New Defense research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/29/2013 -- Pakistan now looks to Nawaz Sharif, whose PML-N won a decisive victory in national elections in May 2013, to begin to fix the daunting range of challenges which face society, from severe security threats to a long-running economic slump. There are opportunities for Nawaz to make some progress: in particular, his willingness to open a dialogue with the Taliban and also to reach out to India could result in better security and some economic respite. However, the challenges he faces are enormous, and he could face opposition both from the military and also from militant groups.
While the outgoing PPP government deserves credit for becoming the first ever civilian administration in Pakistan's history to see out its full term, it struggled throughout its tenure to improve security or to get the economy moving. As well as continuing to endure the long-running Taliban insurgency, which has taken thousands of lives, and also the violence in Kashmir, the country was rocked in early 2013 by severe sectarian violence in Balochistan, where hundreds of Hazara Shi'a Muslims were killed in bomb attacks by Sunni militants. With local tribes resentful of what they regard as too much central control, Islamabad now faces a challenge to bring the province back under control.
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Nawaz has said that he favours dialogue with the Pakistani Taliban. His analysis that military action has failed may be correct, but it could antagonise a military that has already deposed Nawaz once before in a 1999 coup d'etat. Similarly, Nawaz is minded to improve relations with India in the belief that Pakistan needs the economic stimulus of a closer association with India in order to free itself from its economic malaise. Again, his ideas may make economic sense, but they could set alarm bells ringing in the Pakistani military, which is always wary of India and also has its own business interests to protect. Military chief General Ashfaq Kiyani has offered public support to Nawaz and the army currently shows no sign of wishing to intervene in his new administration. However, Nawaz will have to tread very carefully if he wants to pursue his own agenda without pushing the army too far.
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