Another significant aspect of Pakistan's political legacy is its military forces and, in particular, the role of the largest of these forces, the army. The military remains one of the country's most cohesive national institutions. Since independence it has oscillated between indirect and direct political control, remaining a major power. The military's sense of mission in defending and preserving the Islamic state of Pakistan has always been strong. For Muslim members of the British Indian Army, the transfer of loyalties from the colonial to the ideological state was not difficult. Successors to the historical legacy of the Muslim armies of the once powerful Mughal Empire, Muslim soldiers could relate to a new role of protecting the faith and the state embodied in Pakistan. The military also provided alternative political leadership in times of crisis. Military regimes in Pakistan have legitimated their actions by the doctrine of necessity, stepping in temporarily when political crises have reached a deadlock and threatened the state.
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