Pakistan in the 2000’s

By | December 18, 2021

Divided by religious contrasts, ethnic clashes and profound social inequalities, Fr., on the threshold of the year 2000, was still poised between backwardness and modernization and was struggling to find a political structure capable of guaranteeing the consolidation of the democratic institutions that had laboriously established themselves in mid-eighties. This internal instability was matched, on the international level, by a substantial ambivalence between formal adherence to the Western camp, which is essential for obtaining economic aid, and a constant reference to the values ​​of Islam, the main element of national cohesion, a source of continuous tensions. both with the Western powers themselves and with India.

Successive governments in the 1990s, which rotated alternately on the country’s main political parties, the Pakistan people’s party (PPP) and the conservative Pakistan Muslim legue-Nawaz group (PML-N), had not been able to modify the socio-economic structure, characterized by the maintenance of serious pockets of poverty in the face of the privileged situation of the agrarian and military elites, nor to effectively fight the fight against corruption of the state apparatus, and had progressively weakened due to the inability to put a brake on the growing ethnic violence and the spread of fundamentalist movements. For Pakistan 2013, please check

Political uncertainty created a stalemate and offered the military leaders the opportunity to re-impose their supremacy: in October 1999, the head of government M. Nawaz Sharif (in office since 1997) was dismissed by a coup that he saw General Pakistan Musharraf at his helm who, having suspended the Constitution, placed himself at the head of a new executive body made up of military and civilians, the National Security Council, and in June 2001 also assumed the office of President of the Republic.

Condemned by the international community, which feared the advent of a fundamentalist regime in a country already traditionally considered a refuge and training center for Islamic extremists, Musharraf hastened to present his government as an expression of the moderate wing and to provide assurances on the commitment of executive in the fight against terrorism. After the attacks of 11 September 2001 at the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon, attributed to the followers of U. ibn Lādin, the president deployed the Pakistan alongside the United States, breaking traditional ties with Afghānistān, and offered limited use of air bases to the coalition who was preparing to strike the former ally militarily. This decision allowed the Pakistan to break the diplomatic isolation and above all to obtain in exchange conspicuous financial aid from Washington and the lifting of the sanctions imposed in 1998 following the resumption of nuclear tests.

The new international credit thus acquired by the government and the new economic dynamism allowed by the flow of American dollars allowed Musharraf to consolidate his power despite the wave of anti-Americanism that had swept public opinion and despite the growing influence of the movements. fundamentalists and Islamic parties, which also counted numerous followers among the military. During 2001 and 2002There were violent street clashes between police and fundamentalists and there was a resurgence of terrorist attacks, to deal with which security measures were tightened, the most extremist formations banned and greater controls imposed on the Koranic schools, some of which were closed accused of promoting extremism and theocracy.

In parallel, Musharraf aimed to expand his role and the power of the army through a series of constitutional amendments imposed unilaterally in August 2002. In addition to guaranteeing full powers to the president at the expense of Parliament’s autonomy, the new rules sanctioned the definitive institutionalization of the armed forces in the political life of the country, through the role assigned to them in the National Security Council, which should have become a stable body. non-elective, chaired by the head of state, and intended to assist the government in defining its program.

In an attempt to normalize the internal situation, new political elections were held in October 2002. The Pakistan Muslim legue-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) – a faction of the PML favorable to Musharraf – won 77 seats, the Pakistan people’s party-Parlamentary (PPPP, new name assumed by the PPP in 2002) 63, while the PML-N dropped to 14 seats. The Muttahida Majlis-e Alam (MMA), an alliance of six Islamic parties that secured itself 45 seats, and which, according to some international observers, enjoyed the support of those sectors of the army opposed to the military alliance with the United States. In November, a new government led by ZK Jamali of the PML-Q was launched; however, it was impossible to start parliamentary work due to the obstruction of the opposition forces who refused to endorse the constitutional changes imposed by the president. After months of negotiations, in December 2003 an agreement was finally reached which did not substantially modify the proposed amendments but imposed a series of formal constraints on presidential decisions. Musharraf obtained in exchange (January 2004) the support of the Parliament to the proposal to extend his mandate until 2007 and to maintain the post of chief of the armed forces until that date (October). During 2003, the government was attacked from various quarters for not having decisively opposed the armed intervention against Irāq and had to face numerous anti-Western protests; the president himself was the object of personal attacks and escaped several attacks. Reason for criticism was also the new offensive launched by the government forces against the Ṭālibān who lived in the tribal areas on the border with Afghānistān (an agreement for the cessation of hostilities was signed in September 2006). The persistence of a state of uncertainty and widespread violence led to Jamali’s resignation (June 2004) who was replaced by F. Aziz (August); in the following years, however, the internal situation remained difficult.

In foreign policy, the close diplomatic relations with the United States imposed on the Pakistan a new line of conduct both towards Afghānistān and India. Despite the initial uncertainties and the resistance of internal public opinion, Musharraf expressed solidarity with the new Afghan government led by H. Karzai (reaffirmed on the occasion of the latter’s victory in the presidential elections of March 2005) and also tried to mitigate tensions with India, which intensified in 2002 due to the intensification of clashes in Kashimir and the implementation of Pakistani missile tests in the border area. The dialogue deepened during 2004-05, years during which direct diplomatic meetings between the two states resumed. The aid offered by India to Fr after the disastrous earthquake of October 2005, and the announcement by Musharraf, in the following December, to put an end to the ban on Indian flights over Pakistani territory, created a climate of cautious collaboration.

In January 2006, the US missile attack on a village located in the tribal district of Bajur, believed to be a base for the terrorists, ignited the anti-Western protest, further fueled, in March, by the visit to the country by US President GW Bush. In October 2006, new tension generated the Pakistani army’s air raid against a Koranic school located in the border area with Afghānistān.

Pakistan people's party-Parlamentary