Pakistan’s coalition of the unwilling

February 20, 2008

Asif Ali Zardari/Goran TomasevicThanks to readers for pointing out some great online debates on who is going to form the next government in Pakistan. 

Five Rupees predicts confidently that the two frontrunners in Monday’s election — the PPP of the late Benazir Bhutto and the PML-N of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — will be unable to bury their traditional rivalry to form an alliance. It then goes on to forecast that the PPP led by Bhutto’s widower Asif Ali Zardari will join forces with the PML-Q, the defeated party allied to President Pervez Musharraf.

Teeth Maestro asks anxiously whether  the Americans are encouraging a deal between the PPP and the PML-Q to keep Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N in opposition.  On the same theme, the Asia Times Online says the Americans would like the PPP to form a coalition with other smaller parties, again without the PML-N.

At the heart of the matter is Sharif’s insistence that judges sacked by Musharraf when he imposed a state of emergency in November be restored to office. That would add to pressure on Musharraf to quit, depriving the Americans of their main ally in the battle against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Reuters has done a factbox on the possible post-election scenarios in Pakistan. But what do you think? Is Five Rupees right with its long-shot prediction of an alliance between the PPP and the PML-Q? Have people reason to worry about American interference to protect Musharraf from Sharif? All I can say with certainty is that Pakistan is headed for a coalition of the unwilling.


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Is the forming of a government likely to take long and is there any danger in that?

Posted by Mary Walder | Report as abusive

The PPP (Zardari) and the PML (Sharif) have agreed to an alliance. The Pakistan papers carry photographs of them grinning together, the best of buddies.

Which just goes to show that some people will do anything when mesmerised by the lure of power.

Sharif put Zardari in prison and kept him there for years. Yet Zardari embraces him. Sharif threatened BB with prosecution, which is why she fled overseas in 1999 during Sharif’s premiership. Yet Zardari embraces him. Sharif’s thugs stormed the Supreme Court when a judgement was given against him; yet Zardari embraces him.

Poor Pakistan.

Posted by beecee | Report as abusive

beecee you seem to forget that adversity makes for some strange bed fellows.Benazir,Zardari and Nawaz Sharif were all charge sheeted,imprisoned and exiled by the present incumbent.
Now that the secularists have found their voice-and the support of the people-is it a wonder that they have choosen to co-operate in an effort to ward of the danger.
And the danger as the late Shaheed Benazir Bhutto so aptly conveyed is a revival of Islamists ,should the people continue to be frustrated in their achievement of their demands.

Posted by Hassan Abbas | Report as abusive