Country Risk

Tacit military support for Islamist parties increases risk of violent unrest in Pakistan ahead of 2018 election

25 October 2017


Pakistan’s interior minister, Ahsan Iqbal, on 23 October ordered security forces to increase security in Islamabad’s Red Zone area ahead of an Islamist protest march in the capital on 25 October.

The Islamist groups oppose the Elections Act 2017, which was passed by the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government on 3 October. The legislation’s primary objective was to allow former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to head the PML-N despite his disqualification by the Supreme Court. The legislation also amended an electoral declaration form, removing clauses that required candidates to affirm their belief in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad – a key tenant of Sunni and Shia Islamic belief systems.

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