The Establishment in Pakistan refers to its cooperative federations of the powerful military-dominant oligarchy, and the consolidated intelligence community. This group of individuals, while not exclusively military, are considered key and elite decision makers in major public policy decisions ranging from national security to the defence policy and the use of intelligence agencies in Pakistan. Former President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, President of Pakistan, Qudrat Ullah Shahab, Roedad Khan and Ijlal Haider Zaidi Defence Secretary of Pakistan are regarded to be the most influential figures and representatives of the Establishment of Pakistan. Since 1988, at the time when Benazir Bhutto's government was in office, the Establishment gravitated to conservatism and nationalistic policies, in its political–intelligence spectrum, which were led under Nawaz Sharif.
Since Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto appointed General Abdul Waheed Kakar as the Chief of Army Staff, the support for democracy and civil liberties roughly depended on the attitudes of the Chief of Army Staff. General Kakar's appointment was highly crucial for Benazir Bhutto who gave the civil liberties to the people of Pakistan. However, during the 1980s, the Establishment under General Zia-ul-Haq whose idea of religious conservatism was the primary goal of his military government, opposed any idea of "Freedom of Speech" and media independence as the suppression of media was continued during this period. In 2002, the military government of General Pervez Musharraf who as part of his "Enlightened Moderation", passed laws giving the news media more freedom.
Defence expert Brian Cloughley says: "All Pakistan's military coups have been bloodless, successful and popular – but popular only for a while. The trouble is that military people are usually quite good at running large organisations, even civilian secretariat, but generally fail to understand politics and the government, and the give-and-take so necessary in that esoteric world." At times when civilian leaders are ineffective or are accused of making secret deals with the west, public support for the establishment increases. On the other hand, at the same time, when military leaders are ineffective and the chiefs of armed forces are accused of being weak on foreign policy, support for civilian rule increases.
- Hyderabad tribunal
- Agartala Conspiracy Case
- Mehran bank scandal
- Operation Midnight Jackal
- Islami Jamhoori Ittehad
- Convention Muslim League
- Pakistan Muslim League (Q)
- Pakistan Muslim League (F)
- Without a trace The Guardian, March 16, 2007, Retrieved 20 August 2015
- Musharraf’s respect for press freedom, Canada Free Press article, Retrieved 20 August 2015
- Army, Allah and America on Pakistani pitfalls and the future of Egypt reuters.com website, Retrieved 20 August 2015