For Immediate Release
Pakistan on the Brink
Tariq Kahn: Pak President Zardari is not rescinding legal framework of dictatorship
WASHINGTON - In the first two parts of the Real News Network's interview series on the current situation in Pakistan, senior editor Paul Jay and Professor Tariq Amin-Khan discuss the relationship between Pakistan and the United States as well as the newly appointed President Zardari.
In part one of the interview, Paul Jay and Professor Amin-Khan discuss the American interference in Pakistan. Professor Amin-Khan says that he "think[s] that the Americans have a huge role to play in [the situation in Pakistan]" because it is the United States who is pushing the attacks on the Taliban. The civilian government in North West Frontier Province negotiated agreements and reached good terms with the Taliban before the US decided to increase their attacks. The Taliban have now pulled out of all agreements and accused the government of "not bargaining in good faith". It is also a popular opinion that the recent bombing of the Marriot hotel was a revenge attack in response to the number of civilian deaths caused by American troops in Pakistan. This unwanted interference lead to last week's incident when Pakistani officials shot at US helicopters flying inside Pakistan in an attempt to support President Zardari's decision to keep foreign troops out of the country.
In the second installment of the series, Paul Jay and Professor Amin-Khan turn their attention to President Zardari and the debate over the 17th amendment of the constitution. The people of Pakistan are pushing for Zardari to change the constitution so that he no longer has the power to dissolve both the National and Provincial assembly and cannot appoint the head of the military. Zardari has said that something needs to be done about the amendment, but action is yet to be taken against what Paul Jay calls a framework for a dictatorship. Professor Amin-Khan also points out the United States' lack of input on the issue, speculating that despite their support of democracy, they would rather Zardari maintain these powers so that they can deal with him directly.
Stay tuned for the next segment of the interview when Paul Jay and Professor Tariq Amin-Khan discuss the crisis of democracy within Pakistan, and what will happen to the country in the face of a global economic meltdown.