Leaderless Pakistan Drifts Toward Chaos

Infighting, confusion imperil battle against militants
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2008 5:10 AM CDT
Asif Ali Zardari, right, widower of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, and Nawaz Sharif, head of Pakistan's Muslim League-N party left, walk head a meeting...   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Four months after historic elections in Pakistan, the nation has descended into leaderless chaos, Western diplomats and military leaders believe. The void has serious consequences for fighting militants in Pakistan's lawless northwest on the border with Afghanistan, reports the New York Times.

"I have a feeling that no one is in charge and that is why the militants are taking advantage," said one retired general. Pakistan's new civilian government is barely functioning after half its ministers resigned in a dispute, and confusion over the transition from military rule has led to disarray. Many say the only organization with real legitimacy is the country's intelligence agency, which operates largely without oversight.