Two differing views on the Pakistani Army

Apparently, this blog is now all Pakistan all the time. But these two articles caught my eye this morning, the first one from a writing fellow in the U.S.

The Pakistani military, as is the case with most armed forces in the Muslim world, is the citadel of the country’s modernity, its most significant secular institution and protector not only of the modern nation state but the idea of the nation state itself.

The case for standing by Musharraf. – By Lee Smith – Slate Magazine

And this one from an ex-Pakistan army cadet and current reporter for the BBC Urdu service.

Within months there were other changes: evenings socializing to music and mocktails were replaced by Koran study sessions. Buses were provided for cadets who wanted to attend civilian religious congregations. Within months, our rather depressing but secular academy was turned into a zealous, thriving madrassa where missing your daily prayers was a crime far worse than missing the morning drill.It is this crop of military officers that now runs the country. General Musharraf heads this army, and is very reluctant to let go.

Pakistan’s General Anarchy – New York Times

Now who’s right, I wonder? The guy who’s from Pakistan and was actually in the army when it was transforming from a secular to a religious organization, or a writing fellow who despite an impressive Arab resume does not actually know any Urdu.

It’s Western “experts” like these that fuel this idea of Musharraf being some kind of secular bastion against anarchy in Pakistan. It’s under Zia ul-Haq and Musharraf that the Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan made greater inroads because the Pakistan intelligence service (ISI) and the army are full of people who support and propagate extremist agendas.

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