The newly appointed Nawaz Sharif government of the Pakistan Muslim League was in a better position to tilt the balance of power from non-elected institutions to elected institutions. Not only did Sharif enjoy a stronger base of power in Punjab (a huge majority of officers of non-elected institutions come from this area), but he was more acceptable to the Islamic parties who were against the western policies of Benazir Bhutto. However he was removed as well, without completing his term by General Ghulam Ishaq Khan. He was eventually reinstated by the order of the Supreme Court (the first such instance of the Supreme Court supporting politicians against the military bureaucratic establishment). However he had to later resign amidst immense pressure from the military, but not without getting Ghulam Ishaq Khan removed as well
(Alavi). Both Bhutto and Sharif enjoyed two incomplete terms in office at the end of which both left the country. Bhutto left due to charges of corruption against her and her husband Asif Ali Zardari. Nawaz Sharif was also in a similar position at the end of his tenure, when he was exiled to Saudi Arabia after a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf.
Since its inception, Pakistan has battled hard for democracy but never been able to come to grips with effective military bureaucratic stranglehold on politics in the country. The Muslim League, without the essential support amongst bureaucrats and provinces, remained weak from the outset. The initial financial pressures due to conflicts with India imposed severe financial restrictions on the government. The military, predominantly composed of Punjabis received a majority of the benefits of public funds. From the start, the civil bureaucrats exercised domination in a decisive manner and never relinquished control to the legislature. The position of Secretary General allowed bringing all the segmented ministries and their bureaucracies under one single authority. Non elected institutions systematically chipped away at the tenets of democracy by never allowing a political party to settle. The military regime of General Ayub Khan fattened themselves on foreign military aid and made Pakistan extremely dependant of American assistance. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, though elected democratically was corrupt and almost dictatorial. Islamisation followed with installation of General Zia Ul Haq as president and his orders and amendments to the 1973 constitution gave him ultimate authority over Pakistani politics. The Bhutto and Sharif governments were the hotbed of rampant corruption whereby the families of those in power got wealthier. The experiment with democracy, though improving Pakistan’s economic state in some ways, has only shown the power of the military and civil authorities in Pakistan a new way to regain control. The military coup of 1999 reaffirmed the status of the importance of military in political process. Recently Pervez Musharraf was ousted, after an eight year Presidency, and replaced with the late Benazir Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari. The hope is that it ushers in a new era where fair elections and fairer democracy is carried out. The fleeting moments of shackled democracies have dotted Pakistan’s sixty four year old history but have not been able to tilt the balance towards legislature.
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