Pakistan's Domestic Political Developments: Issues for Congress [Updated March 27, 2003] [open pdf - 39KB]
"In October 2002, Pakistan held its first national elections since 1997, thus fulfilling in a limited fashion President Pervez Musharraf's promise to restore the National Assembly that was dissolved in the wake of his extra-constitutional seizure of power in October 1999. Opposition parties contesting the elections -- along with rights groups and European Union observers -- complained that the exercise was 'deeply flawed.' No party won a majority of parliamentary seats, though a pro-military alliance won a plurality while a coalition of Islamist parties made a surprisingly strong showing. Musharraf supporter M.Z. Jamali is Pakistan's new prime minister and has thus far maintained Musharraf's foreign and economic policies. Debate continues over Musharraf's August 2002 changes to the country's constitution, many of which greatly augment his already considerable powers and institutionalize a permanent governance role for the military. The 1999 coup triggered restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, restrictions waived in October 2001 and again in March 2003 by President Bush. Secretary of State Powell has indicated that the Administration will seek waiver authority for upcoming years. In response to continued perceived anti-democratic practices in Islamabad, there is legislation in the 108th Congress aimed at restoring aid restrictions through the removal of the U.S. President's waiver authority (H.R. 1403). This report will be updated periodically."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21299
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