Civil-military relations in Pakistan have deteriorated markedly in recent months. On Thursday, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani hinted at conspiracies to oust his government. On the same day, Reuters quoted an unnamed source who said the army was fed up with President Asif Ali Zardari. The source, however, said a coup was not on the cards, but a “proper way” had to be found to ease out the government. Zardari recently returned from Dubai after medical treatment there amid reports that he left the country as the military was planning a coup.
Perhaps the only reason why the army has not stepped in is that its credibility, too, is on very shaky ground, especially after the US raid hunting down Osama bin Laden.
However, what is clear is that civilian rule, in spite of the groundswell of public support, has not been able to strike roots. The problem, as always, lies in the weakness of its political leadership.