ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Verdict against Autocracy

Voters in Pakistan have rejected the forces of autocracy, but will Washington and the military acquiesce? 

The Pakistani electorate has given a decisive verdict against the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) – PML(Q) – the party which supported president Pervez Musharraf and his duplicitous rule. Although the overall mandate for the national assembly is fractured with no party winning an absolute majority, the emergence of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as the single largest party and the marginalisation of Musharraf’s supporters is the telling story of the elections.

It was widely expected that with a sympathy wave after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the PPP would win a large number of seats, perhaps close to a majority. But, boosted by a strong showing in Punjab province, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) – PML(N) – led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was able to notch up 66 seats, not much behind the 88 won by the PPP. The manner in which the PML(Q) lost, with several of its prominent leaders, such as former prime minister Chaudhury Shujaat Hussain, biting the dust revealed the resentment against Musharraf’s rule. Another aspect of the verdict was the comprehensive rejection of extremist religious forces with secular parties such as the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP) winning a substantial number of seats.

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