The only thing worse than the election results is the fact that the Bush administration seems to be kissin pakistans ass even more. I'm very worried, pakistans nuclear arsenal in the hands of islamic radicals???
not cool...and the state department needs to be more concerened
if anyone thinks pakistan is an ally in the war on terror.....you need your head examined your talking about the country that put up the taliban, where osama bin laden is rumored to be hinding...and a place that has now elected an anti western government.
this is going to lead to more terror attacks on india and increased tensions and combined with the bush administation having it's head up it's ass on teh issue...it's a very dangerous thing.
Oct. 21 issue — The Islamist leader could scarcely contain his glee. “This is a revolution!” crowed Qazi Hussain Ahmed, promising to evict not only U.S. troops but every trace of Western culture from Pakistan’s soil. No one, not even Qazi himself, had expected the pro-Taliban candidates of his United Action Council (also known by its Urdu-language initials, MMA) to show such power at the polls.
THE COALITION’S SIX PARTIES had always clung to the ragged fringe of Pakistani politics: the last time National Assembly elections were held, in 1997, they won only two seats. But when last week’s ballots were in, the mullahs had captured at least 51 out of 342 seats—and at least an outside chance of helping form Pakistan’s new government. What’s more, they seem eager and able to disrupt the cooperation of Pakistan’s military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in the war on terror.
The MMA ran on a venomously anti-U.S. and anti-Musharraf platform—a message warmly received in the tribal areas near the Afghan border. Campaign leaflets endorsing the MMA and denouncing Musharraf were printed and distributed by a former Osama bin Laden aide from Afghanistan. Many tribal-area locals sympathize with Taliban and Qaeda fighters fleeing from U.S. and Pakistani forces, and they particularly resent the “kick down the door” style of some soldiers in the search for terrorists. “Down with Bush!” shouted one of the alliance’s leaders, Maulana Samiul Haq, at a recent rally. “This is a war between Islam and American infidels!” The black-turbaned Haq runs Pakistan’s largest Qur’an school; its alumni include several Taliban leaders, along with a whole generation of holy warriors in Afghanistan and Kashmir.
Now the battlefront has shifted to Pakistani politics. The MMA’s new heft in the National Assembly is only part of the story. What could prove even more serious, especially in terms of immediate U.S. concerns, is the alliance’s gains at the provincial level. The mullahs now have a clear majority in the North-West Frontier province’s legislature, and when the last ballots are tallied they may control Baluchistan’s legislature as well. U.S. Special Forces and American law-enforcement agents have been working with Pakistani Army and para-military units in both provinces. Now the MMA is determined to send them home.
Nevertheless, U.S. officials insist everything is fine. The State Department publicly applauded the elections as “an important step toward the restoration of full democracy.” Privately, a senior administration official professed to find no cause for alarm in the MMA’s new strength. “I don’t think it’s going to send [the war on terror] off track,” he said. “It’s like worrying because the state of Florida has Republicans running it ... I think way too much is being read into this.” The important thing, he argued, is for Washington to respect the will of the Pakistani electorate. “We have to play from our strength, which is our commitment to democracy,” he said. “These guys participated in the election and won, fair and square. Sounds like democracy to us.”
But that was precisely the problem. Musharraf has no one but himself to thank for the explosive rise of the MMA. He did his best to fix the election so the pro-government Pakistan Muslim League (Q) would win, carefully engineering the rules to shut out the secular politicians who had been his principal adversaries. He didn’t merely ban former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif from participating; he also eliminated roughly 40 percent of their parties’ nominees by requiring that all candidates be college graduates, and he restricted the rest from holding public rallies. The MMA, meanwhile, was allowed to campaign freely, and practically all its candidates have degrees in religious studies. In the absence of a viable secular opposition, hundreds of thousands of protest votes went to the mullahs by default.
Musharraf has promised he will hand over power to the new government. The new Parliament is to convene next week, and its members are expected to form a government by early November. Meanwhile, Musharraf intends to remain as president for the next five years. The Constitution he authored gives him the discretion to dissolve the National Assembly. He may not need to. The MMA’s parties have been fighting each other for years, and there’s certainly no love lost between the loyalists of Bhutto, Sharif and Musharraf. For now, the only certainty in Pakistani politics is that everything could change tomorrow.
With Michael Hirsh in Washington
© 2002 Newsweek, Inc.
The U.S. isn't worried, because they expect that Musharraf is the actual leader of Pakistan--which he is--and the "puppet" Parliament will have little power to stand in the way of Musharraf's agenda. The only thing to watch out for, though, is the power of an angry mob...
melon..I think you fail to understand the fact that this shows that the pakistani ppl are clearly anti us and anti western. And Mushareff is already on thin ice with his own ppl.
Maybe we could send you fellas to Pakistan as diplomats?:sexywink:
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