Islamabad: The economic crisis of Pakistan worsened in recent months due to its close brush with shortages of foreign exchange as well as essential goods including food and medicine that pushed average inflation to about 40 per cent. People were seen queuing up for subsidized wheat flour and often turned riotous. No doubt, the economic situation in the country is turning graver while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package is taking unexpectedly more time to begin, The Pak Military Monitor reported.

But the economic crisis is not the sole issue with Pakistan. Underneath all the problems of Pakistan is that the country has come into a serious institutional crisis. Already Pakistan state had multiple centres of control including the elected government, the military establishment and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), besides many other none state players, especially terror and jihadi outfits.

The problem now is not an overlap and interference among these power centres, but also their lack of effectiveness in upholding the constitution and law and order, The Pak Military Monitor reported.

The erstwhile government became a victim of a political coup and was ousted by a new government cobbled together by the opposition under the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif. But there is neither any progress in resolving the economic crisis nor any breakthrough in proceeding to establish an elected government. Revenge politics is at its peak and the country has seen in the past the worst of such a politics often leading to brazen murder or hanging or exile of its leaders.

The way Imran Khan is being hounded and often complained of danger to his life well indicates the state of institutions in the country. Even Imran Khan is creating political noise and raucous by showing the least concern for the economic crisis the country is reeling under. He is demanding an early election which the Shehbaz Sharif government is not heeding. Irresponsibility and vested interest are writs very large among political leaders, The Pak Military Monitor reported.

The first institution in Pakistan which became ineffectual was the position of President Arif Alvi, President of the country since September 2018, who initially refused to swear in Shehbaz, the successor of Imran Khan and his cabinet.

When the Election Commissioner rejected Imran's demand to hold an early election, the President unilaterally announced the date of 9 April resulting in a showdown between him and two anti-Imran institutions, the government and Election Commission.

The President has also refused to ratify the current government's decisions which are against Imran's views. President Alvi returned the election reforms bill, which reversed Imran's decision of introducing electronic voting machines as also the National Accountability Bureau bill, amongst others, The Pak Military Monitor reported.

The Pak army and military establishment have failed to maintain its neutrality among the political parties and it always tries to become a king-maker by lodging and un-lodging political leaders from the seat of power. The military establishment often hatches conspiracy against the governments which lost their confidence in the ISI.

This has brought not only a bad reputation for Pakistan but has also pulled down the earlier elected governments before they completed their full tenures. No government in Pakistan has ever lasted its full term. The military establishment and ISI had become so discredited about their role in Imran Khan's ouster that they had to give assurance in an exceptional joint press conference on October 27, 2022, to state that Pakistan's army would "remain apolitical." The stories about corruption in the military establishment have become a routine affair, The Pak Military Monitor reported.

This is not new in Pakistan the government and judiciary often clash and try to interfere in each other's domain. Most recently on April 10, a joint session of Pakistan's Parliament passed a bill to curb the powers of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court regarding suo moto cases and the constitutional benches.

The development came two days later after President Alvi returned a bill passed by both houses of Parliament for reconsideration on the pretext that the proposed legislation was beyond the jurisdiction of the legislative body, The Pak Military Monitor reported.

When the institutions of the country become ineffectual, then anybody could imagine that situations are building up for a coup. Already it was seen during the protests led by Imran Khan, where Khan's supporters fought with the militarized police.

"They are no longer afraid of the military", says Azeem Ibrahim, a columnist at Foreign Policy adding that any coup, rather than meeting with acquiescence, could result in chaos, even civil war.

Azeem also states in his article that the "press in both Pakistan and India increasingly believe a coup is possible. Pakistan suffered four coups in its first fifty years of independence. The current conditions in the country are not promising. They include economic decline and a crackdown on political opposition."

The country is fast moving towards chaos and anarchy in which the self-righteous military establishment could resort to a coup at any time. The Pak state is on the brink of failing as it is clueless about how to reconcile the conflicting interests of multiple power centres and stakeholders in the country and how to maintain the sanctity of institutions.