The Corner

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Pakistan’s Election Day


The results of the Pakistani legislative elections are as yet far  from clear. What does seem to be clear is that the predictions of  massive vote rigging by the Musharraf government were unfounded. Of  course there have been the usual irregularities, intimidations, and outbreaks of minor violence — with all the parties playing dirty in regions where they’re strongest. But Musharraf has evidently not stolen the election for his own party, the PML-Q. This is a development that has taken many Western correspondents, in particular the BBC, by surprise. But then a huge amount of media energy and air time has been invested in the depiction of Musharraf as a diabolic dictator somehow responsible for all of Pakistan’s problems from terrorism to poverty. It’s a version of reality promoted by the country’s English-speaking political class, and it’s of a piece with early assertions that the apparently very low turnout in the election is caused by fear of violence rather than popular cynicism about politicians and political parties….