"What we might see happen [now] is people raising their voices [in protest] and the president using that to say Pakistan is interested in change,” says Ms. Siddiqa. That includes greater oversight by the civilian government over intelligence and appointments. “What I want to see is now is greater transparency and accountability from the Army," adds Siddiqa.
Until now, Pakistan’s Army has enjoyed almost unfettered control. No civilian oversight is required in making or renewing high-level appointments, including experts observe, the extension of ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha's tenure in March.
The Army oversees the country’s defense and foreign policy and maintains a major stake in industries, agriculture, and land holdings. It even has its own brand of breakfast cereal.
Then there is the matter of its budget, which citizens are starting to question. Officially, the Army receives some 22 percent of the budget, though analysts estimate the actual figure to be significantly higher.
Promises to investigate
On Thursday, in the wake of a growing backlash among Pakistan's citizens, Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani chaired a high-level meeting of his commanders. The result was that the Army promised to investigate intelligence failures in detecting the world’s most wanted terrorist.
For many people, that wasn't enough.
If the military persists with their claim of ignorance, says postgraduate student Imran Khalid, echoing popular sentiment, “They will be seen by the general public as incompetent in terms of not being able to protect the borders and the nation's sovereignty…. People will begin to question whether it is worth maintaining a military, which is at sea both against terrorist outfits as well as foreign military operations.”
Civilian government's problems
But Pakistan’s civilian government, led by President Asif Ali Zardari, has its own problems.