The public in South Asian countries have reacted variedly to the developments taking place in Pakistan
Suspicions and negative perception of the army also derive from the fact that the Sri Lankan military holds some key positions in the country’s civil administration and politics.This positive perception is likely an outcome of common issues that both democracies face. One commentary highlighted that Imran Khan’s arrest on corruption charges is insignificant when compared to the corruption of Sri Lankan politicians. Suspicions and negative perception of the army also derive from the fact that the Sri Lankan military holds some key positions in the country’s civil administration and politics. The populace also remains sceptical of a possible military coup. The Sri Lankan military’s role in coercing and intimidating the Aragalya movement has only furthered these reservations against the institution, likely triggering such sympathy for Khan and democracy. In Bangladesh, public opinion has strongly favoured democracy, if not Imran Khan himself. Legacy and historical baggage has largely dominated Bangladesh’s perception of the crisis in Pakistan. There is a perception that the crisis is a product of its missed opportunity to be a well-established democracy in the 1970s when the army refused to let the Awami League form the government. The military has been criticised for refusing to take a back seat and let civilian government rule the country, and Imran Khan is being portrayed as someone who has successfully shaken the wall of military-compromised politics. The judiciary has been complimented for bailing out on Khan, when people are growing awry of the military’s role in politics. In Bangladesh, there is some optimism that elections are the way ahead for economic and democratic normalcy in Pakistan, and that the military’s intervention and interference in the democratic process will come to a stop.
The military has been criticised for refusing to take a back seat and let civilian government rule the country, and Imran Khan is being portrayed as someone who has successfully shaken the wall of military-compromised politics.There seems to be no media coverage of the crisis in the Maldives, Nepal, and Bhutan. In Nepal and Bhutan’s social media, a negative perception persists on Pakistan’s democracy. In Nepal, some suggest that by bailing out Khan, the judiciary is attempting to damage the control done by the elites. In Bhutan, a notable journalist has drawn parallels with India and argued that an absence of founding and strong democratic leaders like Nehru in Pakistan has contributed to the current crisis. Surprisingly, the mainstream media in these countries have not covered the crisis. It is even more surprising that none of the South Asian countries have expressed concerns of terrorism and nuclear proliferation. One likely explanation is that they perceive these threats to loom large regardless of the change in the regime. If that is the case, then there seems to be no positive perception left for the country in the region. By that case, a once revisionist Pakistan will continue to be left as a bereft and broken state.
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Aditya Gowdara Shivamurthy is an Associate Fellow with ORFs Strategic Studies Programme. He focuses on broader strategic and security related-developments throughout the South Asian region ...Read More +