sectarian killings

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: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel RT @carolrosenberg: Crosby: The accused USSCole bomber had "persistent and chronic anal-rectal complaints..."
48mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Odd part of hanging with @FalguniSheth: who knew that Amherst had decent Mexican and Chinese food?
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @joshgerstein Wow, that is quite a plea.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @MikeScarcella He's rt about better shopping in Tucson; Douglas is a pit. Still, seizure+search based on non-crim+innocuous activity. Ugh.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz It is completely unacceptable for @CNN to be claiming credit for the Phoenix VA Hospital story; @azrover + @azcentral broke it first.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @OKnox Ooops!
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @nadabakos @robertcaruso @AllThingsHLS Well, they are cops, so credibility IS an issue!
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @nadabakos @robertcaruso @AllThingsHLS I thought so too. Just relating how the livestock inspectors treated them for these purposes.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Whether favor far greater transparency for OLC or not (I do) this paper by @ericisbeautiful looks very informative http://t.co/2eARGM8y9g
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ericisbeautiful I have downloaded for reading, but have a feeling I will disagree!
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @ericisbeautiful: If you're following the recent case about the Al-Awlaki memo, might enjoy my note about downsides of OLC transparency …
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @RebekahLSanders I meant to say that yesterday, but was distracted by the arrival of Founders Beer in Phoenix. Thanks for reminding me!
3hreplyretweetfavorite
April 2014
S M T W T F S
« Mar    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930