Pakistan Leader Moves to Consolidate Powers

from The Wall Street Journal..

June 11, 2013, By SAEED SHAH

ISLAMABAD—Pakistan’s new leader came to office with a mission to establish civilian control of foreign affairs and defense, matters long held in the grip of the nation’s powerful military. In recent days, he began that effort by putting both of those ministry portfolios in the hands of Pakistan’s most powerful civilian: himself.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s opening move casts him in the lead roles to promote his agenda of improving relations with India, Pakistan’s rival and neighbor to the east, while dealing with insurgents in the west as the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan. Policy on both sides has traditionally been determined by the army.

Mr. Sharif, who served as prime minister twice before, has an uneasy history of relations with the army: He was ousted in a military coup in 1999. He returned to power following May 11 elections, and his new 25-member cabinet met for the first time on Monday—with Mr. Sharif assuming the positions of foreign minister and defense minister…

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