News / Asia

Pakistan’s Future PM Described as 'Comeback Kid'

Pakistan’s Future PM Is Comeback Kidi
X
May 16, 2013 5:27 PM
Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani politician set to become the nation’s next prime minister, is expected to seek good relations with the United States. However, South Asian analysts say Mr. Sharif faces daunting challenges from militant groups and a struggling economy. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

Pakistan’s Future PM Is Comeback Kid

Meredith Buel
Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani politician set to become the nation’s next prime minister, is expected to seek good relations with the United States.  However, South Asian analysts said Sharif faces daunting challenges from militant groups and a struggling economy.

Nawaz Sharif has been Pakistan’s prime minister twice before.  Last time he was toppled in a 1999 military coup, jailed and exiled.

But now, after historic elections, some are calling the 63-year-old the country’s comeback kid.

Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party scored a resounding victory, marking the first time in the nation’s history that a civilian government will transfer power to another via the ballot box.

Many analysts reacted positively.

“What we have is a government that is willing to shape up in many respects and an international community that is looking for somebody in Pakistan to do that,” said Arif Rafiq of the Middle East Institute.

But the run up to the election was bloody as extremists bombed, kidnapped and killed.

Sharif’s party has been in favor of holding talks with the Pakistani Taliban and some are concerned he will be soft on Islamic extremism.

“Unless we see a zero tolerance policy toward the terrorists, we are going to continue to have tensions between Pakistan and the U.S.," stated Lisa Curtis with the Heritage Foundation. "Particularly over the terrorism issue."

Anti-American sentiments run high in Pakistan, fueled by U.S. drone strikes targeting militants in the country’s rugged border region with Afghanistan.

Such strikes challenge Pakistan’s sovereignty, but analysts, like Curtis, do not expect a public fight with Washington. “He is not likely to come out and demand an end to all drone strikes because he knows Washington is not going to support that and it would really cause a rupture in the relationship,” Curtis said.

Analysts said Sharif’s top priorities will be domestic problems like power outages and painful inflation.

“There is massive unemployment, productivity is low, but at the same time he also faces a big challenge of extremism," Pakistani author and political analyst Imtiaz Gul said. "Religious extremism inside the country."

The U.S. has given billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan’s military and for numerous civilian projects.

According to analysts,  that is another important reason for Sharif to maintain a positive relationship with Washington.

“Nawaz Sharif will work closely with the United States when all is said and done," noted Marvin Weinbaum with the Middle East Institute. "He has no choice but to do that.”

Sharif’s influence on foreign policy issues could be tempered by Pakistan’s powerful military, which often plays a dominant role in national security decisions.

Still Nawaz Sharif has made an impressive comeback, and is expected to soon become prime minister for a record third time.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid