Pakistan in the 2000’s

By | December 18, 2021

Country in the balance between authoritarianism and democracy, Pakistan started at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. a process of consolidation of democratic institutions, albeit in a still highly critical context. In fact, the main problems of the country remained unsolved: the weight of the military, the rampant corruption, the fragmentation of society, still involved in ethnic-religious clashes and not very homogeneous from an economic and social point of view, the proliferation of internal fundamentalist groups and turbulence of entire regions of the national territory, where the central government was unable to deploy a capillary and effective control. For Pakistan 2019, please check

The first step towards a change was represented by the political elections of 2008 and the subsequent departure of General Pervez Musharraf, who came to power in a coup d’état in 1999. The elections in fact sanctioned the defeat of the ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim league. -Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q, 53 seats) and the success of the opposition parties: the moderate-oriented Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz group (PML-N), which won 91 seats, and the Pakistan people’s party -Parliamentarians (PPP-P), center-left secular party, winner with 121 seats. Yusuf Raza Gillani of the PPP-P was appointed prime minister and a ruling coalition was formed consisting of PPP-P and PML-N. The agreement between the two parties, traditionally on opposite sides of the political spectrum, however, he could not resist and in May 2008 the PML-N withdrew from the coalition. In August Musharaff, subjected to impeachment proceedings for violation of the Constitution and manipulation of public funds, resigned and Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the PPP-P and husband of Benazir Bhutto, victim of an attack in 2007, was elected in his place.

Back in the hands of a civil administration, Fr. found himself facing the escalation of clashes with the Taliban in the border areas and the worsening of internal religious conflicts, which repeatedly bloodied cities and regions of the country. The persistence of a strong state of tension contributed to exacerbate the discontent of the population, struggling with an extremely critical economic situation and endemic problems of lack of infrastructure, unemployment and poverty. All this weakened the popularity of the president and the executive, which was also heavily criticized by the army and the judiciary. The latter in 2009 had decreed unconstitutional the amnesty for corruption offenses granted in 2007 by Musharaff to Zardari and in 2012, Faced with the resistance of the executive to investigate the alleged illegal financial operations of President Zardari in Switzerland, he condemned the head of the Gilani government for insulting the judges, effectively forcing him to resign. His successor, Raja Pervez Ashraf, also from the PPP-P, lasted only a few months: accused of corruption, he abandoned his post in 2013, when a transitional government was formed to manage the political elections.

The consultations (June 2013) sanctioned the victory of the PML-N (126 seats), the collapse of the PPP-P (31) and the affirmation of Pakistan tehreek-e-insaf (PTI, Movement for Justice of Pakistan, center , 28 seats), led by former cricket champion Imran Khan. A new executive was formed chaired by Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (former prime minister in 1990-93 and 1997-99) and for the first time in 66 years there was a bloodless transfer of power between two democratically elected civil governments.

Afghan refugees in a school

In an attempt to pacify the country and create the conditions to relaunch the economy, the new prime minister tried to start peace talks with the Taliban in 2014, but after the assault launched by the latter against the Karachi airport (June 2014), the talks were abruptly halted and there was a return to massive use of the army. A few months later (Dec. 2014), a new bloody attack on a school in Peshawar caused more than 140 victims, mostly children and adolescents. Following the massacre, Prime Minister Sharif decided to suspend the moratorium on executions of death sentences against terrorists and to establish court martial. However, the new measures did not put an end to the attacks, which in 2015 continued to claim numerous victims.

On the international level, Fr. in recent years continued the dialogue with India, although the controversial question of Kashmir remained open. Relations with the United States, on the other hand, became tense after the killing of Osama Bin Laden, which took place in the night between 1 and 2 May 2011 near Islāmabād following a blitz by a US military commando; doubts about the possible connivance between Pakistani secret services and terrorist groups led to a cooling in relations between the two countries. During 2012, a joint effort allowed the resumption of diplomatic negotiations. At the center of the new talks, which continued in the following years, was the end of the drone war, insistently requested by the Pakistani government as it was considered an open violation of its territorial space.

Osama Bin Laden