Morning Brief: Protests in Pakistan

Top Story For a second day, anti-government protesters marched throughout Pakistan in a nationwide demonstration aimed at toppling the government of Asif Ali Zardari. Angered by last months barring of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif from government, Zardari’s opponents are holding demonstrations in cities throughout the country before converging on Islamabad next Monday. The government has ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
587841_090312_pakistan2.jpg
587841_090312_pakistan2.jpg
Pakistani lawyers and political parties activists shout slogans as they march during a protest rally in Lahore on March 12, 2009. Pakistan police baton-charged activists and manhandled dozens into vans in Karachi as thousands defied the government in a mass protest that has thrown the country into crisis. Lawyers in black suits and opposition party activists carrying flags and punching their fists in the air marched in Pakistan's biggest cities of Karachi and Lahore, demanding that President Asif Ali Zardari reinstate sacked judges. Organisers hope that hundreds of thousands of lawyers, opposition supporters and civil activists will join a four-day convoy on the 1,500 kilometres (940 miles) route from Karachi to Islamabad, where it is intended to arrive on March 16. AFP PHOTO/ Arif ALI (Photo credit should read Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

Top Story

For a second day, anti-government protesters marched throughout Pakistan in a nationwide demonstration aimed at toppling the government of Asif Ali Zardari. Angered by last months barring of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif from government, Zardari's opponents are holding demonstrations in cities throughout the country before converging on Islamabad next Monday.

The government has responded by arresting hundreds of protesters and banning gatherings of more than four people. Cracks are starting to show in Zardari's normally cohesive Pakistan People's Party as well. “I say it with a very heavy heart that the government is following the same policies that were carried out by General Musharraf,” one party loyalist told the New York Times.

Top Story

For a second day, anti-government protesters marched throughout Pakistan in a nationwide demonstration aimed at toppling the government of Asif Ali Zardari. Angered by last months barring of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif from government, Zardari’s opponents are holding demonstrations in cities throughout the country before converging on Islamabad next Monday.

The government has responded by arresting hundreds of protesters and banning gatherings of more than four people. Cracks are starting to show in Zardari’s normally cohesive Pakistan People’s Party as well. “I say it with a very heavy heart that the government is following the same policies that were carried out by General Musharraf,” one party loyalist told the New York Times.

Middle East

Journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years in jail for throwing a shoe at George W. Bush back in December.

The U.S. is looking into transporting supplies into Afghanistan through Iran.

The Saudi government hosted a mini-summit of Arab leaders near Riyadh, perhaps hoping to counter Iranian influence in the region.

Asia

North Korea plans to launch its controversial missile in early April, an official announced.

As China’s foreign minister visits Washington, Secretary of State Clinton downplayed the tension over last weekend’s naval confrontation.

Japan’s economy contracted sharply during the last months of 2008.

Africa

Three aid workers from Medecins Sans Frontieres were kidnapped in Darfur.

Imprisoned Zimbabwean opposition official Roy Bennett was freed from prison.

The U.S. is investigating several cases of Somali-Americans returning to their homeland to join Somalia’s Islamist insurgency. 

Europe

In an unusual gesture, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged Vatican “mistakes” in the reappointment of Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson.

Northern Irish authorities are worried that the next move of dissident IRA factions could be a car bomb.

Liechtenstein has eased its strict bank secrecy laws to avoid inclusion on an OECD tax haven “black list.”

Americas

President Obama signed a $410 billion spending bill but criticized congress for excessive earmarks.

Brazil is preparing to oust foreign NGOs from the Amazon region.

Voters in Antigua and Barbuda head to the polls for a close election today.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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