Monday, April 04, 2005

ANALYSIS: Pakistan approaches boiling poin

Lahore shattered the opposition's political lull. A series of countrywide strikes has already begun, with the climax being a call for a general strike this Wednesday. The MMA's president, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, has already vowed that after the April 2 strike, the MMA will march on the capital Islamabad and lay siege to it. This has sent shivers down the spines of those in the corridors of power: Qazi Hussain Ahmed has played this card with devastating results twice before. On the first occasion he mobilized thousands of Jamaat-i-Islami workers against the Nawaz Sharif government in 1993. It fell within a few weeks. He repeated this move in 1996, this time bringing down the administration of Benazir Bhutto. The authorities now fear that the MMA's renewed political activism will mobilize religious forces in the country.......More