Raja Pervez Ashraf

Massive Demonstrations, Arrest Warrant for Prime Minister Threaten Upcoming Pakistan Elections

For the first time in its 65 year history, Pakistan is poised to see an elected government fully complete its term in March. With chaos erupting on several fronts, though, the path toward electing a new government appears to be full of obstacles.

Last week saw sectarian bombings kill 96 Shi’ites in Quetta on Thursday alone, and tens of thousands of protesters filled the streets, refusing to bury the dead until Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf came to Quetta and agreed to fire the entire provincial government, as it was suspected of being involved in sectarian violence.

Ashraf finds himself at the center of a controversy, as well. The Pakistan Supreme Court issued a warrant for his arrest today in a long-simmering scandal dating back to when Ashraf was minister of water and power before he became Prime Minister. From Dawn:

The prime minister has been accused of receiving kickbacks and commission in the RPPs [Rental Power Projects] case as minister for water and power.

In the case, nine RPPs firms were accused of receiving more than Rs22 billion [1 R = .01 US $] as a mobilisation advance from the government to commission the projects but most of them did not set up their plants and a few of them installed them but with inordinate delay.

From the Reuters article on today’s developments in Pakistan, we have a description of how the election process is supposed to proceed:

The government and opposition are poised to start negotiating the formation of a caretaker administration to oversee the run-up to the polls as soon as parliament is dissolved, which is due to happen in March. An election date has yet to be announced.

The New York Times article on developments informs us that the elections are required to take place within 60 days of the end of the term for the parliament. Complicating the process immensely though, is the sudden appearance of cleric Tahir ul Qadri, who has returned to Pakistan from Canada to lead massive protests demanding that the government resign immediately, instead of in March. The Times explains that some see the hand of the military behind Qadri:

The court order came as an enigmatic preacher turned politician, Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri, addressed thousands of supporters outside Parliament and repeated calls for the government’s ouster. In earlier speeches, he said that a caretaker administration led by technocrats should take its place.

The confluence of the two events stoked growing speculation that Pakistan’s powerful military was quietly supporting moves that would delay general elections that are due to take place this spring, most likely through the imposition of a military-backed caretaker administration.

The AP has more on what Qadri had to say at today’s rally: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @chickadeedee3 That's it? You guys can do better! I'm certain we (MI) sent snow intended for you!
40mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @MattHardigree Perfect answer. Thank you!
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel New York people: How much residual precipitation is on your ground, and what phase is it in?
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @reportedly: Reports: Saudi blogger @raif_badawi sentenced to flogging may face death penalty for apostasy http://t.co/yms6WwCpN8 https:…
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @davidminpdx: Fake radicals who've never gotten person out of prison casually dismiss reforms that get 1000s out. http://t.co/mQFKjZj7kw
8hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @CJMordock @walterwkatz @MikePerlstein How are the cops and prosecutors not facing felony charges? Amazing.
14hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @nigelduara @FateBrewCo @BPbrewing Been mening to check that place out. How's the pizza?
15hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @Sheeyahshee: If corruption is the entree, is criminalizing dissenting speech & critical journalism an appetizer or dessert? http://t.co
15hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @AllenDeLaney Over the scoreboard! Right fielder never took a step, just turned around watching it fly.
16hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @AllenDeLaney And a steal of home!
17hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @yaelwrites @Sheeyahshee Shahid? Trust me the man is GUILTY!!
17hreplyretweetfavorite
March 2015
S M T W T F S
« Feb    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031