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Pakistan

The incoming prime minister has extended an olive branch to the terrorists who are responsible for the unprecedented electoral violence in the run-up to the May 11 polls.

 

Based on information, we can comfortably say the analysts were wrong on most of the accounts. A neck to neck fight has yielded almost a simple majority to Sharif

 

The big news is, of course, a famous victory for democracy in Pakistan and a courageous rejection of Islamist fundamentalism despite a mixed verdict. As many as 26 lives were lost to fundamentalist mayhem on polling day and 100 more since the poll campaign began in April. Fear kept away some polling staff and voters, but the overall poll percentage has been gratifying.

 

The election results, surprising for many, point to the challenges ahead for the country.

 

Irrespective of who wins today’s election, nothing except more insecurity awaits non-Muslim communities, Ahmedis and Shias in an increasingly intolerant country

 

The day after tomorrow the people of Pakistan are likely to learn once again, among other things, the futility of efforts to establish a democratic order without efficient, democratic party apparatuses. The party that is to suffer the most for lacking an effective party machine is the PPP. Its capacity to avoid learning from past debacles, that were caused or at least accentuated by the non-availability of dedicated party workers, is truly phenomenal. It used to discount the role of an organised party structure by describing itself as a movement. It can no longer claim that title because no charismatic leader is visible to whom the masses can swear allegiance.

 

If actions speak louder than words, then in Balochistan, the elections this weekend are being made out to be some kind of a referendum on the demand for independence by separatist groups.

 
The headline, “Election security: Balochistan braces for surgical operation” in a national daily left me amazed at the deviousness media uses in its reporting of distressing events and issues to make them look completely innocuous, or even praiseworthy. The crafty employment of words and phrases is truly beguiling and lethally effective in constructing or deconstructing opinions and views about issues. These clichés deceive people into believing that the ‘establishment’ or institutions’ favoured narrative is the absolute truth.
 

The political structure of Pakistan might change once the 2013 elections take place on May 11. This will mark a momentous occasion, as elections will take place after a democratically elected government, for the first time in Pakistan’s history, completed its five-year term in office.

 

Pakistan had braced itself for a ‘bloody’ election. It’s bad enough that being resigned to this reality was a prerequisite for further democratic consolidation. But the carnage that is unfolding ahead of polls in Karachi, Quetta and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is far worse than anyone could have prepared for. ANP, MQM and PPP candidates are being mercilessly targeted by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Many have therefore rightly questioned whether an election contested under such uneven circumstances can be considered free and fair.

 


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