WMU News

War in Iraq threatens stability of Pakistan, other countries

March 18, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- War in Iraq and the possibility that the conflict will galvanize Islamic fundamentalists worldwide will have repercussions in nations like Pakistan, a U.S. ally that has a strong coalition of Islamic fundamentalists to reckon with.

Dr. Lawrence Ziring, Western Michigan University professor of political science and a world renowned expert on Pakistan, says Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharaff has his work cut out for him as he tries to keep his country on an even keel by maintaining control of the military and retaining his position as the nation's president.

"Democratic elections in Pakistan in November showed a lot of popular support for fundamentalists," says Ziring. "A coalition of fundamentalists did very well, and now Musharaff has a government that favors this coalition." Adding to his troubles, Ziring says, are demands that Musharaff rescind his special powers as both president and leader of the Pakistani armed forces--a move Ziring considers unlikely. Although a U.S. ally, Musharaff has warned the United States in the past that war with Iraq is likely to increase hostility toward the United States throughout the region.

Media representatives may contact Ziring for comment at (269) 387-5702 or <lawrence.ziring@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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