Analysis

Pakistan: New Islamist Group Challenges Leadership, U.S.
Pakistani Islamists shout anti-US slogans during a protest in Lahore on February 22, 2012 over the burning of the Koran at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. (AFP/Getty Images)
February 23, 2012
| Security
| Asia and the Pacific
Summary
The emergence in Pakistan of hard line Islamist coalition Difa-e-Pakistan (DPC) underscores the nation’s growing grassroots antipathy toward the United States as well as deep and chronic fractures between Pakistan’s government and its powerful military. With elections likely to take place later this year, the nuclear-armed nation could see social and government fault lines begin to shift dramatically.

Thousands of angry Pakistanis gathered in the streets of Islamabad on February 20 for anti-US protests organized by leaders of the DPC. Crowds chanted “death to America” and burned US flags in response to a number of grievances, including a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week calling for people in the troubled Balochistan region of Pakistan to be given the right of self-determination, a move the Pakistani government has firmly rejected. The DPC chairman, Maulana Samiul Haq, called the resolution just one more example of Washington’s “intervention in Pakistan,” according to the Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper.

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