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Friday, February 27, 2009

Syed Saleem Shahzad: Pakistan's turmoil echoes in Afghanistan

The Pakistani Supreme Court ruled that opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, chief of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), a former two-time prime minister, could not stand for parliament as a result of an old criminal conviction. The court also disqualified his brother, Shahbaz, who was chief minister of the provincial government in Punjab, Pakistan's most prosperous and populous province, ordering him to resign immediately over a plane hijacking incident in 1999.

The decision sets the scene for political turmoil and unrest and a major challenge to the one-year-old government headed by President Asif Ali Zardari and his Pakistan People's party (PPP).


An added element this year will be a concentration on disrupting NATO's supply lines, whether they enter the country from Pakistan, Iran or Central Asia.

In these new struggles, the decisions that are made in Islamabad over the next few days or weeks will be crucial, that is, just which way the Pakistani military is going to jump.


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