Pakistan Circling The Drain

The government is crumbling, prominent politicians are being openly assassinated, and the situation seems to be getting worse by the day.

Pakistan’s Government Scrambles to Survive Coalition Defections

Pakistan’s ruling party is struggling to keep its grip on power a day after a key partner quit the governing coalition, denying it the majority in the national parliament. The prime minister is meeting with opposition politicians in a bid to head off a possible no-confidence vote.

Last month, a small party in the parliament, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, announced it was switching to the opposition in parliament and demanded Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani step down.

But the major political setback came Sunday when the second largest party in the ruling coalition, the Muttahida Quami Movement,announced it was also ending its partnership with the government. The move has turned Prime Minister Gilani’s government into a minority coalition in parliament.

Leading Pakistani Politician Killed

A leading politician from Pakistan’s ruling party was gunned down in a wealthy neighborhood of Islamabad Tuesday by a member of his security detail after speaking out against the country’s controversial blasphemy laws, an assassination that highlights the nation’s struggle to contain extremism even among those close to the center of power.

Salmaan Taseer, governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s most-populous province, and a member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, died after a member of his security team fired multiple shots into his car at a shopping complex, police said.

His attacker, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who surrendered to police, admitted he was angered by Mr. Taseer’s opposition to the blasphemy laws, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told local television.

See also:
Pakistan’s prime minister strives to keep government alive
Sharif Tells Pakistan’s Prime Minister to Rein in Prices Or Face Challenge
PML-N gives govt ultimatum to accept its demands
Pakistan’s Government Faces Its Sternest Test Yet
Yet another Pakistani crisis
Pakistan’s political crisis
Death in Islamabad: Pakistani Governor Killed by Own Bodyguard
Salman Taseer assassination points to Pakistani extremists’ mounting power
Escort kills governor Taseer; Pakistan in troubleNews Analysis: Governor’s murder complicates Pakistan’s crisis
Pakistan to bury assassinated governor
Top Pakistani official’s murder adds to Obama’s Afghan woes

Seriously, if you thought Pakistan was less than cooperative with the U.S. Coalition’s war effort in Afghanistan before, just wait and see what happens if the Pakistani government collapses. The current ruling party, the Pakistan People’s Party, are the moderates. Any follow on Pakistani government will surely be much less friendly to U.S. interests in the region, if that’s even possible. And don’t forget, Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

/last one across the border and out of the cesspool, don’t forget to flush

Prices Double, Will There Be Trouble?

Will the sticker shock of these whopping price increases on life’s basic commodities be the final straw in Iran that breaks the back of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs’ theocratic regime? Are international economic sanctions finally working?

Prices in Iran rise after lifting of subsidies

The Iranian government’s removal of decades-old subsidies for food and energy in an attempt to boost its troubled economy has spurred price increases on everything from fruit and vegetables to gasoline, generated work stoppages and emboldened the political opposition.

In Tehran, the nation’s capital, taxi fares that officially were to rise by 10% shot much higher as drivers imposed their own price increases. Some truckers across the country refused to work, complaining of government threats to revoke their permits if they raised their prices to offset higher fuel costs.

Crews on ferry boats operating between Bandar Abbas port and Qeshm island in the Persian Gulf temporarily stopped working, complaining that the ticket prices set by the government had not gone up despite a four-fold increase in the price of fuel, the Mehr news agency reported.

The austerity measures, though long anticipated, have brought mounting public anger since they began Sunday. Government critics contend that they will hurt people with modest incomes while leaving the wealthy unscathed.

. . .

Already, the prices of produce, diesel, gasoline, cooking oil, water and bread have risen dramatically. In downtown Tehran, the price of a loaf of brick-oven bread doubled overnight to 40 cents. Security forces have been deployed around the country in case public frustration boils over into civil unrest.

See also:
Iran Braces for Backlash as Subsidies Nixed
Iran deploys police as gas, food prices go up
Police in Iran streets as subsidies are cut
Subsidy reforms threaten legitimacy of Ahmadinejad
Iran opposition: ‘Dark future’ awaits the economy
Iran doubles price of bread with subsidy cut
Fuel prices in Iran rise as latest subsidy reforms begin
Ahmadinejad cuts Iranian subsidies, quadrupling the price of gas
Prices to soar as Iran cuts subsidies

Now, if your food prices doubled and your gas prices quadrupled overnight by order of your government, wouldn’t you be a bit upset? Of course, the big question is whether the Iranian opposition can harness all this public frustration and whip it up into the overthrow of the Iranian regime, or will the Iranian regime, once again, crush the opposition and brutally repress the public anger?

You know, it would be nice if the Obama administration was paying attention here and seized this opportunity to support the Iranian opposition, unlike the last time there was a popular uprising in Iran, after the last Iranian elections, when Obama and the rest of his foreign policy Clown Posse basically ignored the Iranian opposition’s pleas for help.

/then again, Obama’s on vacation and heaven forbid that Lord Slacker should have to interrupt his vacation to help some peons in another country, far far way, it’s golfing time!