18.2.08

So, Pakistan goes to the polls?

Today Pakistan went to the polls. We in India do that so often that it might have been a yawn. Except that this is momentous. Last night they had a special show on NDTV where a group of women discussed the elections. It was held in a Lahore haveli and they had a small fire (oh puhleeze…). The two Urdu-speaking women hardly got to say anything.

I am sorry, but I got no new insights. This is crucial…we need democracy…people are afraid…polls will be rigged…one is expecting change…and so on…

If polls are going to be rigged, what change are people expecting?

Now, I read a few reports. Let me deconstruct some of the arguments in bold:

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan People's Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari have decided to launch a movement if the Monday's election is rigged.

Should they not have launched a movement before to show their commitment to the country and not merely to the polls?

Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif said that if free, fair and impartial election is held their parties would defeat the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) candidates in both national and Punjab Assemblies.

This is of course possible, because in almost all societies people like change. So, what is new?

Meanwhile, Mr Zardari is 100 per cent confident of garnering a majority but warned President Pervez Musharraf-led government not to rig the election which will force him to launch massive street protests leading to the break-up of the nation.

The bloody gall of the man. If he is 100 per cent certain (and not 10 per cent), what is the warning about? And what does he mean by launching street protests and breaking up of the nation? He is sounding like a terrorist. He is no revolutionary. If he is talking about people being on the warpath, they have been doing so for a while, ever since the Chief Justice issue and Jamia Hafsa movements happened.

“We've taken part in the elections rather than boycotting them. Now it's up to them to give us a free run. People are angry, they are on the breadline, despite the $60 billion windfall Musharraf has enjoyed over the past eight years.”

He better recall that the PPP wanted to boycott the elections. Then, when his wife was killed, he started to jump about. I am sorry, but his going on the “Bibi, Bibi” track is his only calling card. Yes, it is sad that there is shortage of essentials, but the windfall that Musharraf or anyone gets is used for what our stupid countries think is more important: arms.

By the way, what about the windfall he had made?

You don’t need great analytical skills to predict the results.

Puff prophecy:

The polls will be rigged, but selectively. The PPP will win in Sindh, to drive home the point about sympathy votes. Nawaz Sharif will get a few crucial Punjab votes.

Musharraf is in deep trouble, anyway.

Whoever finally sits in office, the Pakistani people are a long way from democracy.

6 comments:

  1. FV:

    the Pakistani people are a long way from democracy.

    And where on this planet is "real" democracy? USA, India, France, UK... Can you name even one country?

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  2. democracy - ya sheikh apna apna dekh!

    Pakistan deserves to listen to the unadulterated voice (stamp) of their people.

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  3. khair "real" democracy ke naam se koi cheez tau nahiN, but we are talking about Pakistan here, where voters are blocked from voting because they support a party that is on the ballot. Or candidates are shot and killed on the eve of the election. Or women are not encouraged to vote in certain parts of the qaum and if they are, it is segregated. . . etcetera etcetera etcetera.

    At least in India, Amreeka, and France there is a semblance of something called democracy fraught with contradictions. Pakistan maiN semblance nahiN aur contradictions hi contradictions.

    (lo ab patthar uThao. . .)

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  4. Deconstructing Zardari? Nothing difficult there,I'm afraid.

    "Whoever finally sits in office, the Pakistani people are a long way from democracy."

    Neither time nor space has an objective existence. Depending on the observer, both will be perceived differently.
    Disagree? Take it up with Einstein... ;)

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  5. It's a long and arduous process for Pakistan. Guess the best way to learn is the hard way!

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  6. I agree no one has real democracy and I have written about it often enough that elections are not the only yardstick. No way.

    Baaqi, each to their own, including Einstein!

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