Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pakistan on the verge of a coup ? - CNN International just reported that Pakistan’s foreign minister is being barred from leaving the country. Further, a report from the UK’s Guardian indicated that some 248 people in total are on an ‘exit control list’ , the latter having been drawn up after Pakistan’s Supreme Court ended amnesty for current President Zardari.

Calls for Zardari’s resignation came from the country’s main opposition party folloiwng the Supreme Court’s ruling, which until now was protected from corruption charges.

Raja Zafarul-Haq, chairman of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) said:

On the moral ground, he should realize that in this situation he is no longer able to effectively run the government, run the country, [or] represent Pakistan within Pakistan or outside.

The country appears to be heading for great turmoil as its top anti-corruption agency, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)indicated it was was reopening hundreds of cases. Though no names have been published as yet, it is known that the interior minister, Rehman Malik, was among them. The agency also said it was reviving arrest warrants in some cases and freezing assets, including bank accounts and property.

Former President Musharraf introduced the corruption amnesty in 2007, with British and US backing, as part of a political deal allowing Benazir Bhutto to return from exile and contest elections.

All of Zardari’s cabinet members have also been asked to resign immediately. Zardari has a very low popularity rating in the country, and the West will have to re-assess its alliance with Pakistan in view of the volatile situation, and CIA-led ongoing drone attacks which have angered Pakistan’s citizens, causing great hostility against Washington.

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