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Political situation in Pakistan

Is Pakistan another Iran?

Political situation in Pakistan, satisfied 20%

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Pakistan's anarchic chaos that is sweeping one of the world's eight nuclear powers. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she had trouble understanding why the Pakistani army isn't moving to suppress Taliban insurgents inching closer to the capital city of Islamabad. 

After six decades of independence -- and half that time under military dictatorship -- Pakistan is still a largely feudal society where landless Taliban have started an uprising against the landlords who back the inept government of President Asif Zardari. It is hard to imagine that he enjoys much support in the budding showdown between Pakistan's haves and have-nots. He says Pakistan is in a state of war without defining the enemy. For the Taliban and Pakistan's landless millions, the enemy is Pakistan's political establishment and the feudal estates that enjoy government protection.

Pakistan is increasingly a rerun of the Islamic fundamentalist revolution in Iran that ousted the pro-Western regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1979 and proceeded to execute some 7,000 "counterrevolutionaries" in a few months, thousands more than were sentenced to death during the emperor's 40 years on the Peacock throne. The Iranian equivalent of Pakistan's Taliban -- revolutionary Islamist students -- seized the U.S. Embassy and kept 52 U.S. citizens hostage for 444 days.

It became increasingly clear Pakistan was spinning out of control with a discredited, ineffectual government that the army did not seem inclined to save for the benefit of corrupt politicians. Waiting in the wings was Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League, twice prime minister, who presided over Pakistan's first nuclear test explosions in 1998 (in response to India's) and was deposed by Army Chief Pervez Musharraf in 1999. The son of a wealthy industrial family, Nawaz was sentenced to 10 years of exile, which he chose to serve in Saudi Arabia. Among his assets were. 15 major properties that ranged from steel, paper and spinning mills to an engineering company and vast land holdings.

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By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE

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