Tuesday, October 09, 2007

We will, in fact, have Pervez Musharraf to kick around

So the world's most beleaguered dictator finally gets one in the win column. Amid opposition boycotts, parliamentary walkouts, and a series of looming Supreme Court challenges to the entire process, Pakistan's military strongman, General Pervez Musharraf, has won another five year term as president on Saturday.

That the seemingly terminally compromised Musharraf could cruise to re-election highlights just how bad Pakistani politics are. With the lack of fresh political energy in Pakistan, it's little wonder that voters opted for more of the same. Whether or not they would have done so without the self-defeating boycotts and walkouts by what passes for Musharraf's political opposition is another matter entirely. There doesn't appear to be as much enthusiasm for the return of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan as there does among pundits on the BBC and in the Washington Post, but Musharraf managed to strike a power sharing deal with her anyway. Perhaps the good general summed it up best with this pithy comment on the state of politics in Pakistan: "democracy means majority, whether there is opposition or no opposition".

Will the high court invalidate Musharraf's reelection? Will he declare martial law if they do? Will Pakistan finally give up the pretense of being a functioning nation state and just return a Mogul emperor to the throne? Stay tuned.

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