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November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

OCTOBER 22, 1999 VOL. 25 NO. 42

Back to the Future
When strongman Gen. Zia ul-Haq was killed in a still-mysterious air crash in August 1988, it seemed the era of military rule was over in Pakistan. That November, elections took place and were won by Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP). But as the following rundown of key events shows, democracy has proved rocky for Pakistan, a country deserving better than the poor and narrow selection of leaders who claim to serve it

Special Report: People's Will?
Coalitions, caucuses, even a coup - democracy in Asia is getting more complicated and messy. Are the people's demands still getting through?

Pakistan: Here We Go Again After grabbing power for the fifth time in 52 years, Pakistan's generals may put in place a civilian government sooner rather than later

Timeline The ups and downs of Pakistan's recent history

Indonesia Win or lose, B.J. Habibie stands in the shadows

Malaysia Speculation continues over the election date

Precedent Can Anwar run for Parliament from Prison?

India Will the new government survive?

Into Thin Air How to sell a candidate

Vajpayee The Indian PM remains beholden to his Hindu nationalist benefactors. Yet increasingly he is being his own man

Viewpoint India elected an old PM with new friends

Daily Briefing: A Coup in Pakistan

Breaking news from South Asia

Interactive profile of key players

On the Ropes
Sectarian violence added to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif's list of woes (10/18/99)

Can't Stop the Madness
With the downing of a Pakistani military aircraft, familiar accusations fly between New Delhi and Islamabad over who provoked the latest round of tensions on the subcontinent (8/23/99)

President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismisses the Bhutto government, accusing it of graft.

Elections are called, and won by Nawaz Sharif's Islamic Democratic Alliance, which acquires a majority in the National Assembly. Bhutto says the polls were rigged.

Sharif's turn to get the boot - again for alleged corruption.

The Supreme Court reinstates Sharif as prime minister.

President Khan and Sharif both resign, ending months of political stalemate caused by their power struggle. A caretaker government takes over.

Bhutto is back as her PPP is elected the single-largest party in the Assembly. She forms a coalition government.

Farooq Leghari, a PPP stalwart, is named president.

Bhutto's government charges Sharif with obtaining illegal funds to finance two private businesses. He is later charged with treason for having conspired to unseat the Punjab provincial administration two years earlier. This is the 145th case filed against Sharif since Bhutto's return.

The treason charge is withdrawn without reason. Army officers are arrested and later tried for plotting a pro-Islamic military coup.

The IMF approves credit for the government's 1995-96 economic program.

Former cricket star Imran Khan forms his Movement for Justice party.

The musical chairs continue. Though from her party, Leghari ousts Bhutto over - no prizes for guessing - allegations of corruption and financial incompetence. The day after Bhutto's removal, her husband, wily businessman Asif Ali Zardari, is arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of Bhutto's firebrand-politician brother Murtaza. Once again, a caretaker government takes charge.

Leghari announces the formation of a National Defense and Security Council, which brings the military formally back into the power structure for the first time since Zia's death. Later in the month the Supreme Court rules that Bhutto's dismissal is legal.

main pakistan indonesia india malaysia FEBRUARY
Elections are called and Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League and its allies win 190 of 217 seats in the Assembly, securing the two-thirds majority needed to change the Constitution. Sharif eventually moves to replace the president (Leghari) and chief justice, and shuffles the army top brass around. Sharif is widely regarded to be the most powerful civilian prime minister since Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir's father.

Pakistan responds in kind to India's nuclear tests.

New Delhi detects an infiltration by hundreds of Islamic guerrillas over Kargil at the Line of Control dividing Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. It later becomes evident that the Pakistan military is behind the guerrillas.

Islamabad is forced to withdraw from Kargil in the face of international condemnation, especially from the U.S.

In an alliance of strange bedfellows, Bhutto, Imran Khan and various fundamentalist Islamic political groups join forces against Sharif.

Sharif is ousted by the military in a coup that takes much of the world by surprise.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home


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