IN calling for the immediate release of deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and for the restoration of ‘democratic institutions’ as early as possible, Prime Minister Sharif’s Foreign Office has taken a tougher line on events in Egypt than has been the case since turmoil erupted in that country two and a half years ago. There has been considerable violence in Egypt recently, and undoubtedly informed by his own personal experience with coups, Mr Sharif, who has kept the foreign ministry portfolio with himself, has staked out an interesting position on the Middle East. Several Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, whose leadership is a long-standing supporter of the Pakistani prime minister, backed the Egyptian army after its ouster of Mr Morsi and announced a $12bn emergency aid package to help stabilise the unravelling Egyptian economy. So, at the very least, the Foreign Office spokesperson’s comments on Egypt on Friday indicates the willingness of the Sharif government to take a contrarian stance where principle demands it.

To call for Mr Morsi’s release and for the quick return of Egypt’s nascent democratic process is the right stance. The Pakistani experience suggests that given a choice between problematic civilian leadership and a self-righteous military one, the former is always preferable. But Mr Sharif would do well to also focus on what Mr Morsi did wrong in his year in charge, if only to help himself better navigate Pakistan’s own fraught civil-military ties. In some ways, Mr Morsi’s year in power echoed the Sharif governments of the 1990s: an instinct to push hard and push immediately against entrenched power structures instead of consolidating power quietly and more methodically. Over the life of the last assemblies and since coming to power, Mr Sharif appears to be a changed man. In truth, however, he has yet to take up issues that go to the heart of the military’s institutional interests. Only when Mr Sharif turns to those matters will the country truly know just how much he has changed and how capable he is to guide the country towards civilian supremacy.

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Comments (4) (Closed)


Ahmer
Jul 28, 2013 09:09am

Hope Egypt reciprocates when Nawaz Sharif is given the same treatment by the new COAS.

AbbasToronto
Jul 28, 2013 03:13pm

The reason why Sharif is siding with Morsi has nothing to do with principle.

Both Morsi and Sharif believe in world Kaliphate, which is incompatible with modernism. Both Mustafa bin Ali Reza Effendi (Ataturk) and Muhammad Ali Jinnah were anti-Kaliphate, and so should Pakistan. Thanks to Ataturk this 1,300 year old dreaded institution was buried 6 feet under, and let it remain their. Only the Taliban want it, and Morsi wanted it, and Sharif wants it. They will fail, inshallah.

Khalid
Jul 28, 2013 09:42pm

Well, the only reason Mr. Sharif has taken the stand is to ensure Egypt helps Pakistan when a similar thing happens to his government in future. If you remember, on of the first laws that was changed was to remove the restriction on 3rd time becoming Prime MInister. You also must remmeber the ameer-ul-momeneen title he would have liked hor himself. Do you think he had the interest of Pakistan at the heart of those decisions?. Mr. Sharif, like every other politican who has been in power in Pakistan, would do anything to benefit themselves. In my opinion, nothing else matters.

RK
Jul 29, 2013 12:08am

@Ahmer: Hahahahahahahahahar too good sir ji