July 28, 2018

WASHINGTON: The most dangerous country in the world just got considerably more dangerous, a veteran South Asia analyst has cautioned about the election outcome in Pakistan that has pitched former cricketer Imran Khan to power. On its part, the Trump administration said it looks forward to working with the new government of Pakistan and furthering the goals of security and stability in the region.
Warning about Pakistan’s road ahead came from Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and White House official, who took a dim view of the election of Khan, widely seen as a stooge of the Pakistani military, and a man he said blames Pakistan’s problems on America, and is the ”most anti-American politician in South Asia.”
”Khan is an outspoken defender of the army and is closely aligned with the Islamist movements patronised by the ISI. He is a frequent critic of the United States which he says treats Pakistan like a ‘Doormat’”, Riedel wrote in a commentary, while maintaining that there is ”compelling evidence” that the army is supporting Khan, intimidating his opponents and suppressing the press to get him to power.
Riedel, who was centre stage in Washington as a Clinton White House aide during the Kargil war that ended in disaster for Islamabad, said the Pakistan Army soured on Nawaz Sharif years ago and was especially alarmed when he blamed the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack on the ISI. The ISI was certainly responsible for the Mumbai operation, but to acknowledge that is verboten in Pakistan, he explained.
However, Riedel suggested that the Army-Imran Khan dalliance could be short-lived. ”I have been impressed by Khan’s determination when I’ve met him, but also by his proclivity for conspiracy theories no matter how irresponsible. He has a reputation for independence and volatility. His political movement is almost a cult of personality. The generals may find him hard to control,” he wrote in the Daily Beast.
Meanwhile, the state department offered a cautious welcome to the changing of the guards in Pakistan, a process that remains incomplete. “As Pakistan’s elected leaders form a new government, the United States will look for opportunities to work with them to advance our goals of security, stability, and prosperity in South Asia,” a statement from the State Department said, after months of cold shouldering Pakistan because of its undermining of US policy in Afghanistan.

Source : India Defence News

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