(What caused this current shake up?) Basically since March just after parliamentary elections, the country became ruled by the two partiesï¿½the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan People's Party of Asif Zadari--which ruled in the 1990s but now they joined together in one big coalition. The two parties have always been a bit antagonistic and it was said after Musharraf two weeks ago, the only thing that united the parties was their dislike of Musharraf. Now the parties have split. (The PPP is the party of slain former leader Benazir Buttho and is now ruled by her husband. Is this now the ruling party?) It is because it's the biggest single party in the country. it's also likely to be the party of the president because Zadari is running for president and likely to win that contest. (Which party is more friendly to the U.S.?) Sharif has tended to play the sovereignty card and say that Pakistan doesn't want the U.S. infringing on its sovereignty. The PPP has been more outspoken about problems with terrorism and Zadari has said he wants the Taliban banned in Pakistan and just yesterday that ban went into effect. (How is the Pakistan wing of the Taliban different from the broader Taliban?) It is connected to its Afghan counterpart and it does not recognize foreign borders. (Can the U.S. look forward to more or less cooperation towards the Taliban from this new Pakistani government?) I don't think everything is going to work out fine. There's been a lot of squabbling in the government as the security gets worse every day. I think the U.S. will look in vane for any type of cooperation on security. Ordinary Pakistanis feel banning the Taliban isn't the best option, and some sort of dialogue is better.
++ CH gives a very detailed interview with excellent info and analysis.