In Pakistan, the new prime minister is reviving the tradition of political dynasties

Pakistan's new Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, addresses the National Assembly after his election on Monday, April 11 (photo courtesy of government news agency).

“It is the victory of good over evil!” † Famed for the lyricism of his flights, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, thus qualified for his election after being nominated by National Assembly deputies on Monday 11 April with 172 out of 342 votes. ” bad ” is his predecessor, Imran Khan, who had sent the same deputies the day before, duringa vote of no confidencea first in the country’s history.

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If it is yet to be shown that the rise to power of this 70-year-old man, heir to a famous political clan in Punjab, represents the “good”, his appointment has at least brought Pakistan back to the age of the Dynasties: in next to that of the Sharif – Shehbaz is the little brother of Nawaz Sharif, who was the three-time head of government – ​​the Bhutto clan is making a comeback in the corridors of power. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), co-led by the husband and son of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has indeed supported Shehbaz, who is himself the chairman of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).

These two rival parties – and these two families – constantly exchanged the reins of power throughout the 1990s and until recently: Nawaz last served as prime minister between 2013 and 2017, the year in which he was disqualified by the Supreme Court for corruption; Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of Bhutto, who spent years in prison on various charges of fraud before becoming president of the republic between 2008 and 2013. The Sharif clan is a family of wealthy industrialists from the Punjab province, where the two brothers, in turn, and on several occasions, held the positions of “Prime Minister”. That of the Bhutto belongs to the feudal aristocracy of the province of Sind.

Severe turbulence expected

For the record, these two parties, whose leaders have been battling each other for decades, have joined an Islamist party, the highly conservative Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami-Fazal (JUI-F). Its leader, the cleric Fazlur Rehman, who is considered an opportunist, is a supporter of the Afghan Taliban but previously had no objection to a woman, Benazir Bhutto, leading a government.

Only their common hatred of the outgoing Prime Minister, Imran Khan, was able to unite this “gang of three”. Mr Khan, a former cricketer and ex-playboy in London nightclubs, was elected in 2018 on a religiously conservative agenda, one of the strengths of which was precisely to counter the corruption of political dynasties…

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