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Three Priorities for Pakistan's New Government

Author: Daniel S. Markey, Adjunct Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia
May 14, 2013
Christian Science Monitor


After 14 years, Nawaz Sharif is back at the helm in Pakistan. The center-right politician's herculean exertions to claw back from exile and resurrect his political party from collapse leave little doubt about his desire for power. But even Mr. Sharif could be forgiven a few pangs of buyer's remorse when confronted with the welter of looming problems.

Pakistan is on the brink of economic collapse and its citizens have suffered horribly from a recent spike in terrorism. Then there are tensions with neighboring Afghanistan and India, along with the frustrating and unpopular counter-terror partnership with the United States.

Fortunately, most of the rest of the world will be rooting for Sharif to succeed, or at least not to fail. Pakistan's burgeoning population of nearly 200 million people, expanding nuclear arsenal, and history of regional violence are all reasons to hope he can get his country turned in the right direction. Twice prime minister in the 1990s, the old Sharif displayed more interest in consolidating his political power than governing effectively. If his third time at bat is to be different, he will want to focus on the following three priorities.

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