The World from Berlin – ‘Pakistan Needs a New Political Culture’

Source: Spiegel International

Author: Renuka Rayasam

 

The political crisis in Pakistan threatens to trigger yet another period of instability in the country. The three-way power struggle between the military, the government and the courts once again exposes the weaknesses of the country’s democratic institutions, say German commentators.

 

 

The political drama playing out in Pakistan this week took another twist Tuesday when the country’s high court ordered the arrest of Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on suspicions of corruption and nepotism. The suspicions have followed Ashraf for years, but the timing of the announcement now threatens to light a match on the country’s smoldering political crisis.

Since Sunday self proclaimed revolutionary leader Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri has been leading a protest march calling for the ouster of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zadari. Qadri, a moderate clergyman who has denounced corruption among the political class, has seen a meteoric rise to popularity over the last months.On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators joined his protest and packed Islamabad’s streets. The court’s announcement came in the middle of Qadri’s speech on Tuesday and the crowd broke out in cheers at the news. On Wednesday, Qadri once again called for the end of the government. “If these thieves hadn’t ruled Pakistan, today every child in the country would have a smile on their face,” he shouted to his followers.

Meanwhile the country’s normally meddlesome military has been strangely silent in the midst of chaos. That silence has led some observers to believe that the country’s generals are behind Qadri’s campaign.

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