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19. Pakistan  

Regime Change and Military Power

David Taylor

This chapter examines Pakistan’s history of regime change and the military’s persistent influence on the country’s political process. Since its creation in 1947, Pakistan has struggled to develop a system of sustainable democratic government. It has experienced a succession of regime changes, alternating between qualified or electoral democracy and either military or quasi-military rule. Underlying apparent instability and regime change in Pakistan is the dominance of the military in domestic politics. Ironically, the reintroduction of military rule has often been welcomed in Pakistan as a relief from the factional disputes among the civilian political leaders and accompanying high levels of corruption. The chapter first traces the history of Pakistan from independence to its breakup in 1971 before discussing government instability from 1971 to 1999. It then describes General Pervez Musharraf ’s rule from 1999 to 2008 and concludes with an assessment of the armed forces’ continuing involvement in Pakistani politics.