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Monday, February 25, 2008

Chore Gaya, Daku Aaaya*

I. A. Rahman has raised some interesting questions in today's News. They are of the variety that serious analysts have forgotten to ask until now in the exuberance of election results. But one cannot help noticing also, that while he raises questions not asked hitherto he also avoids some other obvious queries. - t

* The heading is a quote on the elections by curmudgeon Ardeshir Cowasjee on a ARY post elections show.

POST POLL By I. A. Rehman

It should, however, be worth somebody's while to examine whether a master-designer charged with the task of making the electoral exercise credible could have wished the outcome to be any different. The election could have invited criticism if the turnout had been very low, if the king's party stalwarts had won despite the voter hostility they faced during their forays in their constituencies, if the strong pro-PPP wave in Sindh was not reflected in the voting pattern, and if MMA and Balochistan's nationalists had won a substantial number of seats despite the boycott of polls by their parties.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, an event management company had been commissioned to ensure that the poll result did not attract doubts on the grounds mentioned above. Could the tender-winning concern have delivered?

The beauty of the polling lay in the happy convergence of the following factors. While the Q-League heavy weights, who had carpeted the streets in their constituencies with crisp currency notes, could not even become runners-up to winners, the smaller fry had little problem in attracting more supporters than ever. The crowds of voters, suggested by heavier than 50 per cent turnout, were not visible to poll-watchers who stayed at their post throughout the day. Heavy vote-fall was possible at polling stations where the lunch interval was extended beyond a couple of hours. Finally, kind-hearted presiding officers made little fuss about identity cards and won kids' hearts by allowing them to stamp the ballots, and nobody was surprised when the butcher's cat, who was quite a normal vote-eating rig till the eve of polling suddenly became vegetarian on the day of balloting.

Everybody who matters is now happy that Tariq Azim betrays no trace of embarrassment while offering the PPP help in forming a new government. Nawaz Sharif is wining plaudits for not forgiving the PML-Q and being generous to the sheep that had strayed away from the flock. They are welcome to join the flock. True reconciliation, indeed.

The game the establishment loves most has now begun. The PPP will make a push for power and those advising it to strengthen democracy by allowing the lion of Punjab to take the reins of authority are likely to fare no better than they had in 1988. A similar dilemma may be haunting the PML-N. The lure of power is stronger than the love of democracy. It is likely to continue like this for many more years.


Blogger The Editors said...

Immaculate conception for the eelction!

February 24, 2008 6:51 PM  

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