Washington: The Pakistan military, which orchestrated a “soft coup” to oust former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has retained the “dominant influence” over foreign and security policies during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tenure, a US congressional report has said.
The military, which was engaged in three “outright seizures” of power from civilian-led governments, had colluded with the country’s judiciary to overthrow the Pakistan Muslim League government led by Sharif, it said.
This purported “military-judiciary nexus” allegedly came to favour Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the report titled ‘Pakistan Domestic Political Setting’ by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) noted.
“Many 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,” it said.
“Most analysts see Pakistan’s military establishment continuing to retain dominant influence over foreign and security policies,” it added.
The CRS conducts research and analysis for the US Congress on a broad range of national policy issues. Its reports are regularly used by US lawmakers to make an informed decision and are not considered official reports of the Congress.
The report contended that the participation of small parties linked to banned terrorist groups has embolden terrorists in the country.
“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 were seen to embolden militants (Islamist parties won a combined 10 per cent of the national vote in 2018),” the report added. (ANI)