Mon, Mar 18, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Pakistani government ends term amid criticism

Reuters, ISLAMABAD

“There are a number of challenges that the outgoing government has left for the next elected dispensation to tackle,” an editorial in Dawn newspaper said.

“Not least among them is security, the economy and a simmering Baluchistan,” it added, referring to a province where Sunni militants have been stepping up attacks on Shiites.

The US, a major aid donor despite strained ties with Pakistan in recent years, will be closely watching the elections in a country where the military shapes foreign policy with the help of the powerful intelligence agencies.

Looking ahead to elections, whose date has not been set yet, some Pakistanis said they were desperate for change and many were critical of the ruling center-left Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

“We have tried them [the PPP] for five years. Is that not enough? Anyone who votes for them again will either be a fool, or will be doing so for selfish reasons,” grocery store owner Gul Mohammad said.

“All those who care for this country will never vote for them again,” he said.

The PPP could face stiff competition in the election from opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who was toppled by a military coup in 1999, as well as cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.

Former military leader general Pervez Musharraf is expected to return from self-exile in Dubai on Sunday to take part in the election.

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