Military retains dominant influence in Pak: US report

Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) The Pakistan military continues to retain dominant influence over foreign and security policies of the country in Prime Minister Imran Khan's tenure, according to a US congressional report.

The report -- Pakistan's Domestic Political Setting -- has been prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

It said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief "had no governance experience prior to winning his current office. His 'Naya Pakistan' vision - which appeared to animate many younger, urban, middle-class voters-emphasizes anti-corruption and creation of a 'welfare state' that provides better education and healthcare, but his effort has foundered due to the country's acute financial crisis, and a need for new foreign borrowing and government austerity".

"Most analysts see Pakistan's military establishment continuing to retain dominant influence over foreign and security policies," said the report.

According to the CRS, analysts contend that Pakistan's security services covertly manipulated the country's domestic politics before and during the election with a central motive of (again removing Nawaz Sharif from power and otherwise weakening his incumbent party.

Observers called Sharif's removal a "soft coup" orchestrated by the military.

The CRS said that a purported "military-judiciary nexus" allegedly came to favour Khan's PTI.

"Election observers and human rights groups issued statements pointing to sometimes 'severe' abuses of democratic norms, and the unprecedented participation of small parties with links to banned Islamist terrorist groups was seen to embolden militants."

The CRS conducts research and analysis for the US Congress on major policy issues.

--IANS

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