Sunday, January 6, 2008

A French expert on Pakistan

The latest Foreign Exchangev show (now with Daljit Dhaliwal)

Frederic Grare talks about the politics of Pakistan; ' a crisis created by Musharraf for Musharraf'

Dhaliwal appears to ask really stupid questions (may be she was a bit excited being the first show and she has big shoe to fill- that of Fareed Zakaria)

U.S. Relying on Two in People's Party to Help Stabilize Pakistan
With the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the Bush administration is now depending on two politicians -- one accused in the 1990s of being a crook and the other still viewed as almost powerless -- to help prop up President Pervez Musharraf and stabilize volatile Pakistan, according to U.S. officials, regional experts and Pakistanis.

Asif Ali Zardari, who has assumed the regency of his wife's Pakistan People's Party, is nicknamed "Mr. 10 Percent" for alleged corruption by profiting off government contracts when Bhutto was prime minister in the 1990s, charges for which he spent 11 years in prison. He will remain caretaker of Pakistan's largest opposition movement until their 19-year-old son finishes studies at Oxford and is ready to assume party control -- potentially many years away.

"He represents the old, entrenched faction of the PPP that resisted modernization of politics and sees parties as an extension of family politics, which is connected to the aura of corruption around him," said Isobel Coleman of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who led the party during Bhutto's eight-year exile, is the party candidate to become prime minister if the PPP wins the largest vote in the Feb. 18 elections and forms a coalition government. First elected to parliament in 1970, he lacks both charisma and clout, according to U.S. officials and Pakistani experts.

"Fahim is unknown and not a strong player. As a feudal landlord, he represents the Pakistani elite in a party dependent on the poor for the majority of its membership. As long as he is tied to Zardari, it will also be difficult for him to gain leverage with Musharraf or pressure him into reform," said Farhana Ali of the Rand Corp.

CRISIS IN PAKISTAN- links from Asia Society

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