The Pakistan Army will continue to shape the country's foreign and security policy, a forecast report released by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has said, adding that the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is expected to be largely amenable to this arrangement.
"As a result, relations between the civilian government and the military will be positive," added the report published earlier this week by the research and analysis division of The Economist Group.
The report outlined Pakistan's political and economic outlook for the period of 2020 to 2024 and forecast that the PTI would serve its full term while the opposition parties would remain in a state of disarray owing to legal challenges facing their leaders.
With regard to the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the report noted that the opposition would coordinate strategies against the government in an effort that would likely result in frequent obstruction to legislative proceedings in Parliament. It added that while these moves against Prime Minister Imran Khan would increase pressure on his government, the EIU did not believe they would be able to challenge the PTI's grip on power.
"Our view assumes that the military (including its intelligence wing) - which has a history of intervening in politics - will continue to provide tacit support to the government, partly by using its extra-constitutional influence over the country's judicial institutions. It will also continue to exert sway over Khan's administration, especially when it comes to its foreign and security policies. As long as the PTI enjoys the support of the military, its junior partners are unlikely to abandon the ruling coalition to join the opposition," the report said.
While China would remain Pakistan's main strategic and economic partner in this period, ties with India would remain strained as cross-border terrorism and the dispute over occupied Kashmir "impede the normalisation of relations", the report added.