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Pakistan's military faces calls for major shakeup after bin Laden failure

The Pakistan Army faces a rising domestic backlash, but the public relations disaster could provide a rare and overdue chance to mend broken civil-military relations, analysts say.

In this Thursday, May 5, photo, Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (c.) presides the Corps Commander conference at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Inter Services Public Relation department/AP

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Four days after US Navy SEALs swooped deep into Pakistani territory to carry out a daring, 40-minute raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the Pakistan Army is facing a rising domestic backlash.

Observers normally reluctant to criticize the military – this country’s most powerful and popular institution – are now publicly asking why Pakistan's main intelligence agency apparently had no knowledge of Mr. bin Laden's presence and why the military appeared to be caught unaware of the US raid.

But the public relations disaster the Army has suffered could provide a rare and overdue chance to mend broken civil-military relations, analysts say.

“This is a golden opportunity," says Ayesha Siddiqa, author of "Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military." "We’re seeing a period we’ve never had before. It’s something comparable to 1971,” she says, referring to the year Pakistan lost its second war to India, which resulted in the capture of 90,000 prisoners of war and the secession of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). That, in turn, paved the way for the arrival of a powerful civilian ruler in Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

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