South Asia Monitor: Pakistan: Parliamentary Elections and After - January 1, 2004
January 1, 2004
Pakistan's elected parliament recently completed one year in session. Its main accomplishment was the passage on December 29 of the Seventeenth Constitutional Amendment, which ratified most of the political powers President Pervez Musharraf had asserted. Musharraf retains the levers of power and both his hand-picked government and the parliament are weak. He now has a de facto alliance with the principal Islamic party group. Outside parliament, on the other hand, Musharraf's credibility has suffered, the country's political institutions remain hollow, and the security threat posed by militant groups is ever more apparent. Failure to address these challenges continues to hamper the prospects of long-term political stability in Pakistan. Musharraf has now pledged to leave the army in December 2004. The key question is whether the army will continue to play the political role it has had for the past four years.