved on 10 August 2023 by President Arif Alvi on the advice of the Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, but it's the end of the year and there are NO ELECTIONS which again identifies military interposition. Addressing the problem of military intervention is essential for the building of a strong, stable democracy that represents the will of the people as Pakistan navigates its democratic future.