Pakistan, Elections, Jihadists and Musharraf

Congratulations to Pakistan for carrying out a predominantly fair election and not falling prey to the temptation to let loose the dogs of political Jihad again!

Musharraf’s political party, the PML-Q (Pakistan Muslim League “Q”) lost seats, with the head of the party losing his seat in Pakistan’s Parliament, and the hardline Islamist/Jihadist MMA (Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal) lost 91% of its seats (plummeting from 59 to 5). The totality of the MMA’s rout, even in the jihadist infested North West Frontier Province, was unexpected, and signals a turn away from Islamist politics toward a more local politics of potholes, post offices, and government jobs. Jihadist excesses and proliferation around the Lal Masjid and by al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the NWFP, the MMA association with Musharraf, and factional splintering that led to a voting boycott by Jamaat i-Islami, all bear some responsibility. [Telegraph India]

The MMA lost command of the NWFP, which it had controlled, to the liberal-secular Awami National Party (ANP) and the (Bhutto Family’s) Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). In the NWFP provincial assembly, Islamist and Jihadist parties won 67 seats out of 96 in 2002, and in 2008 they won 9. It will be interesting to see how Mehsud’s jihadists, who have showed no respect so far for Pakistan’s civil law, or its army for that matter, react to attempts by the ANP and PPP to reign them in.

To provide an anecdotal yet amusing answer to the question of whose election day went worse, the Islamists/Jihadists or the PML-Q, Mohammad Ahmad Ludhianvi, the head of the banned Jihadist group the Sipah-e-Sahaba, was defeated in Punjab by Sheik Waqas of the PML-Q. Clear loser: Islamist Jihadist vampires.

The Bhutto family’s Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League “N” (PML-N) were expected to do well. Both performed to expectations. [CTV]

No single party has a clear majority. It will be a coalition government.

The Dawn shows the Election results as follows:

Party position National Assembly & provincial assemblies

Party

NA

PP1

PS2

PF3

PB4

PPPP

88

77

66

18

7

PML(N)

66

102

0

4

0

PML(Q)

38

64

10

4

17

MQM

19

0

36

0

0

ANP

10

0

2

29

2

BNP(A)

1

0

0

0

5

MMA

5

2

0

8

5

Others

41

39

11

16

10

1. Provincial Assembly Punjab
2. Provincial Assembly Sindh
3. Provincial Assembly NWFP
4. Provincial Assembly Balochistan

There were 24 election-related deaths in Pakistan, mostly in the Punjab. Turnout was 35-40% of the 81 million eligible voters [Times of India]

The election was monitored and approved for fairness by international observers, though there were concerns about the threat of violent attacks suppressing turnout. Apparently the Pakistanis, being used to representative government, are not as brave about exercising their hard-won franchise as the Iraqis. [CTV]

In the aftermath of the elections, Musharraf and his allies made clear what has always been clear except to the confused media, who continually thought that the Parliamentary elections, ultimately determining the Prime Minister of Pakistan, would automatically expel Musharraf from his position as President. For example, the Daily Express gets it wrong.

PRESIDENT Pervez Musharraf conceded defeat in the early stages of Pakistan’s parliamentary elections today. […]

Musharraf faces stiff competition from the two main opposition parties; the PPP led by the son of assassinated leader Benazir Bhutto and the PML-N led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Both parties already have a clear majority in the presidential race.

Not presidential, Express. It’s the parliamentary race. Mushy is the President. Big difference. He can’t be defeated because his seat was not up for elections. He might be impeached, but that is a different story.

The ANI reports correctly.

“They are way off in their demands,” presidential spokesman Major General Rashid Qureshi told reporters.

“This is not the election for President. Musharraf is already elected for five years,” he added.

In the meantime, the PML-Q is furiously distancing itself from Musharraf. [ANI]

Responding to the recent rise in Jihad terrorism in the NWFP, in the past month 10,000 Pakistanis have reversed the recent refugee pattern and fled to Afghanistan for safety. And this is the harshest month of the winter. Imagine how they will run from those blood-sucking Jihadist vampires when the weather gets nicer.

Finally, the retired Pakistani Air Marshall Masood Akhtar has requested American assistance with more modern COIN weapons to counter the al-Qaeda and Taliban’s insurgency against the Pakistani government. [The News of Pakistan]

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