Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Asia/Pacific: Pakistani military pushing for shake-up of civilian government

There is an oft repeated line about Pakistan: Most countries have a military; Pakistan's military has a country. 

Said to be frustrated with President Asif Ali Zardari's poor handling of the recent flooding of the Indus, the country's military leaders are becoming increasingly likely to pressure Zardari (pictured right) to shake-up his cabinet in the short term and to remove the administration itself in the medium term. At this stage, the generals have hinted at wanting to see the installation of a new civilian regime rather than a military dictatorship, a path they have taken at least four times in the 63 years since independence from India.

Zardari, who is now deeply unpopular with many Pakistanis, was elected two years ago after the assassination of his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Despite supporting civilian and democratically-elected governments in Pakistan, Western countries have tended to maintain a strong relationship with the military as well as a safeguard against further instability within the nuclear-powered state and the Central Asian region as a whole.


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