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Pakistan

The impending 70th anniversary of the creation of Pakistan has been upstaged by the disqualification of an incumbent prime minister on July 28.

 

The country’s newly elected leader, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, finds himself in an interesting, and novel, position.

 

The amber lights were already flashing and now, with a change of prime ministers, the political uncertainty hanging over the economy has been exacerbated.

 

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi may only be in power for 45 days – one of the shortest serving prime ministers in our history – but that doesn’t mean he will not have an opportunity to make his mark.

 

Pakistan is in the middle of a raging misogynist battle, with a former member of Imran Khan’s Tehreek-i- Inssaaf (PTI) party, Ayesha Gulalai, accusing Khan of sending her obscene text messages from his Blackberrysince 2013, in the full knowledge that the messages could not be hacked and daring him to make them public.

 

Major judicial verdicts in Pakistan have not upheld democratic values. Ayub Khan’s coup, which was the first military takeover, had been described as a “revolution” by the judiciary.

 

AS the militant Islamic State group faces setbacks in its ‘heartland’ of Iraq and Syria, the terrorist outfit will seek to establish itself in ungoverned spaces elsewhere.

 

Tuesday’s session of the National Assembly went according to the script laid out by the PML-N. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elected as the new ‘interim’ Prime Minister — at least until Shehbaz Sharif wins a National Assembly seat.

 

From my perch a few blocks from the State Department and the White House, and just across the river from the Pentagon, I am starting to see the signs that a policy shift is afoot in the U.S. position vis-à-vis its unreliable ally, Pakistan.

 

To be able to learn from major setbacks is perhaps the most important virtue in politics. The PML-N would do well to pay heed to its own recent debacle, as it goes about the business of choosing a successor to Nawaz Sharif — and at the moment the chosen successoris his younger brother, currently Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif.

 


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