Corruption Scandal and Coup Rumors Put Pakistan’s Sharif on the Hot Seat

Corruption Scandal and Coup Rumors Put Pakistan’s Sharif on the Hot Seat
Pakistan's army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, at a seminar in Gwadar on development and security, Balochistan, April 12, 2016 (AP photo by Anjum Naveed).

Last month, as an attempted military putsch was put down in Turkey, posters lining streets across Pakistan beckoned the country’s popular army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, to take over in a coup. The posters have since been taken down, and the man responsible for them arrested. But the question still remains: Is the Pakistani military poised to take over?

The last time Pakistan experienced a coup, in October 1999, the context was markedly different from today. At the time, Pakistan was reeling economically, in part due to U.S. sanctions over the country’s May 1998 nuclear tests. Civil-military relations had gone into freefall after the army, without informing the prime minister, launched a reckless incursion into the Kargil region of India-controlled Kashmir, almost precipitating a fourth war between the nuclear-powered neighbors.

By contrast, today, the Pakistani rupee is stable, albeit overvalued. Economic growth is above average, with the Asian Development Bank forecasting GDP to expand around 5.6 percent this year and the next. Inflation is under control, though wages are stagnant. While exports are flagging and the manufacturing industry desperately needs to be retooled, retail and construction-related industries are thriving. Meanwhile, security conditions have dramatically improved. Civilian deaths from terrorism are at a 10-year low, and the country’s largest city, Karachi, is the safest it has been since 2008.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.