Washington: Pakistan's security services favoured Imran Khan and covertly manipulated the country's domestic politics before and during the 2018 election with a central motive of removing Nawaz Sharif and his party PML-N from power, a US Congressional report said, citing analysts.
The report prepared for US lawmakers by the bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) said Khan had no governance experience prior to winning his current office and analysts contend that a purported "military-judiciary nexus allegedly came to favour" his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party.
"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 Sharif from power and otherwise weakening his incumbent party," the report said.
"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 (Islamist parties won a combined 10 per cent of the national vote in 2018)," it said.
Khan's 'Naya Pakistan' vision — which appeared to animate many younger, urban, middle-class voters — emphasises anti-corruption and creation of a "welfare state" that provides better education and health care, but his effort has foundered due to the country's acute financial crisis, and a need for new foreign borrowing and government austerity, the report said.
"Most analysts see Pakistan's military establishment continuing to retain dominant influence over foreign and security policies," it added.
The powerful army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy. But now, the military will play a greater role in the economic affairs of Pakistan as the government grapples with serious financial woes.
The CRS is an independent research wing of the US Congress, which prepares periodic reports on issues of interest for lawmakers. Its report are for meant for US lawmakers to make informed decision and not considered as an official report of the US Congress.
Updated Date: Aug 29, 2019 23:46:24 IST