Internal Forces Besiege Pakistan Ahead of Voting

Islamabad - PakistanBarely a year after fears of a possible military coup plunged Pakistani politics into chaos, the country is in crisis again, this time besieged on multiple fronts by forces that threaten civilian government just a few months ahead of elections. Enigmatic preacher is camped before gates of Parliament with thousands of followers, demanding the government’s immediate ouster. Top court on Tuesday suddenly ordered the arrest of prime minister. Violence is surging, militants stepping up deadly attacks against both government forces and religious minorities. Relations with India have dipped, after ill-tempered border skirmishes in soldiers on both sides were killed. As it is all unfolding, the country’s powerful military command, long at odds with the government of President Asif Ali Zardari, is in sphinx mode. Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and his commanders have maintained a cool distance from unfolding political chaos, their silence stoking speculation about whether the military’s days of political intervention are really, as it claims, over. “It’s the silence of the legions is unnerving,” said Ayaz Amir, an opposition member of Parliament. More than anything else, there is a sense that gears are again shifting in Pakistan, in a direction few dare to predict, bad news for Zardari’s government, of course, but also potentially for American interests, which see stability in Pakistan as crucial to smooth withdrawal in Afghanistan next year, as well as guarantor of the security of the country’s nuclear arsenal. “There’s a sense that things are snowballing, hard to predict in any way,” said Cyril Almeida, senior writer at Dawn newspaper. Chief catalyst of this jolting change comes in the form of 61-year-old preacher, Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri, who catapulted himself into political limelight less than a month ago, now finds himself issuing ultimatums to Mr. Zardari from inside a bulletproof container within view of soaring presidential residence. A giant rally in Lahore last month signaled the start of Qadri’s assault on Pakistan’s political classes, which he derides as incompetent and irredeemably corrupt, a resonant message in a country of high unemployment and crippling electricity shortages. He drove home his message with an intensive television advertising campaign, paid for with generous amounts of money, origins of which he has not fully explained (…..)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/world/asia/pakistan-high-court-orders-arrest-of-prime-minister.html

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Consultor Internacional

One Response to Internal Forces Besiege Pakistan Ahead of Voting

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: The future of Pakistan is being shaped by three factors derived from the US led war in Afghanistan. First, the country has been politically and socially destabilized by the US led war against Bin Laden. On an eerie replay of the Vietnam war, Pakistan is the Laos of the war being waged in Afghanistan, suffering collateral damage by drone attacks on the tribal areas. Second, Pakistan has one of the most corrupt and incompetent elites in Asia. Income and wealth are highly concentrated in the hands of a few while millions of illiterate Pakistanis live in abysmal poverty. The same political and social situation existent in its nemesis and neighbor India. Third, Pakistan is a nuclear armed country in a state of war with India since independence. An accidental nuclear war cannot be ruled out in the Subcontinent. Besides, the military -the only cohesive organization in the country- has been greatly weakened by high ranking infighting between those in favor of the US and those against it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/world/asia/pakistan-high-court-orders-arrest-of-prime-minister.html

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