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Pakistan: Gilani ‘cops it sweet’ – for now June 20, 2012

Posted by sandygordon in : Afghanistan, Gordon, Sandy, Pakistan , comments closed

Sandy Gordon

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has apparently decided to accept the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and to try to avoid calling new elections. The job now is to choose a new Prime Minister and keep the minor coalition partners on side. As it is, elections are not scheduled till early next year. The Electoral Commission (EC), which has 90 days to make its own ruling under the Constitution, has come in early and endorsed the dismissal, which is backdated from the time of Mr Gilani’s conviction (26 April). Rule of law apparently pertains, at least for now.

It seems the PPP had little option but to comply once the EC came out in support of the Court. Unless backed by the powerful military (which it is not), the PPP would have had a difficult time in defying the Court. To take to the streets would have, effectively, meant taking to the streets against itself. (It could not have done so against the military, which is not nominally in control; nor against the Court, which would have meant defying the Constitution, further weakening the slender hold of civilian government). If it had called a fresh election it may well have lost, given Pakistan’s chronic power shortage, which is occurring during a time of recession and summer heat. So it will appoint a new Prime Minister and try to hang on till next year’s general elections. (more…)

Zardari-Singh dialogue: future implications April 14, 2012

Posted by auriolweigold in : DeSilva-Ranasinghe, Serge, India, Pakistan , comments closed

Sergei Desilva-Ranasinghe

This post first appeared on Future Directions International on 11 April 2012.

Background

In the first visit by a Pakistani President to India in seven years, President Asif Ali Zardari met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Sunday, 8 April to examine potential to reduce tensions and enhance frayed ties. In doing so, the twoleaders emphasised their respective desire to normalise bilateral ties, which has the prospect of heralding a new and perhaps radically different era in the years ahead.

Comment

Since 2004, India and Pakistan have held a series of high-level meetings with the aim of diminishing regional tensions. Despite the failings of the previous September 2008 meeting between President Zardari and PM Singh, where negotiations were suspended two months later after Pakistan-based Islamist militants were implicated in terrorist attacks against India.

Yet, in spite of these ongoing setbacks that have characterised inter-state relations, both countries have continued to pursue negotiations. Pakistan’s willingness to engage India by consolidating trading ties is seen by some commentators as a “paradigm shift” in the nation’s policy, which has also received the endorsement of the Pakistani military. Similarly, India has also chosen to continue negotiations in the face of continued extremist provocations and is equally open to enhancing economic co-operation and two-trade. (more…)