Monday, February 18, 2008

Pakistan votes

Pakistan goes to the polls today in an election which looks to hand a significant defeat to dictator Pervez Musharraf's and his allies in the Pakistan Muslin league. The election campaign has already seen significant violence, include the assassination of former President Benazir Bhutto, several suicide bombings, and attacks by gunmen; the worry is that it will see more if (as expected) the government stuffs the ballot boxes and rigs the election to keep itself in power. Any allegations of vote-rigging are likely to result in widespread protests, which could see Pakistan's flawed democracy shut down altogether. Assuming, of course, the army stays loyal to Musharraf.

That's the problem there in a nutshell: in Pakistan, the people may vote, but the army ultimately decides. And that's not a democracy, it's a dictatorship.

OTOH, if things go well, the army stays out of it, and the opposition parties do as well as they expect to, then they could garner the two-thirds majority necessary to impeach the President. And if that happens, then Musharraf's days could be numbered.