Pakistan Politics

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  • Musharraf in a Mess of His Own Making: Autumn of the Patriarch?

    A commentator of Pakistani origin in the US, writing in The Wall Street Journal in September 2006, coined a new name for Pakistan, i.e., Musharrafistan. He fell short of saying ‘Musharraf is Pakistan and Pakistan is Musharraf’. At one level, Musharraf had until now established his reputation as the best bet for the US and the West, as a liberal dictator and better-than-the-rest leader within Pakistan, who pulled Pakistan successfully away from the brink.

    June 19, 2007

    Prospects for Democracy in Pakistan Appear Dim

    The pro-democracy, anti-Musharraf movement launched by the combined opposition in May 2006 will once again put on trial the strength and determination of the people of Pakistan to snatch power from the clutches of the military. The Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD), a conglomerate of 15 parties, has demanded the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz by July 31, 2006, failing which a vote of no-confidence would be moved against the Musharraf regime. The demand was made in a resolution adopted by the Alliance on July 2.

    July 19, 2006

    The Bhutto-Sharif Charter of Democracy

    Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif signed the Charter of Democracy in London on May 15. This is a politically significant step as it signals the coming together of two important parties that together gained 36.5 per cent of the popular vote and hold 72 seats in the current 342 member National Assembly of Pakistan. All political parties including the MMA have welcomed the Charter. The military government, however, has been critical of the alliance and said in a statement that this is a political gimmick of parties that have failed the people and democracy in Pakistan.

    May 29, 2006

    MMA-Democracy Interface in Pakistan: From Natural Confrontation to Cohabitation?

    The myth regarding religious parties in Pakistan possessing street power sans political power was broken with the success of the Muttahida Majlise Amal’s (MMA)—a coalition of Muslim parties and groups— in the 2002 general elections. The party sprung to power for a variety of reasons including the support it received from General Musharraf’s military establishment. The MMA on several occasions facilitated Musharraf’s political schema in the hope for larger political favours, drawing severe criticism from both within and outside the party.

    April 2006

    Pakistan’s ‘Sustainable Democracy’: Army as the Political Architect

    Any study of political developments in Pakistan cannot be complete without examining the role of the Army. Though it might seem incompatible to talk of military and democracy in the same breadth, Pakistan provides an example of how the military has been able to govern the country as successfully as a civilian government. It has its own view of democracy, political stability and governance. It feels it has a political role which stems from the national security paradigm of the state.

    April 2004

    Rise of Religious Parties in Pakistan: Causes and Prospects

    Pakistan’s political climate has always been polarized between the civil and the military leaders, with balance of political fortunes tilting in favour of one or the other, from time to time. With the overthrow of Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup in October 1999, the military marched out of the barracks after more than a decade.

    April 2003

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