In this chapter, I interrogate the working of military relations of force as they are institutionalized in state structures and experienced in everyday life in Gilgit-Baltistan. My aim is to go beyond a conceptualization of the military that views it merely as a state apparatus of repression where power lies in the monopoly of violence. To make sense of the military-intelligence regime's hegemonic rule in Gilgit-Baltistan, I adopt a more grounded and processual approach which investigates how the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies occupy space, bodies, and resources, while also dominating discourses, emotions, and subjectivities.
Militarization fundamentally structures state, economy, and society in Gilgit. It is critically linked to livelihoods and cultural orientations, shaping local understandings of family, region, and nation as well as people's identities and aspirations. Central to the working of military power in Gilgit-Baltistan, I argue, is the process of emotional regulation, whereby structures of rule produce and work through arrangements of feeling. The cultivation of certain emotional dispositions by the military-intelligence regime creates a political economy of feelings, which buttresses Pakistan's political economy of defence. Regional employment in the Pakistani military creates loyal subjects who revere the military and the military-state, producing the conditions of possibility for continued military authoritarianism in the region. At the same time, the working of the intelligence agencies actively creates suspicious subjects—instead of being a response to them—entrenching Pakistan as a delusional state in which military power is reinforced through the use of surveillance and calculated disorder along sectarian lines. Loyalty and suspicion thus constitute forms of emotional regulation that are paradoxical but not contradictory: the former integrates people into the nation and accomplishes rule by creating consent, while the latter services state power by emotionally disintegrating the region through suspicion, and hindering the possibilities of local collective action. Nevertheless, militarization is also a site of negotiation. Thus, I highlight historical and everyday moments that reveal how the military-intelligence hegemony in Gilgit-Baltistan is continually fraught with tension and contestation.
Studies of the military in Pakistan have focused on the issues of martial rule and civil–military relations, arms procurement, the extensive military capital that is hidden from public view, as well as the army's historical relationship with the United States.