For years, political stability in nuclear-armed Pakistan has been a major concern for the international community, particularly for the West. Terrorist attacks perpetrated by homegrown Islamists have wreaked havoc in the South Asian country that borders Iran, Afghanistan, China and India. A surge in extremist tendencies and a rise of anti-West Islamist parties in Pakistan is definitely not a pleasant situation for the United States and its NATO allies, whose forces have been battling the Taliban and so-called "Islamic State" (IS) in Afghanistan for many years. Although Washington has never been shy of criticizing the Pakistani military establishment for "backing" its "jihadist proxy groups" in war-torn Afghanistan, the US so far has not been able to confront the army generals openly and directly. Read more: German-Pakistani relations on sensitive diplomatic footing The Pakistani military, thus, remains the most powerful player in the country's politics and … [Read more...] about The army, a ‘rebel,’ a ‘messiah’ — who would prevail in crucial Pakistan vote?
The moment you step out of Lahore airport you are greeted by hundreds of gigantic banners with smiling portraits of Imran Khan, a former cricket player and candidate for prime minister in the Pakistani general election on Wednesday. Khan's election symbol, a cricket bat, is also omnipresent in Lahore, capital of Punjab province in eastern Pakistan. You can clearly tell that Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI, Movement for Justice) party is going to give Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party a tough time in its political stronghold. Unlike in the West, election posters and banners are hugely important in Pakistan. They tell you which party has more funds and a greater presence in cities. For instance, it is difficult to find election banners for the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), headed by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of late premier Benazir Bhutto. The PPP is all but finished in Pakistan's most populous and electorally significant Punjab province. The main … [Read more...] about Pakistan election: Islamist parties benefit from political polarization