Everything you need to know about the showdown between the Pakistan People’s Party and the Supreme Court of Pakistan

So you already know that Pakistan is, well, kind of a hot mess, as far as governance is concerned.

You also know that the Muslim country of 180 million has had, since Partition from India in 1947, a helter-skleter relationship with democratic institutions, with periods of civilian rule interspersed with healthy intervals of autocratic military regimes.  You know that on many vectors, Pakistan falls short of what even its neighbors have accomplished, not just with respect to democracy, but also with respect to rule of law, corruption, terrorism, press freedom and so on.  (Think of Pakistan, perhaps, as a 21st century version of mid-20th century Argentina, or any other South American country where democracy didn’t quite take, despite strong party identification.)

You know that Pakistan is a traditional U.S. ally and a key strategic relationship in the ongoing U.S. efforts in Afghanistan (and along the Af-Pak border), but that Pakistan’s political and military establishment rarely speaks with one voice and that Pakistan’s government more often hinders than helps the U.S. government in its ongoing anti-terror efforts.

But what of the latest political crisis there?  The prime minister has been dismissed by the Supreme Court? And the new prime minister may be dismissed as well? All because of some corruption charges against the president? But isn’t basically every public official in Pakistan corrupt?

It’s understandable that a crisis like this could leave your head spinning in a run-of-the-mill democracy, but in a place like Pakistan, with so many extrapolitical considerations, it’s nearly incomprehensible.

Without further ado, Suffragio presents a quick primer on what’s happened so far in the showdown, and what we might expect in the near future. Continue reading Everything you need to know about the showdown between the Pakistan People’s Party and the Supreme Court of Pakistan

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