Report: US Taps Sharif to Be Next Pakistani PM

PML-N Open to Coalition Govt

During a national television interview Mushahid Hussain, the head of the Pakistani Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) says that the United States is trying to broker a new coalition government between the Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the ruling Pakistani Peoples Party (PPP). Per this deal PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif would retake the position of Prime Minister of Pakistan, replacing Yousef Raza Gilani.

Sharif last held the office of Prime Minister in 1999, when he was ousted in a military coup by then-General Pervez Musharraf. He was exiled by the Musharraf junta, spending the next seven years in Saudi Arabia before returning to take part in the 2008 elections. His PML-N party came in second, and became part of a broad coalition government in the post-Musharraf era.

That government split in August of 2008, when the PPP reneged on a promise to restore Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry. The PML-N has been in the opposition ever since, though Chaudhry was restored to his position on March 15 after the government failed to halt a massive PML-N led protest march.

As the PPP government has weakened, the US has recently been hedging its bets by courting the PML-N, and Sharif in particular, though they have long opposed Sharif in favor of the more pro-US PPP. Sharif has confirmed that his party is open to a renewed coalition government, in spite of the PPP accusing him of sedition and placing him under house arrest only two months ago.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.