Pakistan in ferment, poll countdown on | Deccan Chronicle
Pakistan once again looks to be thrown into the vortex of uncertainty on account of domestic as well as external factors. Events that have attended the Supreme Court convicting Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for contempt of court recently hint at the inauguration of a torrid political season and an unsettled atmosphere all round.
The country is scheduled to have national elections in the next 12 months. With the court verdict and sentencing pointing to high-tension political battles, the countdown to the polls can be said to have begun. No one should be surprised if there is going to be a bare-knuckled fight involving the ruling Pakistan People’s Party and its principal opponents, Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
It is difficult to say in these circumstances if the current atmospherics of resuming normal relations with India — which was set in motion by positive trade-enhancing steps by both sides recently — can be sustained. The Pakistan Army will naturally be a key factor in helping shape future events. This institution has not been favourably inclined towards the PPP-led government. Many believed that the Army and the Pakistan Supreme Court were in cahoots to discomfit the PPP government (and President Asif Ali Zardari personally). Barely a week ago, Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani made peace-like noises from Skardu. But will he pitch in on the side of maintaining an atmosphere in the country that promotes reduction of ill-feeling towards India?
It hardly matters that the punishment handed down to the Prime Minister was no more than half-a-minute detention in court. A political storm has already been unleashed. Mr Sharif threatens a “long march”. He has declared the Prime Minister illegitimate in the light of the court ruling. Mr Khan has called on the PM to resign. Sindh province has erupted in protest in support of the present setup. Troubles began last year when the country’s highest court asked the PM to reopen money-laundering cases against the President with the Swiss authorities. Mr Gilani steadfastly refused to do so on the ground that the President enjoys immunity from prosecution under the country’s Constitution.
The upheavals in domestic politics have coincided with the rupturing of Pakistan’s relations with the US. These were chiefly on account of the killing of Osama bin Laden by US special forces inside Pakistan exactly a year ago, and were made worse when a Nato airstrike killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers in November. The Pakistan Parliament has conducted a review of relations with Washington. High-level negotiations to restore strained ties failed last week. Did the Pakistan Supreme Court choose just such a moment to convict Mr Gilani? Many disquieting questions remain.
*Note - You can see the American anger that we have upcoming elections, they don't want the current government who sucks up to them so much to go.
Inshallah Imran Khan will be our next president.
Highest possible date for our next election: 365 days or 12 months