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Political crises in Pakistan, serious threat to country's stability

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 11, IRNA -- The current round of political wrestling in Pakistan with upcoming lawyers long march, poses a serious threat to the democratic system of the country.

The blame game started by the leaders of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and N-League has escalated tension in the political arena, and it is clear that the two sides have reached the point of no return, and that all reconciliation efforts made by PPP coalition partners have failed.

Analysts believe that the prevailing political turmoil in the country will be further aggravated when the long march will reach Islamabad on March 16.

The participants of long march have vowed to demonstrate sit-in till the restoration of deposed judges sacked by former President Pervez Musharraf after he had imposed emergency in the country on November 3, 2007.

The lawyers in June 2008 had carried out a long march but lawyers and political activists dispersed without staging a sit-in outside the Parliament House.

Analysts foresee clashes between the security forces and the protestors, which may turn violent.

PML-N has extended full support to the long march maintaining that the long march would reflect aspirations and feelings of 160 million people of the country who wanted restoration of genuine democracy, which should not succumb to any pressure to take unconstitutional decisions and provide justice to the masses.

The political situation in the country started worsening after the Supreme Court had decided that former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Nawaz Sharif and his brother Chief Minster of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif were not eligible to be members of Parliament.

President Asif Ali Zardari soon after the judgment had imposed governor rule in Punjab for two months making Governor Punjab Salman Taseer the head of provincial set-up.

The role of governor right from the time he assumed his office is coming under serious scrutiny and many accuse him of setting the stage for confrontation in the Punjab.

Nawaz Sharif whose party quit the ruling coalition last year is critical at the policies of the government.

He accuses President Asif Ali Zardari of pursuing the policies of former military president Pervez Musharraf.

Federal Minister for Water and Power and PPP Deputy Secretary General Raja Pervez Ashraf has announced that the time for reconciliation with the PML-N was over.

He said that the PPP could not remain silent over the 'character assassination' of President and party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and would pay the PML-N in the same coin.

The PPP deputy secretary general announcement came after JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman reported two days ago there had been progress in the reconciliation process while Baluchistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani had expressed optimism in this regard.

The adviser to the prime minister on the Interior, Rehman Malik has also accused Nawaz Sharif of committing sedition by giving a call to revolt and warned him that a FIR could be registered against him and his brother Shahbaz Sharif in case of any loss of life and property during the lawyers' long march.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif, however, has asked Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani to play his constitutional role and issue an executive order for restoration of November 2, 2007, judiciary.

The past record of the democratic forces in the country's history of is quite poor and there is widespread expectation that renewed political turmoil could set the stage for yet another military intervention.

Pakistan's political history is littered with incidents of alliances falling apart and political friends turning into foes.

However, analysts say never before such a formidable coalition formed soon after the 2008 general elections not only ended within a period of a few months, but in less than a year's its two major parties are on warpath, vowing to use all constitutional or unconstitutional methods to undermine, or possibly eliminate each other.

The gulf between the PPP and PML-N widened after both the parties had failed to find a solution acceptable to both the parties for judges' restoration and the PML-N had pulled out of the four-party alliance setting stage of a major political show down two weeks before the presidential elections.

The party claimed that repeated violation of agreements by the Pakistan people's party had forced them to withdraw their support and sit in the opposition.

The people of Pakistan were hopeful when PML-N and PPP announced to unanimously resolve their problems including restoration of judiciary, however, collapse of ruling coalition had revived traditional political bitterness.

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