Assistant professor department of international relations uniersity of karachi university of karachi pakistan


Pakistan :democratic era of 19 90s



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Pakistan :democratic era of 19 90s
Pakistan in 1990’s facing tremendous problems. Ethnic tensions in Sindh (civil war in Karachi), collapse of law and order, sectarian violence undermined the authority of dysfunctioned state and the democratic governments. During this decade Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif of Muslim League formed governments. Both of them were unable to control the rising tensions on political and economic fronts. Nawaz Sharif tried to use Islam like Zia ul Haq to augment power. He wanted to concentrate power under Prime Minster’s control. He forced the resignation of President, dismissed Chief of the Army Staff and about to do the same again when he was ousted from the power in a coup of 1999 when General Pervaz Mushraff took control of State apparatus.

The incident of 9/11 took place, when Musharaff was the ruler of Pakistan. This external shock changed and radicalized Pakistan’s politics. Under international pressure Pakistani state cut off its links with the religious and sectarian groups and fought the war against terrorism with international community. 41


Being a multi- ethnic state, Pakistani state facing challenges on ethnic and ideological grounds. As a post-colonial state, it has weak institutions. The State, right from the beginning has involved religion in politics in order to run the government smoothly and at the same time controlled the ethnic forces. The separation of East Pakistan was a big blow for the Islamic solidarity, the new Pakistan faced two challenges. First, from the ethnic forces and second from the religious forces. The state tried its best to create a balance, but failed to achieve this objective. The Baloch and Sindhi nationalist movements are the clear cut examples in this regard. Moreover, the Urdu Speaking population in urban Sindh( popularly known as Muhajirs) also showed strong reservations against the centre.
Presently, the state again facing challenges on three fronts. First, International pressure to fight against terrorism and to crush religious extremist forces which in past was supported by the state. Second, the rising power of the religious and sectarian forces (the religious forces have formed two provisional governments in NWFP and Balochistan). Finally, the ethnic issue which again turned to violence.



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