The election results notwithstanding the irregularities and fears of rigging, are pretty straightforward. They undo the Musharraf paradigm of ousting the two mainstream parties from the political arena; and instituting real democracy that is hostage to the bogey of Islamism and local feudal cliques through non-party local governments.
These elections are also a slap on the face of the global corporate media (and their backers, the global military machine) that had painted Pakistan as a breeding ground for Islamic extremism and dare I say terrorism.
The erstwhile sponsored face of Islamism – the Mutihada Majlis-i-Amal– has been routed in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). The people of the NWFP have outrightly rejected this rentier class that uses Islamisation and extols Talibanisation for power and pelf. The secular and moderate parties have won the overwhelming majority of the vote.
When you allow the people of Pakistan to vote freely, they shun extremism.
Nothing could be more satisfying.
P.S. Our writer Yasser Latif’s predictions are close to the emerging tally – King’s Party has lost more and Nawaz Sharif has gained more – but Yasser should take up forecasting now..
This report by Strategic Forecasting, Inc. – may not be exact in the numbers but its analysis is pretty good:
The allies of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have fared poorly in
the South Asian country’s Feb. 18 parliamentary elections. The election
results mean Musharraf has become a lame-duck president, that the
successes by Islamists in Pakistan’s previous round of parliamentary
elections were a fluke and that the current round of elections were
reasonably free and fair.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
(PML-N) won the majority of the 268 National Assembly seats contested in
Pakistan’s Feb. 18 election, Pakistan’s AAJ TV projected the same day.
The PPP is estimated to have won 110 seats, the PML-N 100 seats and the
pro-government Pakistan Muslim League (PML) 20 to 30 seats. The
remaining 20 to 30 seats will go to the Awami National Party, the
Muttahida Quami Movement and other smaller parties and independents.
Meanwhile, GEO TV is describing the allies of President Pervez Musharraf
as having been routed.
Though these are not the official results, by all accounts it appears
Musharraf’s allies have indeed been routed. The president’s allies in
the PML are not the only casualties in the legislative polls. The
Islamist Mutahiddah Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), lead by Maulana Fazlur Rehman,
also has experienced a major setback in the current election. The MMA
ruled the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), shared a coalition
government with the PML in Balochistan province and controlled nearly 60
seats in the last national parliament.
Many senior politicians allied with Musharraf lost in their hometown
constituencies. These include PML chief Chaudhry Shujat Hussain, former
Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former Parliament Speaker
Chaudhry Amir Hussain, former Information Minister Sheikh Rashid, former
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sher Afgan Niazi, former Foreign Minister
Khurshid Kasuri and former Defense Minister Rao Sikander Iqbal, among
several other party stalwarts.
In the provincial legislatures, the secular Pashtun nationalist Awami
National Party is leading in the NWFP, the PML-N is ahead in Punjab
province and the PPP leads in Sindh province, with Balochistan as the
only province where the pro-Musharraf PML seems to be faring well.
The disastrous outcome for Musharraf’s allies occurred against the
backdrop of major international fears that the Musharraf government
would engage in vote rigging to ensure that its allies won. It appears
that Musharraf was no longer able to make use of the state machinery
(especially the intelligence agencies) to rig the vote, however, now
that he has stepped down from the position of army chief. Moreover, vote
rigging in a tight race is one thing, but rigging an election in which
Musharraf’s allies trailed badly is much less feasible. The PPP and the
PML-N shared either first or second place in many constituencies in
Punjab, a pro-government PML stronghold that accounts for the bulk of
seats in the national parliament, which means successful rigging was not
The Musharraf government thus made a major miscalculation as to how its
candidates would fare. Musharraf has become a lame-duck president, the
Islamist electoral rise in previous parliamentary elections seems to
have been a fluke and the elections seem to have been decently free and
Copyright 2008 Strategic Forecasting, Inc.