Little has been heard as of late about the protest that have continue for weeks in Pakistan. Reuters reported today that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has threatened to
clear a protest camp established more than a month ago outside
government offices in Islamabad. Pakistan's
opposition leaders ordered thousands of their supporters this weekend
to resist government attempts to quash their protests, prolonging the
political crisis in the coup-prone country.
party that leads the protest said it had not backed down from its demand that Sharif quit and
was ending dialogue with the government after 100 activists were jailed
over the weekend. Some ruling party officials have accused the
military of instigating the unrest in order to destabilize Sharif so that
it can exert more influence over him, the army has denied such
meddling in civilian affairs. Below you will find a recent article concerning the situation that is far from over and hangs in limbo.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Pakistan Is Approaching A Crisis
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/08/22/6646935/ap-photos-pakistani-protesters.html#storylink=cpy
Pakistan is approaching a crisis and America is more or less powerless
to influence the outcome. It also appears that few Americans care. The
Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign country with a population
of over 180 million people. What makes
Pakistan so important is the fact that it has nuclear
weapons and is politically unstable. Trouble has been brewing in our
relationship with Pakistan for years even though America has poured
billions of dollars in aid into the
country, it could be argued that we were buying their cooperation rather
than we had a strong interest in being their friend. When the
Pakistan government failed to control extremist elements in the
America began to use drones to attack within the country's border, this
has stirred outrage and protest against America.
|Protest Are Growing In The Unstable Nuclear Power|
What should alarm Americans after all the other recent problems in the
region is that tens of thousands of protesters armed with sticks and
cutters have swarmed into the fortified red zone in the center of
Islamabad calling for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation and the
dissolution of parliament. The week-long protests in the capital are
around the parliament building,
the prime minister’s official residence and many Western embassies. The
government said that security forces had been deployed to
protect the area which includes the United States Embassy. The
protesters, who have camped in the capital since Friday, are led by
Imran Khan, the former cricketer, and a charismatic cleric named
Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri, who run separate campaigns but are united in
their opposition to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Mr. Khan’s crusade received a major lift on Tuesday when his supporters merged with Mr.
Qadri’s, forming a crowd that the police estimated at more than 40,000. In
a speech Mr. Khan repeatedly attacked Mr.
Sharif, whom he accuses of stealing the 2013 election through vote
rigging. He has even challenged him to a duel. He described the prime minister as a thief and a corrupt politician
and vowed to turn the space outside the Parliament building into “a
Tahrir Square,” a reference to the site of the 2011 uprising in Egypt.
While instructing his supporters to remain peaceful, he warned of the possibility of violence. This is
widely seen as a final effort by Mr. Khan to rally his supporters after
days of threats and political speech. Despite the festive atmosphere, problems exists to
the demonstrations, an increased demand for food, water and toilets to
accommodate the thousands of people many who are sleeping in the streets.
Sharif’s government, which came to power in June 2013, has struggled to
quell the escalating political crisis, partly as a result of Mr.
Sharif’s tense relationship with the Pakistani Army leadership. In
recent days. Mr. Sharif’s administration failed to engage Mr. Khan and
Mr. Qadri in negotiations to end the standoff and appeared to be hoping
that the protests would simply fade. Yet,
there was little sign of that Tuesday evening, as Mr. Khan and Mr.
Qadri both gave impassioned speeches before sending their followers
toward the city’s protected area, which was ringed by shipping
containers and thousands of police and paramilitary officers.
Many reasons exist to be concerned about Pakistan going forward, for
years the country has experienced internal violence and attacks from
extremist groups within the country. With the government sometimes
struggling to maintain order, and a military that sometimes threatens to
take control over the country the political stability of Pakistan is
questioned. The fact that Pakistan, and India it's neighbor to the south
both possess nuclear weapons and have a history of problems and
tensions is a huge worry and concern for the region. It would not be
good to see more instability in this region that is already being rocked
for pursuing a nuclear weapons program was to counter
the threat posed by its principal rival, India, which has superior
conventional forces. This is what makes Pakistan so important, at any
time an unstable Pakistan could be sucked into, or be the one to start a
nuclear war. Adding to
this concern is that Pakistan is an obvious place for a jihadi
organization to seek a nuclear weapon or fissile material, both the military and security services have been infiltrated
by a number of jihadi sympathisers. Three key threats exist, a
terrorist theft of a nuclear weapon, transfer of a nuclear weapon to
another state like Iran and a takeover of nuclear weapons by a militant
group during a period of instability.
Pakistan is home to some of the the harshest
variants of Muslim fundamentalism, and headquarters of organizations that espouse extremist ideologies, these include Al
Qaeda, the Haqqani network, and Lashkar-e-Tayiba. Nuclear bombs capable
of destroying entire cities are transported in delivery vans on
congested and dangerous roads. And sources say
that since the American raid to kill Osama bin
Laden, the Pakistanis have provoked anxiety inside the Pentagon by
increasing the pace of these movements. Ironically the Pakistani
government makes its nuclear weapons more vulnerable to
theft by jihadis in an attempt to hide them from the United States,
the country that funds much of its military budget.
Adding to the current woes within Pakistan on Saturday they traded
gunfire with India in the disputed Kashmir region. Officials said the
exchange killed two villagers on each side and wounding several
others. A top official with India's paramilitary force, said
Indian forces retaliated after Pakistani troops fired guns and mortar
rounds on more than a dozen Indian border posts and several
villages. Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and the rival
claim the disputed Himalayan region in its entirety. Pakistan and India
three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, two of them
Pakistan and India have largely followed a 2003 cease-fire accord, but
sporadic violations have occurred. Tensions escalated in Kashmir since
earlier in the week India called off diplomatic talks with Pakistan
because the Pakistani
ambassador in New Delhi met with separatist leaders from the disputed
region. India said the meeting undermined efforts to thaw relations
nuclear-armed neighbors. India has tolerated such meetings in the
past, this suggests the new government may be taking a harder line.
While this all seems distant and unrelevant to most Americans it is
important we remember Pakistan is in a position to start World War III.
As of now Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been assured by the
country's military there will be no coup, but in return he must "share
space with the army", according to a government source.
This post dovetails with many of my recent writings. Other related
articles may be
found in my blog archive, thanks for reading, your comments are
encouraged. Below is an article written a while back giving more
background on Pakistan and detailing why the country is so important.