News / Asia

New Pakistan Government Will Face Serious Challenges

Former prime minister and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-N party, Nawaz Sharif, gestures while speaking to members of the media at his residence in Lahore, Pakistan, May 13, 2013.
Former prime minister and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-N party, Nawaz Sharif, gestures while speaking to members of the media at his residence in Lahore, Pakistan, May 13, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Two-time former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, is poised to become Pakistan’s head of government for a record third time after his party’s victory in Saturday’s parliamentary elections. But serious economic and security challenges await the new government.
 
The historic May 11 polls were held to elect the 272-seat National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, and four provincial legislatures. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League, or PML-N, claims it won a clear majority at the national level and captured two-thirds of the seats in the country’s most populous province and political power base, Punjab.
 
There have been allegations of vote rigging and other irregularities in some areas and it will be a few days before election authorities receive results from all constituencies across the country to officially confirm if Sharif’s party is the winner.
 
But the former prime minister has already received messages of congratulations from countries such as the United States, India and Afghanistan. Sharif has also begun consultations with his party leaders and independent candidates in the parliament on forming a new central government.
 
Analysts, such as the former chairman of the Pakistani Senate, Waseem Sajjad, say that in addition to dealing with a serious financial crunch, a deepening energy crisis will be a major worry for the new government because it will worsen with the rise in temperature in coming weeks.   
 
“And the people would expect the government to deliver," he said. "They will give them some time but I don’t think the people will give too much time to the new government to resolve these issues.”
 
Nawaz Sharif comes from a business family, and policies he introduced during his previous terms to boost the national economy won him praise among the business community. His party officials say they are in a hurry to take charge so they can focus on economic challenges. They are also citing this week’s unprecedented surge in the Karachi stock market as evidence of their leadership’s credibility on the economic front.
 
Sharif's party has been in favor of holding talks with the Pakistani Taliban to bring an end to the problem of militancy in the country that has killed thousands of people. Some are hopeful his policies may bring peace, but others are worried about a possible rise in Islamic radicalism.
 
Human rights activist Tahira Abdullah recalls the so-called 15th constitutional amendment that Sharif tried to push through the parliament, just before a military coup deposed him in 1999, to introduce Sharia or Islamic law in the country.
 
“I think he did not last long enough to enact the 15th constitutional amendment, which would have taken us further right towards an Islamist constitution and an Islamist government. So we are going to keep a watchful vigilant watchdog eye on the incoming PML-N-led coalition government,” Abdullah said.
 
But Mushahid Hussain, who chairs the Senate Committe on Defense, says that despite fears of Taliban attacks nearly 60 percent of the eligible 86 million voters showed up at polling stations to cast their vote. This, he says, sends a strong message to critics at home and abroad that Pakistanis are not in favor of religious extremism.
 
“I think the biggest messages [from the high turnout] is not terrorism, no to militancy, no to extremism and a resounding yes to the power of the ballot over the bullet," he said. "And I think it shows that the Pakistan society at its core has a deeply democratic ethos, and given half a chance that ethos is practically demonstrated at the polling stations as it was with the resounding turnout, which means that the fear was overcome of the bombs because the ballot was so supreme.”
 
Analysts say that under Sharif, Pakistan’s relations with neighboring India are likely to improve because of his past initiatives aimed at resolving bilateral disputes through peaceful talks.
 
But they say that the prevailing controversy over the issue of U.S. drone strikes will be a major stumbling block in fostering better ties between Washington and Islamabad. Former Senate Chairman Sajjad says that the majority of the people are opposed to the drone attacks and Sharif promised his supporters during the election campaign that he will seek an immediate end to this U.S. program.  
 
“They cannot go back on the expectations that they have created [because] there will be a huge backlash in Pakistan," he said. "So I think the Obama administration will in a mature way have to understand the situation in Pakistan and they will have to resolve these issues through dialogue between Pakistan and the United States."
 
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sharif said his country has “good relations” with the United States but he called the drone campaign against suspected al-Qaida operatives in Pakistani tribal areas a very serious challenge to national sovereignty.

You May Like

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
May 13, 2013 10:58 PM
Well, in my opinion, this will definitively be a step back for women's rights, and the rights of minorities; the issue of Sharia becoming the state law, will once again come to the forefront; with Sharif in power the Islamists, including the Taliban, will have an open ally in charge; he will want US$, but not to cooperate in the war against terrorists, or the source of their income. The issue of corruption will not change, and the economy will not become more self-sustaining. If any changes come to pass, they will push Pak to a more closed and even less transparent society/gvmt. At least an election was held, and a new potential gvmt was elected; will see what the actual gvmt will look like.....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid