Pakistan’s new coalition, a brief triumph?

March 9, 2008

Benjamin Disraeli, one of Britain’s foremost prime ministers of the 19th century, once said that, “Coalitions, though sucessful, have always found this, that their triumph has been brief.”

News that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have agreed on a coalition government raised the same issue.Will theirs be a brief triumph, or the start of a sea change in Pakistani politics?

Zardari and Sharif/Faisal Mahmood

And with both now calling for the restoration of the judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf last November — in what appeared to be a quid pro quo from Zardari in return for Sharif agreeing to bring his party into the government — the pressure is mounting on the former army general.

In my last post on what is next for Musharraf, written immediately after the election, one commenter said even if Zardari’s PPP and Sharif’sPML (N) agreed on a coalition, that the government “after the honeymoon period is bound to have differences cropping up as they are ultimately two different parties having different ideologies thus paving the way for the return of the Musharraf allies.”

Has the mood changed since then? Is the pressure on Musharraf becoming irresistible?

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