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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pakistan Elections: Musharraf and Ishaq Khan

Is this a sea change or more of the same? If you believe the curmudgeon Ardeshir Cowasjee on ARY yesterday, "Chore Gaya, Daaku Aaya," then this is only a change of masks.

The whitewash of the PML (Q) can be attributed in equal measures to the anti-incumbency factor, Bhutto sympathy vote, the lawyers movement and the downward bungling and mishandling since March 09, 2007 by Musharraf Pervez.

Out of Uniform Mr. Musharraf is in the same position as the late President Ghulam Ishaque Khan.

The question is which Ishaque Khan?

The President Ishaque Khan who successively dismissed two elected governments under Article 58-2-b or the other President Ishaque Khan who (alongwith Nawaz Sharif) was eased out by the Army Chief?


The "analysts" almost without exception are terming this a heavy mandate by the people.

It is a very astute verdict. No party has emerged with a majority.

The people want the politicians to work at consensus building. They want results. For them Islamabad is in the shadows of distant Margalla hills.

They want a rule of law and order, accessible daily amenities, water, electricity, education, employment. There is also a subtext: they want end to waderashahi and naukarshahi, they want civilian control over the disproportionate share of the military, they want more provincial autonomy.

Since no single party has emerged with a clear majority the next government it will have to be a coalition government. Coalitions do not usually last a full term. And when this coalition falls, it will be interesting to see if it falters over "rule of law and order, accessible daily amenities, water, electricity, education, employment" or over other power issues like favourable judicial dispensation ( that is what the "restoration of Iftikhar Chowdhry" versus "judicial reforms" boils down to,) who will be the PM - (Nawaz has launched a ploy - Aitezaz Ahsan - which Asif Zardari will see as a challenge to his authority,) or what to do with Pervez Musharraf.

The people of Pakistan will make note of this and when the next elections are held they will remind these parties.


From what little I have seen the losers are showing grace in defeat. Perhaps when the winners get some time to reflect they can mirror the same grace?


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