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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Political crisis is a challenge for the new Pakistani prime minister, experts say


Raja Pervaiz Ashraf replace ousted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. But the appointment will not solve political problems of the country, affecting relations with neighbors and with the U.S., analysts say. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, who was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan on Friday (22/06), takes office at a time of intense political turmoil. Ashraf got the most votes in the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly. The erstwhile Minister of Information Technology was named after the Supreme Court dismissed Tues Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday. In a controversial verdict, the Supreme Court dismissed Prime Minister Gilani. In April, the court declared guilty of contempt after he refused to write a letter to the Swiss government to reopen corruption cases involving Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the Swiss authorities had filed in 2008. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government asserts that the procedures were "politically motivated" and can not be reopened as Zardari remain head of state and enjoys presidential immunity. The PPP contested the decision Thursday, saying the prime minister could only be removed by the parliament. Despite the reservations against the verdict, the party decided to accept the determination of the court, seeking the good of the country.
Challenges for the new prime minister
Snehal Shingavi, an expert on Pakistan at the University of Texas, told that the appointment of Ashraf as the new prime minister of Pakistan would not solve the long political and institutional crisis in the country. To Shingavi, Ashraf probably have the same fate as its predecessor."The strategy is to keep the PPP candidates to be overturned by the judiciary so that the party can blame the courts for political deadlock," he says.
Prime Minister Gilani was dismissed by the Pakistani Supreme Court
Prime Minister Gilani was dismissed by the Pakistani Supreme Court
Shingavi believes Ashraf has a hard job ahead. "There are at least three problems to be faced. Firstly, the Judiciary will require him to make charges against Zardari and the PPP can not allow that to happen. Secondly, the opposition party, Tehreek-e-Insaaf and the League Pakistan Muslim [the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif] are calling for new elections. Finally, the population is getting increasingly agitated by the economic crisis facing the country, "the expert believes. To Shingavi, it is likely that the bitter dispute between the judiciary and the executive continue, despite the election of the new prime minister.
Clash of institutions
Many Pakistanis see the current situation as a clash of institutions. PPP supporters believe that the judiciary, supported by the ubiquitous army of Pakistan, tries to undermine the supremacy of parliament and civil democracy. On Thursday, the military-backed counternarcotics court issued arrest warrant against Makhdoom Shahabuddin, for involvement in drug regimen. He was the first choice of PPP for the post of prime minister. Some observers claim that the injunction against Shahabuddin is politically motivated and is part of the ongoing war between the judiciary and parliament. "I am sure that the warrant is politically motivated, otherwise he would have been issued earlier. But the PPP is also full of political figures who have done illegal things and used his power to cover such practices. Both the PPP and its enemies use their political resources in a very opportunistic, "said Shingavi. Experts also criticized by the Supreme Court to dismiss an elected prime minister and said the chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, attempted to undermine the nascent democratic setup in Pakistan. Emrys Schoemaker, communications analyst and researcher at the London School of Economics, told that the consequences of removing the court Gilani are "political." "The main question is whether the time of Gilani's dismissal was correct. The court should act for the good of the country and engage in politics or should remain neutral? It seems that the court is simply dealing with cases on its list of sentences, but the consequences of their actions are highly political, "he says.
Regional implications
Chief Justice Chaudhry tried to undermine democracy in Pakistan, experts say
Chief Justice Chaudhry tried to undermine democracy in Pakistan, experts say
Experts say the United States is closely watching the deepening political crisis in Pakistan, a country that has nuclear weapons. "The history of Pakistan is marked by this kind of political crisis. The international community does not trust us. The situation in the region is very complex. The recent political events in Pakistan can not be seen as something separate," the activist told Zaman Khan, based in Lahore. Observers believe that the current domestic political turmoil in Pakistan is likely to affect the country's relations with its neighbors and with the West, particularly with the United States. The ties between the U.S. and Pakistan have been weakened since the U.S. air attack at a checkpoint killed 24 Pakistanis in 2011. Since then, there have been signs that bilateral relations will improve soon.

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