Is Pakistan on the Verge of a Revolution?

Thousands of protestors have occupied the center of Pakistan’s capital and are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif At the time of this recording, the protests were peaceful, but Sharif has called on the army for added security and tensions are high

Before we get into how all started and who is involved, there are a few things about Pakistani Politics that you should know Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy, but their Government has a long history of instability The military in Pakistan largely exists independent of the Government and a history of installing new leadership through military coups The most recent of which was in 1999, when the military installed General Perez Musharraf as the new head of state Musharraf was in charge until 2007-2008, when he relinquished his army post, and lost in elections

He is currently on trail for treason for declaring emergency rule and firing senior judges at the tail end of his time in power, something that the Pakistani Supreme Court sees an act of treason Which, is the other thing to note about Pakistan The Military is still highly influential, but they are no longer in charge And since Musharraf left office the country has had two democratically held elections Prime Minister Sharif’s party won the most recent election in 2013 and that is how he ended up in charge

The protestors are led by former-Criket player turned politician Imran Khan and Muslim cleric Tahir ul Qadri Khan’s Movement For Justice party won the second most votes in the 2013 elections and is at the heart of the protest movement Qadri’s Pakistan Peoples Movement was not much of a factor in elections, but has amassed a large and passionate youth following due to Qadri’s establishing education and welfare programs country-wide The protestors are upset about unemployment, inflation, slow economic growth, the increased militancy of Sharif’s regime, and simple things like the lack of public services and an inconsistent power grid They are also questioning Sharif’s legitimacy as Prime Minister and calling him out on election tampering

There is truth to all of their claims, but those aren’t the only things at play here Pakistani youth makes up more than 50% of the current population A lot of them distrust Sharif because he is one of the nation’s wealthiest men and thoroughly entrenched in the Pakistani political system This is his third time in office as Prime Minister To some, particularly Khan’s followers, Sharif represents the broken system and everything else that has been wrong with the country for the last bunch of years

That would be the entire story, if there were only two sides involved but as we mentioned at the top, the Pakistani Military also holds a lot of sway There are claims by some that the protest movement is also fueled by support from the military They claim that the military doesn’t want to seize power because successfully running the country among this much economic and social strife is almost impossible, but they also don’t want Sharif to amass any more power or to feel to secure in his mandate to run things If you are Pakistani have a comment on this, please let us know We’re happy to hear from everyone, including where our sources may have gotten things wrong

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