Whither democracy in Pakistan? Is there a democratically elected government there or is it a silent coup that's been unfolding ever since a civilian government was elected? They say a leopard can never change its spots. So it is with the Pakistan Army. They cannot and will never digest a civilian government running the country. They're drunk on power and need to keep it at all costs. For those who were in doubt so far, this news puts all doubts to rest. This is proof that Pakistan has a lame duck government being run by the Army. Nawaz and his team are just puppets on a string.... Pak military tightening grip on policy-making? Omer Farooq Khan Islamabad TNN Calls Cabinet To Rawalpindi HQ To Discuss Country's External & Security-Related Policies Into the last 24 months of its rule, the Nawaz Sharif regime is giving the impression of a lame duck government. Political controversy over Panama papers is refusing to die down, and Sharif himself, recuperating from a surgery , has become vulnerable to criticism. Worse, a freeze in Pakistan's relations with India has come on the back of uneasy relations with the United States, escalation of tensions with Afghanistan, and growing mistrust with Iran. Last week, the entire cabinet, excluding the interior minister, were called for a meeting to the military's general headquarters (GHQ) in the garrison city of Rawalpindi following a call from the men in khaki, showing their dominance in the country's decision-making process. The agenda was to discuss the country's external and security-related policies. The Indian PM's diplomatic overtures in the region, the US and West Asia have, in recent weeks, intensified the debate inside Pakistan about the direction of its foreign policy , being dubbed as “failed“ by critics, many of them within the army . A top PML stalwart told TOI that Sharif, when he'd taken over, was determined to minimise the military's role in the realm of the country's foreign affairs but has had to give in at every step to sustained pressure from “hidden“ quarters. Although it is acknowledged that when it comes to foreign affairs, the civilians play second fiddle to the military establishment, the Pindi meeting, according to observers, could have been held at the foreign office. Deflecting criticism of politicians and media over the military's iron grip on policy matters, Sharif 's adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz told parliamentarians that it was wrong to assume that the military dictates the country's foreign policy . “Over the years, we've been taking substantial inputs from the military due to our long standing disputes with neighbouring India,“ said Aziz, considered military's pawn. Ali Muhammad Khan, a legislator from opposition Pakistan Tehreek-iInsaf party , said in the National Assembly , “Politicians are accountable to people, but if an army general comes in, nobody will be able to ask him a question. I appeal to all politicians on treasury and opposition benches to fulfil the trust of the masses who elected them and assert themselves in the policy making process of the country.“ Proponents of democracy said such a state of affairs is unacceptable. “The military should be consulted on key issues linked to national security, but decisions about foreign affairs must be made in Islamabad and not Rawalpindi,“ said Amir Mateen, a Pakistani analyst. http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/...ghtening-grip-on-policy-making-20062016014027 Because of the military's stranglehold over Pakistan's foreign policy, the country is heading deeper into the rabbit hole. It is slowly but surely becoming isolated and a pariah in the international community due to the Army's lopsided policies. Generals are meant to plan war strategy and not dabble in politics and diplomacy as they aren't trained for it, especially the Jehadi Pak Army which has been using Jehad as an instrument of state policy for decades. Can you imagine the entire Indian cabinet being summoned to the Army HQ in Delhi under orders from the Chief of Army Staff? These things can only happen in Pakistan and the reason why it has morphed into a dysfunctional state.