Frequent martial laws weakened the political setup. Martial laws started soon after the independence. Iskander Mirza imposed first martial law on October 7, 1958 and Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and Musharaf followed suit. Pakistan is ruled almost half of its 69 years by these military dictators who ruled the country according to their own whims.
Civil-military relations heavily influence the domestic politics. Because of the repeated martial laws, there exists a civil-military imbalance unlike in other popular democracies. The government enjoys nominal power in the domains of foreign and defense policies with reference to India, Afghanistan and America. Former Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar admitted in Al-Jazeerah’s program Head to Head, “military has a larger role in the country.” Military occupied that space partly due to the inability of the politicians to manage the political affairs effectively. Ayub Khan while serving army chief of the country was appointed “defense minister” as well. It is a rare possibility in successful democracies. Besides, in the decades of 1950’s and 1980’s, ruling party and the opposition indulged in the politics of leg pulling. It weakened the institutions and paved the way for military interference. Imbalanced civil-military relations created a mistrust between the two important pillars of the state. In spite of that gulf, situation is better than it was in the past.
Inter-provincial grievances are one of the serious challenges which CPEC is facing. It is alleged that the ruling party at the centre is trying to maximize benefits for Punjab province at the cost of other provinces. It created rifts between the federal government and the provinces. Major bone of contention was “the route change.” KPK government protested that the federal government wants “to work on the eastern route” which passes through Central Punjab. It is a longer than “the western route.” However, the proposed route is “the wester route” which passes through KPK. It added further to the inter-provincial mistrust. According to the daily Dawn, “Chinese government urged the Pakistani leaders to sort out the differences.” Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong met the leaders of the main stream parties in this regard. Thus, Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif convened an APC (All Parties Conference) where inter-provincial grievances were addressed. Provinces were assured that there is no change in the proposed routes. Moreover, provinces would enjoy the equal fruits of CPEC. However, Skepticism is not entirely eliminated.