Leadership Crisis in Pakistan

Topics: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Islamabad, Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, Pervez Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif / Pages: 7 (1553 words) / Published: Feb 17th, 2013
The Roots of Pakistan’s Political Crisis. Sadia Abbas It seemed too good to be true. Pakistan had a judiciary asserting itself. The media was feeding a nascent democracy movement. The military was being challenged. Even the intelligence services were being asked to produce those it had been “disappearing” for years. If you were accustomed to CNN quiescence and had grown up in a Pakistan with one state channel on which hyper-formal anchor-people mechanically read the news in an Urdu inaccessible to most of the nation, this new noise was evidence of a genuine political vitality. This might seem a strange thing to say; there was much to be depressed about this year. Islamist radicals, the product of Zia-ul-Haq’s era, were holed up in Lal Masjid (the Red Mosque) in the heart of Islamabad, and were demanding the imposition of Sharia upon the land. They had accused Chinese nationals of running brothels posing as massage parlours, abducted the “madam” of another joint which might actually have been a brothel and made her apologize in a public shaming ritual, were now unleashing women in burqas armed with sticks upon the city. There were reports that male students of the madrassa attached to the mosque had been recording the license plate numbers of women drivers in Islamabad—presumably to cleanse the city of this obscenity. But if all this seemed like the long expected outcome of the plague unleashed upon Pakistan by the joint forces of the U.S. and Zia-ul-Haq, further fuelled by an ever growing rage at the U.S.’s war on terror and the Musharraf government’s forced alliance with George Bush, it was still hard not to feel some glimmer of hope at the fierceness of the media, which criticized the government and the U.S. and asked tough questions of various religious leaders. The media’s alliance with the judiciary even made one feel proud. Perhaps, just perhaps, there would be an end to military rule. And then came Saturday’s announcement of the Emergency—effectively an

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