Pakistan Lexicon of the 21st Century

By | December 18, 2021

Pakistan. – Divided by religious contrasts, ethnic clashes and profound social inequalities, Fr., on the threshold of the new century, was still poised between backwardness and modernization, struggling to find a political structure capable of guaranteeing the consolidation of democratic institutions with difficulty established in the mid-eighties of the 20th century. The government headed by General Pakistan Musharraf, protagonist of the coup d’etat of October 1999, sided with the United States after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and offered limited use of air bases to the coalition that was preparing to hit Afghanistan. The new international credit thus acquired allowed Musharraf to consolidate his power, despite the wave of anti-Americanism that has swept public opinion and the growing influence of fundamentalist movements and Islamic parties. Thanks to a series of unilaterally imposed constitutional amendments, in August 2002 the president expanded his prerogatives and granted more power to the army. After the 2002 elections, won by the Pakistan Muslim league-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q), in favor of Musharraf, a new executive led by ZK Jamali 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 introduced by the president. After months of negotiations, an agreement was finally reached in December 2003 which 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 position of head of the armed forces until that date. During 2003, the government was attacked by many for not strongly opposing the armed intervention against Iraq and had to face numerous anti-Western protests; the president himself was subjected to personal attacks and survived several attacks. For Pakistan military, please check

The inability to get the country out of the emergency situation and the growing reservations expressed by US allies about the government’s cautious policy towards Taliban groups have weakened Musharaff and revived opposition forces. Although re-electedpresidentin October 2007, Musharaff found himself increasingly isolated and had to agree both to leave the role of chief of the armed forces and to return home to the two main opposition party leaders: Benazir Bhutto, leader of Pakistan people’s party-Parliamentarians (PPP-P, new name assumed by the Pakistan people’s party in August 2002), and Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz group (PML-N). In a climate of growing tension in view of the legislative elections scheduled for January 2008, Bhutto was killed, the victim of an attack (December 2007). His death caused a wave of indignation across the country and the anger of the population generated spontaneous riots in many cities. The legislative elections, held in February 2008, they sanctioned the defeat of the ruling party (53 seats), the victory of the PPP-P (121 seats) led by Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and the affirmation of the PML-N (91 seats). In March, Yusuf Raza Gillani of the PPP-P was appointed prime minister and a ruling coalition made up of PPP-P and PML-N was formed. However, the agreement between the two parties, traditionally on opposite sides of the political spectrum, did not resist and in May the PML-N withdrew from the coalition.

A further step forward in the internal renewal process was represented by the resignation of President Musharaff (August 2008), against whom a proceeding of empeachment for violation of the constitution and manipulation of public funds. In his place, Asif Ali Zardari was elected in September. Called to face the emergency of Islamic terrorism, in 2009 the government alternated a policy of dialogue with pro-Taliban militias, granting the application of Islamic law in exchange for the definitive abandonment of weapons, to a harsh armed confrontation, to which the The Taliban responded with an intensification of terrorist activity. The persistence of a strong state of tension has 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 has weakened the popularity of the president and the executive, which has also been heavily criticized by the army and the judiciary. The latter in 2009 decreed unconstitutional the amnesty for corruption offenses granted in 2007 to Zardari and in 2012, faced with the resistance of the executive to investigate the presumed illicit financial operations of the president in Switzerland, condemned the head of government Yousuf Raza Gilani for insulting the judges forcing him to resign. In his place was appointed Raja Pervez Ashraf, also of the PPP-P.

The Supreme Court has also renewed the order for the new premier to reopen the investigation into the president. On the international level, the government has continued in recent years the dialogue with India, already initiated by the previous executive after the overcoming of the 2002 crisis – generated by the intensification of the clashes in Kashmir and the implementation of Pakistani missile tests in the border area. -,and the strengthening of relations between the two powers was confirmed by the meeting between Zardari and the Indian Prime Minister in New Delhi in April 2012. Relations with the Americans instead cooled after the killing of Osama Bin Laden, which took place in night between 1 and 2 May 2011 near Islāmābad following a blitz by the US military forces; doubts about the possible connivance between Pakistani secret services and terrorist groups have in fact led to a significant increase in tensions between the country and the USA. However, in 2012 a joint effort allowed the resumption of diplomatic negotiations between the two countries. At the center of the new talks is the end of the drone war that the Pakistani government is asking with insistence, considering it an open violation of its territorial space.

Pakistan Raja Pervez Ashraf