Morning Brief: New trouble for Pakistan
Top Story Pakistan finds itself in a fresh political crisis after the country’s supreme court barred opposition leader Nawaz Sharif from holding elected office. Sharif was disqualified because of a criminal charge connected to his efforts to prevent a coup by former leader Pervez Musharraf in 1999. The court also barred Sharif’s brother Shahbaz, the ...
Pakistan finds itself in a fresh political crisis after the country’s supreme court barred opposition leader Nawaz Sharif from holding elected office. Sharif was disqualified because of a criminal charge connected to his efforts to prevent a coup by former leader Pervez Musharraf in 1999.
The court also barred Sharif’s brother Shahbaz, the chief minister for Punjab. After the decision, Prime Minister Asif Ali Zardari dismissed Punjab’s state government and put it under executive rule. The court’s decision is widely seen as being carried out at the behest of Zardari.
Thousands of supporters of Sharif’s Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz marched throughout the country today, chanting anti-government slogans and tearing down pictures of Zardari. The government has put paramilitaries and high alert and arrested 30 PML-N politicians.
The ongoing turmoil is likely to distract from efforts to control the Islamist insurgency in Pakistan’s frontier regions. Pakistan’s foreign minister vowed yesterday that al Qaeda activity in the country’s Swat Valley would not be tolerated despite a recent peace agreement with local Taliban militants.
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RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images
Joshua Keating is a former associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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