Pakistan UPDATE


The promised new story on the Pakistan election rigging
, the opposition sweeps, and other related drama, has been delayed. Look for it tonight or tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has reportedly obtained audio tape of Pakistan’s attorney general saying there will be massive vote-rigging, according to Canadian TV.

Yet, Musharraf’s party has conceded, and the election is being looked at as “resurrecting” democracy in Pakistan.

More soon.

(graphic from Teeth Maestro)


  • Has the danger of Islamists sweeping democratic elections in Pakistan been vastly overstated ? I have pretty much bought into that, but I’ll admit to being ignorant of Pakistani politics on the ground and only a slighter more educated grasp of this election than Hillary Clinton (who apparently thought Mushareff was running for office.) I’m wondering if we’ve been told a tale or if the situation is just incredibly complex and these elections – like most – are only one layer in potential power struggles. Has anyone come across some insightful analysis from folks who actually follow Pakistan closely and have a track record in their reporting ?

  • Here’s a post by Juan Cole that has more concrete information than I’ve seen anywhere else.

    I have to say that after reading for years that the rationale for backing Mushareff was that Islamists were more than likely to sweep any democratic elections, I’m more than a bit stunned and dismayed. I’m wondering just how this “conventional wisdom” is generated and why. It’s also “conventional wisdom” that the security forces are shot through with elements sympathetic to al Qaeda. Now I’m wondering if that’s as “true” as has been proposed – and if it is, in fact, the case what it means for the trend toward democracy. How will power strubbles manifest outside of the political process. Just how unstable is Pakistan ? Our media and most of the policy “experts” seem to have convinced themselves and most of us that it’s highly unstable. In the light of this election I’m open to rethinking just about everything I thought I “knew.” Since I’m not an expert and have never pretended to be, I’m not embarrassed by this. I’m thinking that some folks should be.

  • Reg unless Musharaff gets the message (and he does seem to be tone deaf on this matter) and steps down I’d say the place is unstable. Maybe the majority rejected the Islamists but somebody is bombing places. And the Bush- Cheney policies – not to mention “Hundred Year’s War” McCain suggest that plenty here want a “Clash of Civilizations” just as much as Bin Laden.

    And who are the Pakistani and American voters to say “No” and get in the way?

  • Besides, I expect the aforementioned to be highing their way to South Florida to whip some votes up in light of the Castro announcement and forget aboutm South Asia for a bit.

  • I agree that the elections are just one facet and merely set the stage for what comes next – which could turn into something ugly. What worries me more than anything is whether three is a plausible leader or group of leaders with the required combination of shrewdness, integrity and resolve to move the situation forward and give the people confidence that there is a democratic solution over the long term and that reform will “trickle down” to benefit them. So far I haven’t seen evidence of this, although as I’ve already admitted I’m woefully ignorant of the ground-level politics of Pakistan. But I’m not even convinced that Benizar Bhutto fit the bill.

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