Foreign Policy Blogs

Ruling Party PPP Reeling From Opposition's Strong Moves

Politics in Pakistan has been roiling and bubbling over the pot.  First, there was the recent emergency cabinet reshuffle, a move to appease a strong and ever stronger opposition– an opposition that despite its strength little desires to take control of a weak civilian government; better beggar its enemies.  Then, two major opposition parties, the MQM and a off-shoot of the Pakistan Muslim League , PML-Q coalesced around their stance against the ruling PPP.  It seems the ruling Pakistan People’s Party has been reacting to the rightist and populist moves that seem to have inflamed the streets of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.  The PPP’s backers in the Obama administration are watching the fire works, and upon each anxious explosion are holding their breaths.

Now, there’s the Raymond Davis affair.  Davis, a 36 year old man employed within U.S diplomatic circles in Pakistan has been arrested in Lahore and charged with the murder of two civilians.  He had in his possession  a loaded Glock handgun.  In his stead Davis has claimed that he shot the men in self defense and through his lawyer, has appealed for diplomatic immunity- a move that the Obama administration stridently supports.  A move that the ruling party supported until quite recently; a move that has now cost leading members of the PPP their jobs.  The people of Pakistan, frustrated from years of indecisive attention, are angry that the U.S. has intervened into the very heart of Pakistan’s politics one time too many.  It remains to see how the Zardari administration will play out the cards it has been dealt.

The story behind Raymond Davis’s arrest has caused international consternation: the PPP’s base has steadily eroded as evidence of President Zardari’s willingness to push for immunity has become the talking point, not the incident itself.  The rightist opposition has chosen this moment to mobilize the already bitter public against the government; the move has worked to hobble the government.

There’s little doubt that the case surrounding Raymond A. Davis, is a powder keg at the end of a lit fuse.  Given the facts on the ground in the Middle East and North Africa, the Obama administration can little afford to let that lit fuse travel its own course. The resolution of the Davis case to the mutual advantage of the leadership in Islamabad and Washington D.C. may have to stand against any recognizable vision of justice in the cities and villages of Pakistan.



Faheem Haider

Faheem Haider is a political analyst, writer and artist. He holds advanced research degrees in political economy, political theory and the political economy of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University. He also studied political psychology at Columbia University. During long stints away from his beloved Washington Square Park, he studied peace and conflict resolution and French history and European politics at the American University in Washington DC and the University of Paris, respectively.

Faheem has research expertise in democratic theory and the political economy of democracy in South Asia. In whatever time he has to spare, Faheem paints, writes, and edits his own blog on the photographic image and its relationship to the political narrative of fascist, liberal and progressivist art.

That work and associated writing can be found at the following link:

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