Feb 18, 2009

Pakistan leaders mark first year

Militancy in the north poses the main threat to the government
Pakistan's government has completed its first year in power after defeating parties allied to former President Pervez Musharraf.
The new rulers were hailed as a cure for the country's problems but have in many cases failed to deliver on the massive expectations.
Economic woes and the growing Taleban insurgency still plague the country.
The ruling coalition is led by the Pakistan's People Party (PPP) of assassinated ex-PM Benazir Bhutto.
Coalition split
The 18 February 2008 election was expected to go down as a key date in the history of Pakistan.

President Zardari's government has struggled to meet expectations
Political leaders hailed the return of democratic forces and the end of Pakistan's absolute ruler, President Musharraf.
He was forced to resign weeks after the new government took the oath of office, following the defeat of his allies in the elections.
But the massive expectations have largely foundered since then.
The governing coalition split soon after its new cabinet was elected, amid a schism between President Asif Ali Zardari and former PM Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League.
While the political wrangling hampered the workings of the executive, the country's main problems continued to grow.
Pakistan was already in trouble before the global recession hit. Now unemployment and inflation have worsened.
But the Taleban insurgency in the north still remains the main threat.
Hundreds of people have been killed in fighting between security forces and the militants.
Dozens more have died in suspected US air strikes aimed at militants in the country's tribal areas.
The next year will be critical for the ruling coalition.
Failure may not just spell the end of its stint in power, but plunge Pakistan into further disarray.

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