Pakistan Politics

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  • A.Q. Khan’s Acquittal

    Though anticipated, the timing of the Islamabad High Court’s verdict to release disgraced nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan from house arrest has surprised many, since it came days before the first ever visit by Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Zardari government has tried to play safe by citing this as a decision taken by an ‘independent’ judiciary. Such arguments are, however, unlikely to find many takers.

    February 20, 2009

    Yousuf Raza Gilani: A Tall Man with a Task of Tall Order

    Yousuf Raza Gilani was nominated by Asif Ali Zardari as the PPP candidate for prime ministership on March 22, 2008. On that occasion, Zardari called upon Gilani “to accept the heavy responsibility and lead the coalition government and the nation to greater heights and a glorious future.” Pakistan’s National Assembly elected Gilani as Prime Minister (264 votes to 42 over Pervez Elahi of PML-Q) two days later.

    April 03, 2008

    Pakistan Headed for an Uncertain Future

    As the time for the election draws near, the tribal frontier is getting hotter with each passing day. Suddenly rumour mills are active that the new Army Chief is bypassing Musharraf in his interactions with the Americans and is going to allow them some foothold in Pakistan. Americans are now claiming that the Afghan resistance is on the wane and the “level of violent activity in the eastern provinces is down about 40 per cent.”

    January 31, 2008

    Benazir’s Death and Pakistan’s Democratic Future

    The assassination of Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007 at an election rally in Rawalpindi raises serious doubts about Pakistan’s peaceful political transition to an era of democratic politics. Eight years of Musharraf’s rule has seen growing fundamentalism, political instability and ethnic disaffection. It was thought that reverting to a troika system would bring about the right balance between a democratically elected leader and the Army, which would help arrest disenchantment and address instability.

    January 03, 2008

    America’s Pakistan Policy in Disarray

    While the assassination of Benazir Bhutto has worsened the political turmoil in Pakistan, it has also left in disarray the US policy of attempting to nudge this crucial ally towards a democratic and stable future. The United States underwrote the deal between Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto in the hope that her return to power would lend legitimacy to the former’s increasingly unpopular rule. In Bhutto and her party, the US found moderation and cosmopolitanism – a counterforce to the growing religious extremism in the country.

    January 02, 2008

    Gilgit-Baltistan: The Roots of Political Alienation

    Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir has witnessed a series of political disturbances and violence over the past years. Though many analysts have viewed the often-violent assertions by otherwise peaceful residents of this remote and mountainous region as occasional eruptions of the Shia-Sunni sectarian divide, a careful examination will indicate the deeper roots of alienation of the population in this long-neglected region.

    January 2008

    Political Crisis and the ‘Coming’ Election in Pakistan

    The imposition of emergency in Pakistan on November 3, 2007 highlights two significant points: the crisis of political legitimacy for Musharraf and the raging war in the tribal areas which has affected the morale of the Pakistan army. Musharraf highlighted the reason for emergency to save Pakistan from greater crises. He did not hesitate to name the judiciary as one of the problems that triggered the present action.

    November 27, 2007

    Pakistan’s Political Future: Plus ça Change…

    Pakistan is getting ready for the next elections amid many uncertainties. Musharraf is caught between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid-e-Azam) [PML-Q]. Benazir is back in Pakistan without any express assurance that she would have a third term as Prime Minister. Chaudhury Shujaat Hussain is undecided about Musharraf’s reconciliation proposals and is hobnobbing with Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) [PML-N]. Within the PPP, Benazir is soft on Musharraf while veteran party leader Aitzaz Ahsan is baying for the General’s blood.

    October 30, 2007

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