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The search for common ground: civil–military relations in Pakistan

Research reports

Research reports

How do humanitarian agencies engage with militaries that are both a belligerent in the conflict and the primary responder to disasters?

In recent years, Pakistan has faced a series of large-scale natural disasters and complex emergencies. Many of the areas hard hit by the disasters have also been affected by armed conflict or instability, with the Pakistan national military both a belligerent in the conflict and the primary responder to the natural disaster. This dual role has made coordination between aid agencies and the military in these areas particularly complicated.

Faced with the need to engage with the Pakistan military – as well as foreign militaries involved in the conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan, humanitarian actors were hit with the challenge of ensuring a consistent line on how to engage with national and foreign militaries.

Drawing from interviews with key military and civilian actors engaged in humanitarian response, this report explores the complexities and challenges of civil-military coordination in Pakistan, from the earthquake response in 2005 to the 2010 floods.

Lauren Greenwood and Gowthaman Balachandran