Pak PM risks straining ties with military
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif may strain his relations with the new army chief if he continues to expand his policy-making powers, warns a US intelligence report.
The report, presented before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last Wednesday, notes that Sharif is seeking to “acquire a more central policy-making role” for civilians in areas that the Army has traditionally dominated.
“His push for an increased role in foreign policy and national security will probably test his relationship with the new Chief of Army Staff, particularly if the Army believes that the civilian government's position impinges on Army interests” the report warns.
But it also notes that the prime minister has publically stated that the Army and the civilian government are “on the same page.”
The annual report is an assessment of the threats the United States may have to deal with in 2014 and is compiled jointly by all US intelligence agencies.
The report says that Sharif probably won the May 2013 election primarily because the previous government failed to improve either the economy or the generation of electricity.
The US intelligence community informs the Senate that Pakistan wants good relations with the United States “but cooperation with Washington will continue to be vulnerable to strains, particularly due to Pakistani sensitivities toward perceived violations of sovereignty.”
The report notes that Sharif also seeks rapprochement with New Delhi in part in anticipation of increased trade, which would be beneficial to Pakistan's economic growth. Sharif will probably move cautiously to improve relations, however, and India also will probably not take any bold steps, particularly not before the Indian elections in Spring 2014.