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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid