Pakistan: Runaway Horse Looking for a Rider
Anticipating possible midterm elections, EWI board member Ikram Sehgal analyzes Pakistan’s current political regime and its history of corruption in his weekly editorial for The News.
For Sehgal, Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s current president and co-chairman of the ruling party Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP), “qualifies as perhaps the craftiest politician of his time.” Sehgal writes that Zardari, who has a reputation of corruption, has done little to improve the political regime in Pakistan aside from maintaining a vague semblance of democracy and a decent relationship with the U.S.
Sehgal argues that Zardari's predecessor Musharraf was no better, but that he could be the “Comeback Kid," pointing out that Musharraf did make some positive progress during his first two to three years as president.
Mian Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister of Pakistan and head of the conservative political group Pakistan Muslim League (PML), is “unpalatable for the West,” states Sehgal . “Sharif is considered ‘dangerous’ even by our friends.” Similarly his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, was a successful leader when Mian Sharif was prime minister, but lost his strength when his brother lost power.
With his failure to differentiate between the Taliban and terrorist groups, Imran Khan is unable to “translate his popularity into votes,” writes Sehgal. “Such views are not acceptable to even those who genuinely like him,” explains Sehgal.
With the midterm elections on the horizon, Sehgal assesses that there is little promise of finding Pakistan’s next great leader this time around.