A delicate resolution
Since its birth in 1947, Pakistan has been plunged into one crisis after another. The process began shortly after the early death of its founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and the assassination, soon after, of its first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan. When politicians failed to frame the constitution or even to provide a stable government, the army dictators took over and ruled the country, directly for half its life and indirectly for most of the time.
After General Yahya Khan, who took over when Ayub Khan’s dictatorship was overthrown in 1969, became the real architect of Bangladesh by refusing to honour the massive verdict in favour of the East Pakistan leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who had won a majority in whatever was left of Pakistan after the liberation of Bangladesh, led the first duly elected civilian government. But because he outdid even the military despots in establishing personal and authoritative rule, the country revolted against him. This enabled his handpicked army chief, Zia-ul-Haq, a Uriah Heep-like figure, to first overthrow and then execute him. Following Zia’s death in a mysterious plane crash in 1988, Bhutto’s daughter, Benazir, and her main political rival, Nawaz Sharif, were each elected prime minister twice but both were abruptly dismissed every time.
Against this bleak backdrop, the way the latest crisis, which threatens the life of the present elected — if also weak and corrupt — government, headed by
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