Posted by: Tony Carson | 20 September, 2007

Pakistan: what’s happening?

Trying to makes sense out of the Pakistan election with the help of the Globe and Mail article Pakistan’s presidential election set for Oct. 6.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf is the country’s president and chief of the military … and democrat-cum-dictator after over-throwing the democratically elected government in 1999. His five-year term as dictator is to end on November 15. An election has just been set for October 16.

The Opposition coalition, a six-member alliance of Islamist parties, are threatening to boycott the vote to deny it legitimacy. They say their legislators would quit if the Election Commission accepts Gen. Musharraf’s nomination papers. They are against his continued hold on the military. There is no sign they will field a candidate of their own.

Former Premier Nawaz Sharif, whose government fell to Gen. Musharraf’s coup, tried to get back into the country recently (to lead the opposition) but he was quickly banished.

The party of another ex-prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, whose talks with Gen. Musharraf over a possible power-sharing deal have stalled, has threatened to join the opposition boycott unless the president relinquishes his army post first.

Musharraf says he will give up the post only if he is elected President.

In the meantime, Musharraf is wrestling with an upsurge in violence by Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in Wiziristan, much to the discomfort of President Bush who has always supported the dictator, even as he calls for the fruits of democracy throughout the Middle East.

Pakistan is a nuclear power at odds with India over Kashmir, which appears to be well on the back burner at the moment.

The degree of unrest in Pakistan seems to be mounting.

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