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Pakistan

Yearbook 2001

2001 PakistanPakistan. Local elections were held in rounds throughout the country. The political parties were not allowed to participate, but the candidates formally represented themselves only. According to Countryaah, demonstrations for the demand for a return to democracy were interrupted by mass arrests.

In February, the Supreme Court annulled the five-year sentence for corruption convicted in 1999 against former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. HD found that the judges were subjected to political pressure by the then government and ordered a new trial. However, the military junta's general, General Pervez Musharraf, immediately ordered further investigation, and in June the fugitive Bhutto was sentenced by a special court to three years in prison for "keeping away from justice".

2001 Pakistan

In June, General Musharraf formally dissolved Parliament and the provincial assemblies, whose activities have been down since the military coup in 1999. At the same time, he dismissed President Rafiq Tarar and appointed himself president. Later, he promised that parliamentary elections will be held in October 2002. At the same time he did not say a word about whether the parties would be allowed to stand, and partly hinted that the constitution would be changed before the doubts grew that the election would lead to the restoration of democracy. The constitutional changes are expected to significantly strengthen the president's power.

By virtue of his new position as head of state, Musharraf traveled to Agra in India in July, where he spent three days with Prime Minister Atal Behiri Vajpayee. The Kashmir issue dominated the meeting, which did not result in anything. It was considered as a success that the tone of the conversation was good and that the parties decided to maintain a high level of dialogue.

The terrorist attacks in the United States in September put Pakistan in a difficult dilemma, according to Digopaul. US demands for support in the fight against the Afghan Taliban regime and the al-Qaeda terrorist network forced Musharraf into a difficult balance sheet. Pakistan was the closest ally of the Taliban, and there were strong pro-Taliban movements both within the army and among the population. However, because of the fear of international isolation with the subsequent economic collapse, Pakistan was forced to stand on the US side and, among other things, lend air bases. Leaders of Islamist extremist movements were arrested and Musharraf removed Taliban-friendly generals from the military. However, the protests against Pakistan's pathway were never given the scale that was feared. The worst consequence of the excited mood was a massacre of at least 18 Christians in a church in eastern Pakistan.

The collapse of the Taliban regime in late autumn met with considerable silence. As a thank you for its support behind the US, Pakistan was granted close to two billion dollars in credit from international lenders. The United States abolished the sanctions imposed after Pakistan's nuclear test explosions in 1998 and granted deferred payment on old loans.

Musharraf's leadership was put to the test in December, when India demanded resolute action against those responsible for a terrorist attack on the New Delhi Parliament. The leaders of the Kashmiri separatist groups Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba were arrested, despite these and other Kashmiri "liberation movements" having long enjoyed strong support in Pakistan and allowed to operate from Pakistani soil. Despite the arrests, the year ended with a strong war threat between the two South Asian nuclear powers.

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