As a powerful governor is gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad amid a major political crisis, guest columnist Ahmed Rashid says Pakistan faces a bumpy ride this year.
To paraphrase Shakespeare, when crises come to Pakistan they come not as single spies but in battalions.
Among them is a burgeoning economic crisis with massive price increases and severe gas, electricity and fuel shortages, 15% inflation and the stoppage of a vital International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.
There is unprecedented pressure on Islamabad from the US and Nato to eliminate extremists, with alleged terrorism plots linked to Pakistani militants foiled recently in Denmark and other European countries.
Also, the country's Islamic parties are attempting to mobilise the public to block proposed reforms to controversial blasphemy laws.
Days into the new year, Punjab province's Governor Salman Taseer - who had spoken out against those laws - was shot dead in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
To top it all, there is yet another national political crisis.
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