Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

Pakistan’s Sharif seen isolated after ‘U-turn’


Nawaz SharifFormer Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is used to being Pakistan’s most popular politician, but lately he has become the country’s most criticised.

The government had planned to push through the parliament this month a reform package that would have stripped President Asif Ali Zardari of his sweeping powers,  but that seems unlikely now after Sharif abruptly raised new objections on Thursday. Sharif was the one who loudly and actively campaigned against his arch-rival Zardari.

It was a dramatic turnaround.  Just hours before a parliamentary committee comprised of all political parties, including Sharif’s, was due to sign the reforms package, Sharif threw a political bombshell by raising objections over the the appointment of judges and the renaming of the North West Frontier Province.

It is the first time in the history of Pakistan, which has been ruled by the military for half of its history, that a civilian government was pushing a comprehensive constitutional reform package through the parliament — with the consultation of the opposition — to undo provisions introduced by dictators to tighten their grip on power.