Millennium Post

Pakistan military unlikely to stage a coup now: US experts

Pakistan’s powerful military is not prepared to bring down the civilian government but would maintain its ‘dominating influence’, prominent US scholars have said amid efforts to find a successor to army chief General Raheel Sharif. The chances of a change of government in Pakistan are remote as the military is not prepared to bring down the civilian set-up, said Ambassador Robin Raphel.

The former US assistant secretary of state for South Asia was among half-a-dozen American scholars who analysed the current political situation in Pakistan at a recent seminar in Washington, Dawn newspaper reported. The speakers highlighted weaknesses and strengths in the current political set-up and its relations with Pakistan’s powerful military establishment. All agreed that the military would retain its ‘dominating influence’ over the civilian set-up but would not bring it down.

“The military does not want snap elections,” said Raphel, a respected Pakistan sympathiser in Washington who recently faced an FBI probe for her alleged friendly relations with Pakistani diplomats. In June, she was cleared of the charges. Raphel thinks that if elections are held now, “likely beneficiary will be Imran Khan” but the elections will take place as scheduled, in 2018.

While ruling out the possibility of a military takeover, Raphel warned that the “military may move in if there is a major public disorder in the country”. The chances of a takeover, however, were remote, she added. “Like the military, the public too has changed and may resist any abrupt move.”

Military dictators have ruled Pakistan for over half its 70-year history, and armed forces are widely seen as controlling its foreign and defence policies. But she underlined “some erosion in public support for democracy”, which she said was worrying and might lead to a situation where the people might be forced to welcome an abrupt change, as they did in 1999. 

Pak must do utmost to prevent acts of terror: US
Pakistan must do the utmost to check terrorists not just in the country but elsewhere in the region, the US has said and underlined the need of greater Indo-Pak dialogue and counterterrorism cooperation to combat the menace. “We would encourage greater dialogue and counterterrorism cooperation between both Pakistan and India. We've said that many times,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said. “It's for the good of both countries; it's for the good of the region. It's for the benefit of the US,” he said and asked Pakistan to act firmly against terrorism. “It's important that Pakistan do the utmost to prevent terrorists from carrying out acts of terror not just in Pakistan, but elsewhere in the region. So it's important that there's greater collaboration, greater dialogue,” Toner said. “We would encourage any effort in that regard,” he said. 
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