Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sharif & Other Pakistani Opposition Leaders Placed Under House Arrest

Half a year ago, Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif stood side by side in ousting Pervez Musharraf from Pakistan's Presidency.

Today, President Ali Zardari ordered the house arrest of Sharif and several other opposition leaders.

Sharif and other opposition leaders were going to begin "a long march" in protest of President Ali Zardari's decision not to reinstate Ifitikhar Mohammed Chaudhry as Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court. Remember it was Musharraf's removal of Chaudhry in 2007 that caused political unrest and ultimately his political demise.

A year ago, Ali Zardari and Sharif won big in Pakistan's parliamentary elections ousting Musharraf's forces. Within 90 days, Sharif withdrew from the governing coalition although he continued to support Ali Zardari on a case by case basis.

Of course, it could be argued that Sharif has a vested interest in the restoration of Chaudhry. Last month, Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled Sharif could not run for office based criminal convictions that arose when Sharif was ousted from power by Musharraf in 1999. This has caused unrest in the Punjab province which was run by his brother Shahbaz Sharif.

Nevertheless it is disturbing that Ali Zardari is eager to crack down on Sharif and other opposition leaders but placates the Taliban by giving them the Swat.

A year ago, I wondered how long the alliance would last between Ali Zardari and Sharif. Now I wonder how long it will be before Musharraf re-enters the picture or the Pakistani military takes control of the government.

No comments: