Pakistan Court Conflict Tears Apart Nation

Pakistan has enjoyed few years of peace and solitude during its brief history as a nation and the current situation once again is ready to tear apart the nation. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is demanding both the restoration of sacked chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry who was driven from office by ex president Musharrafs and his own right to run for public office. He has been able to persuade thousands of lawyers to join with him in angry protests against the current government of President Asif Ali Zardari. The government announced it was ready to work to lift the ban on Sharif running for office, but would not accede to the demand for the return of the former chief justice. Zardari regards Chaudhry as a rival for power and one who might rule against his own right to serve in public office.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called both Zardari and Sharif and urged they compromise at a time when their nation is confronting serious problems from al-Qaida and the Taliban. Zardari fears the march of lawyers is really a ploy to overthrow his government and there are limits as to how much he will compromise. In the meantime, Pakistan remains divided internally and divided over how to confront insurgents who increasingly are exerting their power over the country.