Pakistan, 1997

By Craig Baxter; Charles H. Kennedy | Go to book overview

1
Pakistan Elections 1997:
One Step Forward

Mohammad Waseem

The 1997 elections in Pakistan continued the established pattern of political alignment in the country. During the campaign, electoral dynamics remained firmly couched in the decade-long tradition of non-issue and non-policy politics, political rhetoric notwithstanding. One of the most conspicuous elements of the election campaign was voter apathy, reflecting general cynicism about what was considered by large sections of the population to be a futile exercise in mass mandate. On the other hand, the landslide victory of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), led by MianNawaz Sharif, represented a formidable change because it paved the way for substantive changes in both constitutional and institutional terms. The newly-elected government of Nawaz Sharif stripped the president of his power to dissolve the National Assembly and dismiss the cabinet. This action promises to bring an end to the series of dissolutions of assemblies and dismissals of governments by presidents in 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1996. Institutionally, it restored parliamentary sovereignty.

The circumstances leading to the dissolution of assemblies in November 1996 that paved the way to the holding of fresh elections in February 1997 were similar to those preceding earlier dissolutions. In each case, the dissolution of provincial assemblies by governors under Article 112 (2)(b) followed the dissolution of the National Assembly by presidents under Article 58 (2)(b). Legal suits were filed in the higher courts against the dissolution of assemblies in all five cases. Presidents typically focused on corruption and misrule as reasons for their action. A concerted effort to discredit the outgoing government through the state-run media followed in each case. Except in 1988, caretaker prime ministers formally took control of the government's machinery: Mustafa Jatoi in 1990; Balkh Sher Mazari

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Pakistan, 1997
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Pakistan Elections 1997: One Step Forward 1
  • Conclusion 14
  • Notes 15
  • 2 - Is Pakistan's Past Relevant for Its Economic Future? 17
  • Notes 33
  • 3 - Pakistan and the Post-Cold War Environment 37
  • Notes 57
  • 4 - Judiciary in Pakistan: A Quest for Independence 61
  • Conclusions 73
  • Notes 75
  • 5 - Liberalization of the Economy Through Privatization 79
  • Conclusions 89
  • Notes 97
  • 6 - Revivalism, Islamization, Sectarianism, and Violence in Pakistan 101
  • Notes 118
  • 7 - Challenging the State: 1990s Religious Movements in the Northwest Frontier Province 123
  • Notes 138
  • 8 - Pakistan's Environment: Pressures, Status, Impact, and Responses 143
  • Notes 159
  • Chronology (september 1994-April 1997) 163
  • About the Contributors 181
  • Index 183
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