Monday, August 25, 2008

Orange Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif and his PML-N party have left the coalition with the PPP--one week after Pervez Musharraf resigned the presidency. Once this goal was achieved, the glue holding the coalition together dissolved. Sharif had repeatedly put forward a demand that judges sacked by the former president be reinstated.

Again, I find the parallels with Ukraine interesting. A point of contention that opened up between President Yushchenko and Yuliya Tymoshenko when she was first prime minister was over dealing with "the past"--Yushchenko trying a more "don't rock the boat" approach and Tymoshenko wanting to take much more vigorous steps against those connected with the previous administration and to neutralize their position in politics. Another point, this time reversing the analogy, is that the PPP put the husband of the murdered Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari, up as their candidate for president rather than what Sharif said was promised, a "neutral" candidate, fueling the charges that the PPP wants to advance its own personal and partisan agenda rather than consolidate the political changes--shades of the charges about Tymoshenko's first administration going after business and political rivals.

Sharif has also announced that retired Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui will run as a rival presidential candidate against Zardari.

I don't think that Musharraf is waiting in the wings to be restored, but it does mean that Pakistani politics is not going to be focused on America's preferred agenda and instead is going to be dominated by the struggle between the former coalition partners.

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