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Thumbs up Islam, militarism, and the 2007 -2008 elections in Pakistan.

by usman karim
The 2007 ?2008 lections: one central Issue

(1) Potential Impact of the Return to Pakistan of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto

(2) Four Electoral Scenarios

(3) The U.S. factor

(4) On the Upcoming Elections

(5) Policy Implications

The 2007 ?2008 elections: one central Issue

The five years separating the last lection from he upcoming one have, therefore, deeply changed Pakistan ?s political landscape. Several scenarios an e envisaged regarding the role of the Islamic forces in the upcoming elections as well as he outcome of these elections. All depend on one central Issue: the resident ?s decision whether o remains as chief f army staff. Elections or he residency, The National Assembly, and the provincial assemblies are separate Issues, although these bodies and the senate elect the president. Nds other words, the coming elections are organizationally ands Politically linked. Musharraf ?s mandate will end in April 2007, and he will eventually have to be reelected by the National Assembly, he Senate, ands the four provincial assemblies. It is therefore essential for Musharraf ?s political survival to ensure the victory of the PML-Q. Is decision to run while? Retaining his post of chief of army staff will also influence his own prospects for reelection. Remaining chief of army staff and rigging elections are the two conditions under which General Musharraf can retain power. Having no real political base, he has very little chance of being reelected as head of state if he does keep his post of chief of army staff. Its applies whether or not he chooses To run for reelection before or after the general and provincial assembly elections. Only in his Capacity as chief of army staff can he be reasonably certain of being obeyed and therefore followed, Even by those whom he helped get elected. The assumption that the elections will be rigged if Musharraf wants to retain power is not merely academic. Free and fair elections are almost unknown in Pakistan, but rigging elections has undoubtedly reached new levels under Musharraf, despite his recent protest that ?Pakistan is a true democracy.? Manipulation of polls has included pre election division of existing districts as Well as extension of chief-minister powers to remove nazims, the elect that the latter became totally dependent on the provincial chief executive and, therefore, were rendered totally subservient. Although elections were supposed to be contested on a nonpartisan basis,both the president and the Prime minister openly supported PML-Q candidates. Polling was further rigged on Election Day. The International Crisis Group reported ballot stuffing and intimidation of opposition candidates by the police. In Balochistan, some opposition voters were detained, and some disappeared. The Monthly News line reported that in Gujrat (in Punjab), rival candidates of the PML-Q were arrested Hajji nasir Mohammed gernal secretary Pakistan Muslim league nawaz group was kidnapped by chudary pervaiz ellahi chief minister of Punjab group and threat him and bashed him and rigged the whole election.. Local elections rigged to further weaken the Mainstream opposition parties, but Musharraf also laid the groundwork for his supporters to dominate the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Local elections were the first round of Musharraf ?consolidation of power, s they ensured his control over the organization of the coming Elections. Because the PML-Q won the elections, t will now be in charge of a majority of polling stations and therefore in a position to manipulate the results. The regime has also taken care to choose a no threatening chief election commissioner, Qazi Mohammed Farooq, Former Supreme Court judge who, inMay12, 2000,validated the emergency Proclaimed by Musharraf on the basis of the doctrine of ?state necessity.? Farooq is the author of a series of controversial decisions, all favoring the military. He is therefore no more likely than his Predecessor; justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, to challenge whatever fraud will take place. Against all Evidence, justice Abdul Hameed Dogar declared 2005 local polls fair and transparent. The MMA, like most other political parties in the country, s therefore most likely to ask or two Things:

That the series of elections scheduled for 2007 be held in the proper sequence (Musharraf ?s, 2007, whereas the general and provincial elections are due 60 days after the termination of the assemblies mandates); ands ? That Musharraf step down from his position as chief of army staff before his own bid for reelection.

Any other sequence will allow Musharraf to manipulate the election in his favor.

The JI has taken the lead in appealing for procedural reforms. Emir, qazi Hussain Ahmed, Who is also president of the MMA, continues to call for the resignation of Musharraf. In Lahore, n March 14, 2006, he warned that the MMA would boycott the next elections if they were held under the current Pakistani head of state, arguing that they would ?not be genuine and fair ? and would ?consolidate the oppressive system.? In Peshawar, On March 26, He announced that all political and Religious parties had agreed on a four-point agenda that envisages the resignation of Musharraf, The Formation of a caretaker government, he restoration of the pre-1999 constitution, And the formation of an independent election commission.

The U.S.A. Factor
The Signal the United States sends to Pakistan ?s military rulers will be decisive for both he reelection situation and the election outcomes. e central question ere is Not hitch particular political force may or Way out in The Election but, Instead, he Extent of he Army ?determination to consolidates its position within the country and orient Pakistan ?s foreign Policy in ay hat potentially collides With .US interests. Whether the army Supports he Pakistani resident or imply accepts the statuesque will therefore be rue political choice between short- And longer-term interests. There is little prospect that Musharraf will voluntarily resign his position as chief of army staff. The position of the U.S. administration will be decisive in determining the attitude of the Pakistani President. The intensity of the pressures and the nature of the demands on the Pakistani head of state will influence whether Musharraf retains his military position and will thus influence the position of The Islamist parties. While he visited Pakistan, 2006.US. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher Stated that the Bush administration strongly favored civilian rule and civilian control of the military. In Pakistan. Acknowledging that General Musharraf ?s holding the dual offices of president and Army chief negated ?the spirit of democracy,? Boucher declared that it remained to be seen how the Pakistani president would address the issue. Boucher remained evasive on the question of whether the United States would accept President Musharraf in uniform after the elections if he continued to hold both offices. This ambiguity illustrates the dilemma faced by the United States in its relations with Pakistan. Although the United States in principle favors a greater degree of democracy in the country (as stated in the new National Security Strategy) of the United States of America theU.S. attitude will ultimately be decided by other considerations, such as the impact on the U.S. hierarchy of priorities of the most probable alternative. With the war on terror at the top of U.S. priorities for the South Asian region, tacit U.S. acquiescence to Musharraf retaining his uniform remains the most likely Scenario.

Four electoral scenarios
Four different scenarios can be identified or he lections. Two expend not so much on whether The United States accepts Musharraf holding dual offices as on the intensity of the pressures his dual position ill put on him and now those pressures are related to the extent of democratization in Pakistan. Scenario: in exchange or implicit U.S. acquiescence in musharraf continuing in uniform, Musharraf distances himself further from the Islamist parties. This scenario reflects, to some Extent, he existing reality. Soon after the LFO was passed n Parliament, general musharraf started dissociating himself from religious parties that were increasingly becoming irrelevant, and hey became ore vocal against him. In the 2007 lection scenario, increasing he instance would mean nothing worse for the religious parties hand a few seats less ands both he national and provincial assemblies. Easy ways for the regime to weaken the religious parties would be to end the equivalence of madrassa certificates and university degrees or to suppress the law requiring a person to possess a University degree in order to be eligible to run for election. Such a measure would undoubtedly strengthen the regional parties countrywide but most notably in Balochistan and the NWFP. Given the present turbulence in Balochistan, such a decision is highly unlikely. The JUI(jamat ulema Islam fazul ul rehman ) will benefit from Government support in the province. Another possibility in the same context would be for the MMA to boycott the elections, 2007 .it is Regularly tempted to do. Qazi Hussain Ahmed, he chairman of the MMA, as threatened to do so on several occasions, but a separate boycott by the MMA would almost inevitably provoke a split in The organization, which would then lose what is left of its political weight. Qazi Hussain has already made clear that the disintegration of the MMA is not an option.44AS a matter of fact, despite many Internal tensions, the MMA has proved to be much more cohesive than many initially believed it would be. Moreover, having ?demonstrated ? its capacity to weaken the Islamic camp, the regime would feel internationally relegitimized. The perspective would be different if the entire opposition decided to boycott the election, or It would demonstrate an absence of legitimacy of the regime that would be difficult for the United States and the European Union to ignore. This would not necessarily benefit the MMA because the opposition credentials of the ARD against the regime are much stronger, although the MMA has often been more vocal. The dissociation between Musharraf and the MMA would benefit the MMA only in the case of an alliance between the regime and the liberal parties.46Such an alliance of all parties except the MMA (which, incidentally, S. diplomacy has been trying to promote for the past few years) could create a political vacuum that the MMA would be keen to fill, although it is highly improbable that it would be able to do so. With the exception of the regional parties, hose combined political weight is insufficient to challenge the central government; he MMA would be the sole real opposition. The population would become further depoliticized. The MMA would be unable to threaten the regime, But it would undoubtedly be legitimized in some segments of the population that otherwise have no ideological sympathy for the Islamists.Scenario2: Musharraf continues n uniform despite U.S. reassure and decides to favor The Islamist parties To ease The reassure, repeating he 2002 scenario. Such a scenario would undoubtedly benefit he MA, which would feel strengthened and thus would feel be in more assertive its demands. Its actual political power would not necessarily be greater, but the regime would probably make additional compromises n Islamization, ands particular on family laws and education. This scenario is unlikely for at least two reasons

: ? Technically, lections will have to be supervised by elected local bodies, whose majority, Local elections, belongs to the PML-Q and will therefore be difficult to convince to favor candidates from other parties.

? The mechanism would be too transparent, even for international public opinion.

Yet the scenario cannot be totally dismissed as a real possibility if the regime feels threatened. Following Boucher ?, 5th April 2006, the PML-Q central secretary and minister Of state for information, tariq Azim Khan, declared that the United States ?cannot dictate [to President Musharraf on the uniform issue,? Thus indicating that the regime would oppose such a Move. Moreover, he mainstream parties (PML-N and PPP) have threatened to boycott the elections if Their leaders, former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, re prevented from returning To Pakistan and a caretaker government is not formed. Or the MMA, such a boycott would result in a situation similar to the one generated by an alliance between the regime and these parties. The Islamist coalition would try to fill the political vacuum, although it would not have as much benefit As in a crisis of legitimacy generated by an alliance of the liberals and the military.

Scenario 3: musharraf disappears from the political scene. Although this scenario is not the most likely, it is not totally improbable and thus is worth examining. Notwithstanding death resulting from natural causes or accident, his scenario could result from two different politically meaningful situations: musharraf could be assassinated, or the army could decide that he is no longer its best representative and force him to resign. The assassination of Pakistan ?s head of state would most likely result in the cancellation or postponement of the elections. Whatever the army ?s decision, it would negatively affect the MMA, whose past and present links with jihadi movements would be examined with the blessing of the International community. Much less clear would be the impact of a forced resignation of Musharraf, s happened to Ayub Khan. Such could be the case if, or example; the army decided that, given the current level Of frustration in the country, that would be better off with a civilian assuming power but would be confronted with Musharraf unwilling to give up his position.

The situation in Waziristan and the current insurrection in Balochistan make this scenario Improbable, s the army wants to avoid further disorder and uncertainty. Such a scenario would be more likely in the post election period if, or example, benazir Bhutto and Nawaz sahriff came back and was able to mobilize the population against the regime. Although not the most likely scenario, this possibility cannot totally be dismissed. The army might then be tempted to ask musharraf to resign and let a civilian assume power while the army kept its control of the main levers of power. Should Musharraf exit the political scene before the elections, it would probably lead to the closest possible approximation of a free and fair election. The military would be tempted to favor its preferred party but would be ready to accept the outcome of the election, providing that the winner would agree not to cross certain red lines concerning the role, budget, ands prerogatives of the Military and would not try to interfere with foreign policy. In such a situation, he MMA would most probably emerge as a significant component of Pakistan ?s polity with its number of seats less than or equal to its current count, ands it would remain an opposition party.

Scenario 4: musharraf resigns his position of chief of army staff, and the national and provincial elections are held in a free and fair manner. This scenario is the least likely for it would almost automatically mean a normalization of Pakistan ?s political life. Or the MMA, its impact would be similar to that of scenario 3.

Potential impact of he return to Pakistan of nawaz shariff ands benazir Bhutto

On the upcoming elections Unless he is forced to do so, general musharraf s very unlikely to accept he return of either of the exiled former prime ministers, nawaz sharif and Benazir bhutto. The unacceptability of benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali zardari to the military is well known, and additional charges against the couple were recently made public. Similarly, the negotiated exile of nawaz sharif is expected to cease only t the end of he decade. it is therefore improbable that he or his brother Shabaz, former chief minister f Punjab, will be allowed to return to Pakistan to run in the elections. The government reaction (the announcement that the President would be re-elected by the Current assemblies) to the signing by former Prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto On the 15th may, 2006 the Charter of Democracy ?a text calling for a number of constitutional amendments as well as legal and institutional changes to restore democracy, defining a code of Conduct for the mainstream political parties, ands excluding any recourse to the army against the parties This an indication of what could possibly happen in such an eventuality, even though the Document is not a predictor that the two exiled leaders may be allowed to return to Pakistan for the elections, nds there is no certainty that they will remain united. Should they be allowed to return, the situation would become more complicated for the PML-Q And Musharraf. Although their return would not fundamentally alter any of the above scenarios, it would introduce an additional element of uncertainty. In scenario 1 (in exchange for implicit U.S. acquiescence in Musharraf continuing in uniform, Musharraf distances himself further from the Islamist parties), the presence of either Sharif or Bhutto, or both, would facilitate Musharraf ?s plan by preventing the MMA from gaining ground in Both Punjab and Sindh, which are their respective strongholds. It would, however, take life more difficult for him, or he would most likely have to face divisions within the PML-Q as some elements might be tempted once again to join the PML-N. Two cases could then be envisaged, expending on whether the PML-N and the PPP could sustain ably unite against Musharraf.it would become extremely difficult for Musharraf to govern if they were able to muster such an alliance. If they cannot join forces, it would be difficult but not impossible for Musharraf to remain the arbiter. Scenario 2 (Musharraf continues in uniform against U.S. reassure and decides to favor the Islamist parties to ease the pressure, repeating the 2002 scenario) would be much more difficult to implement should Sharif and Bhutto come back. The MMA obviously benefited from their absence in 2002. Although it is difficult to guess the margin by which the vote would be a elected if the two leaders came back to contest the elections, he MMA would likely lose ground at least in Punjab and Sindh. Gain, musharraf ?s own position would depend on whether the PPP and the PML-N can unite. In scenarios 3 (Musharraf disappears from the political scene) nds 4 (Musharraf resigns his Position of chief of army staff, nds the national and provincial elections are held in a free and fair manner), the presence of Sharif and Bhutto only helps bring back the MMA to its natural modest electoral performance, which is nuance only by circumstantial variations.Finally, new should also consider the possibility of mass agitation if the elections are too blatantly rigged, n particular under scenario 1. In such a scenario the MMA could side with the opposition, being even the most vocal. Such a possibility would not necessarily benefit the MMA, however, because the logic of the situation would lead to either an army repression or new elections. In the case of repression, he MMA would most probably have to suffer from army subjugation like all political parties. n the case of fresh elections, he MMA would most likely lose badly in comparison With its 2002 performance.

Ultimately, or the MMA the most probable outcome of the 2007-2008 elections, which will Be controlled by the PML, s a situation only marginally different from its present one. One of The scenarios proposed envisages a significant electoral gain for the Islamist coalition in the 2007 Election, although the MMA could gain some seats in Punjab and Sindh if Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto are prevented from running. it is even more difficult to realistically envisage the situation that could potentially lead to an Islamist takeover unless it was engineered by the regime itself (that is, y the political wing of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate), which would most Probably prove internationally counterproductive.

Policy implications
Whatever the prevailing scenario, the Islamic forces will be, ultimately, a dependent variable

Rather than a defining factor. In the months to come, the Musharraf regime is likely to try

To convince the international community otherwise with a strategy opposite from the one it

Successfully used in 2002.The MMA ?s success in the last general elections, following 9/11, as supposed to create the Impression of a gradual yet inexorable trend toward extremism. The strategy this time could be to use extremism to discredit political Islam. The multiplication of sectarian incidents and the authorization to some previously banned sectarian organizations, such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba, to hold public rallies, although under a new name, would be indicators of the government ?s willingness to use sectarian violence as an electoral tool. All over the country, sectarianism will contribute to creating an atmosphere of fear, demand for law and order, and a rejection of religious violence. Fortunately for the regime, the situation in Waziristan, here the army seems unable to prevent the rise of the Taliban, will reinforce the threat perception.

Having increased the threat perception, the military will try to generate a secular front, laying On the frustrations generated by the 2002 general elections. Local elections are any Indication; he should witness a resurgence of the local nationalist parties. The Awami National Party will resurface in the NWFP, and the MQM will be allowed to continue terrorizing its political opponents in Karachi and elsewhere in Sindh. The same card will be more difficult to play in Balochistan because of the nationalist insurrection, but the regime may be tempted to exploit the divisions between tribal and non tribal leaders by asking the National Party, on tribal organization, o join a vast anti-MMA coalition, t the same time making sure that the MMA gets enough seats in the provincial assembly to participate in the government. Overall, he PML-Q will get a majority and will be helped as much as necessary. The regional parties, however, will be there Essentially to add credibility to the PML-Q victory.

Incidentally, it will be essential for the success of this strategy that the two leaders of the

Mainstream opposition, nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, be prevented from running in the

Elections. The leader of the PPP and nawaz group in particular could constitute a real political threat for the regime Because the PPP remains the number one party in the country and nawaz group 2nd largest group in Pakistan. The regime will undoubtedly find allies in the regional parties and locally, with the MMA, because a too assertive PPP could engender

A backlash.

The MMA will not disappear from the political scene. Depending on the evolution of alliances, it could even end up in a position similar to where it stood in 2002. But even a poor electoral performance would not spark a political confrontation with the military. e MMA ?s limited, Yet real, popular support will make it essential for the army to assure itself that the MMA can be reactivated whenever necessary and can facilitate covert operations along the Afghan borders if need be. Politically, however, the MMA would likely return to its traditional position of opposition party with no other hope than being a catalyst for dissent and protest. Whatever the MMA ?s ultimate electoral fate, it should not be the determinant of the international community ?s tolerance for the violation of democracy in Pakistan. Despite the blatant rigging of the 2002 elections, he international community remained mute, accepting a military dictator who promised to fight political Islam and promote ?enlightened moderation ? but then did neither. Just as the MMA ?s relative success in the 2002 election should not have determined policy toward Pakistan at that time, either should the MMA ?s electoral defeat be the objective of any policy toward Pakistan in the coming months. Enouncing its own values will not serve the West but instead will reinforce the idea that the West applies a double standard when it comes to Islamic countries. The Main illness of Pakistan is not Islamism, but militarism.

The MMA and the 2002 Elections

The year 2007 will be crucial or the future of democracy n Pakistan. If the election schedule

Announced by Parliamentary Affairs minister Dr Sher Afghan Nazis followed, residential elections will e held in the fall and the general and provincial elections will be held in January 30, 2008. All these elections will be carefully scrutinized by many nds the United States and elsewhere, not east because they will include, among other political forces, coalition if religious political parties, the Muttahida majlis-e-Amal MMA). Many commentators in the West believe that he Pakistani regime will portray the elections s a contest between Islamists represented by the MMA and the enlightened moderation forces President Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistan Army. However, the reality is that the

Islamic forces will not be a defining factor. They are a dependent variable whose power s largely determined by the army. The only real questions are whether the army ?s tactics for manipulating the2007 ?2008 elections will differ from those used in 2002 and what role the Islamic parties ill play in the process.

The MMA emerged from the Pak-Afghan Defense Council, coalition of twenty-six Islamic

Organizations established in December 2000 to protest the decision by the United Nations to

Withdraw from Taliban-dominated Afghanistan. The council disbanded shortly after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. In January 2002, six of its major parties formed the MMA in order to participate in the general elections in October. e MMA comprises five Sunni organizations ?the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Maulana Fazlur Rehman faction, he Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Sami ul-Haq faction,

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, he Jamiat-i-Islami, and the Jamiat-al-Hadith ?along with the Shiite group, tehrik-i-Islami.

For many, he electoral success of the MMA in the 2002 general and provincial elections was

Both surprising and worrisome. It was, however, blessing for the regime. Supreme Court verdict of May 2, 2002 had required that elections be held to transition the country from military to civilian rule, but the elections for the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies were held with the clear understanding that real power would not be transferred to civilians. The military ?s authority and policies remained impervious to civilian challenge. Parliament had lost sovereignty under the Legal Framework Order (LFO) issued before the elections, which allowed the president to dissolve the National Assembly and created the National Security Council, on elected body intended to oversee the performance of the government.

The apparent rise of Islamist power in these elections distracted international actors from the key fact that little real democratization was occurring. Much of the international community, specially the United States, as grateful to have Musharraf remain in power behind a facade of civilian rule. Year after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the outcome of the elections could be construed as validating the perception that Islamism was a force to reckon with in Pakistan and that the military was the ultimate institution able to prevent the country from going down the path of a Taliban-style Islamic ?revolution.? 4

This perception was carefully cultivated by the Pakistan regime itself. Even the diplomatic

Community could not totally ignore the fact that the elections had been rigged in favor of the

Islamist parties, but the argument was soon refined. High-ranking officials started leaking the idea that yes, the Islamist victory in Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) had been partly engineered but the result had surpassed expectations, suggesting that uncontrollable Islamic forces could possibly be unleashed throughout the country if international pressures on Pakistan went too far. as a result, the regime got some breathing space from its ally, the United States.

The 2007 ?2008 elections will take place in a different context, both international and domestic. Pakistan is no longer perceived as a pariah state but as a key ally of the United States in the war against terror. Pakistan ?s economic situation has improved. as a result, the usefulness of the Islamist organizations for the regime has decreased, and their role will have to be assessed differently.

Although Pakistan appears much less fragile when it did seven years ago, democracy has hardly improved. The next elections will not change this situation. Or the military in general and President Musharraf in particular, the elections will be about consolidating their hold on power while maintaining a facade of democracy. Or the mainstream political forces, particularly the opposition parties such as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), the elections will be about keeping (or not keeping) he promises of democratization and the return of their exiled leaders, benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, respectively. Or the general population, the elections will be, as usual about living conditions and possibly another exercise in disillusionment.

And for the international community ?undoubtedly a stakeholder, though indirectly ?the elections will most likely be another moment of imagined tension between democracy and stability.

One group will be uncertain of its fate and direction: he Islamic forces. e current legislature,

Whose term is ending, as been a difficult one for them? Although officially in the opposition, the MMA soon discovered that by criticizing the government and then bargaining for compromises, it became a key supporter of the regime. In particular, the MMA was instrumental in having the LFO passed in Parliament. Even though the MMA protested against democracy restrictions, it always provided the military with whatever support was needed. The MMA also channeled popular Resentment when the government ?s actions did not match its rhetoric. e MMA was the pressure valve through which public frustration over contradictions in army policies could be released without risking true unrest because the MMA ultimately wanted to maintain the benefits of working with the government. yet, as soon as the MMA established the formal legitimacy of the Musharraf government and the constitutional changes it sought, he military stopped favoring it. For the MMA, the coming elections may well be a lose-lose situation; t might have to choose between marginalization and insignificance. Despite the supposed arbiter role that may eventually be attributed to the MMA by outside observers, t will be a dependent variable. it will no doubt retain some autonomy and try to enlarge its political space; however, it will most likely be able to do so only in the framework defined for it by the army. n no case will it be the master of its own destiny. The situation of the MMA raises some serious issues regarding the nature of the relationship between the Islamists and the military. The mutual attempt of each to make the best possible use of the other is obvious here. Historically, however, the military has always gained much more politically from the relationship than the Islamists, who have had to pay the price of an increased dependence on the army for whatever support they received on the jihad ?s regional battlefields. Delineating the process that led to this situation is the object of this paper. t seeks to identify not only the ideological evolution but also the tactical moves and eventual errors during the Musharraf period that led to the present domination of the MMA by the army. From there, t goes on to examine election and post election scenarios.

Religious political parties and he military: long-Term Trends and Tactical Mistakes

The MMA as generally considered the react victor n the 2002 provincial and general elections. Many described its electoral performance as a surge of fundamental Islam. As table 1 shows, however, the MMA received only 11.10 percent f the vote in he general lection, are behind the PPP of exiled former prime minister benazir bhutto (which received 25.001 percent),, the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League quaid-ii-Azam (PPML-Q, which received 4.81 percent),, and he PML-N of exiled former prime minister Nawaz sharif (11.23 percent).. The seat distribution was, therefore, surprising: the PML-Q emerged as the single largest party, with 77 seats, but the MA, despite winning only 11.10 percent of the vote, became the second-largest bloc, 53 seats out of 342 in he national Assembly.

MMA ?s gains stemmed partly from post election manipulations and the defections hey generated from the PPP, which ad initially gained 62 seats. More importantly, perhaps, the MMA as able to form the government in he two provinces ordering Afghanistan. Nds

Balochistan, it did share power with the PML-Q, but in the NWFP it was able to form government of its own.

Table 1. Breakdown, by Party, of voting and seats in the Pakistan General election, 2002

Party vote share of total seats

In million Vote%

PPP 7.39 25.01 62

PML-Q 7.33 24.81 77

PML-N 3.32 11.23 14

MMA 3.19 11.10 53

* The number of seats goes not include the reserved seats or women and minorities, which are apportioned according to the percentage of votes obtained in he general vote. Source: international crisis Group, Military, ICG Asia reports 49 Islamabad/Brussels:

International crisis Group, 2003), p. 7?18.

Several arguments have been proposed to explain the rise of the MMA in the 2002 elections.

Anti-Americanism was undoubtedly one factor ?and candidates in the NWFP used this theme most effectively, probably because the local population was sensitive to the fate of the Pashtuns in Afghanistan. Official propaganda against the political class as well as the strategy of undermining the credibility of prominent personalities was another.

4till another factor was the absence from the campaign of issues relevant to the real concerns of the people, which led to the depoliticization of large segments of the population and to voter apathy. With the exception of the post-9/11 situation in Afghanistan, these explanations were not new; neither are they sufficient to explain the results of the 2002 elections. The gradual loss of faith in electoral politics can be observed from the beginning of the 1990s, with voter turnout constantly 35.4 percent in 1997. By contrast, in 2002, voters showed a slightly greater interest in the election in every single province of the country.

6Manipulations preceding the elections, which were reported by the European Union Election

Observation Mission, offer a slightly different picture. According to the Election Observation

Mission ?s final report, all parties raised concerns regarding the delimitation of the constituencies and accused the Election Commission of Pakistan of diluting strongholds of parties opposing the regime while favoring parties supporting the regime. Serious concerns were also raised regarding the quality of the voters registered. the Election Observation Mission noted: The electoral process was marked by the introduction of a new set of qualification criteria for the nomination of candidates, some of which [were ] not in accordance with international standards or [were ] clearly targeting specific prominent politicians.? or example, university bachelor ?s degrees were required, but madrassa diplomas were considered equivalent. Is measure significantly advantaged the MMA, particularly in Balochistan, here some prominent nationalist leaders without university degrees were prevented from running in the election even though several had previously exercised the functions of governor or chief minister of the province. Rallies and the use of loudspeakers were forbidden during the entire campaign. The duration of the campaign itself was reduced to a minimum. These restrictions were applied selectively. Or example, the PML-N and the PPP were denied permission to organize rallies, but the MMA was allowed to. Moreover, because the MMA campaigned essentially in madrassas and mosques, in the context of its religious activities, it was

Relatively unaffected by the ban on rallies imposed by the military government.

Religious Political Parties and the military:

Long-term trends and tactical mistakes

The MMA had participated in the elections nds an anti-Musharraf platform, yet it was favored by the regime. The point here is not to suggest any hidden tension within the regime but to examine the nature of the alliance between the Islamists and the military. Is relationship is not the crossroads for two radically opposite worldviews: the Islamists see lower as a means to expands ideology, whereas the military sees ideology as tool to strengthen its power and nationalize its expansionism. Us, neither the existence of occasional meeting points or he prevalence of a preexisting tension should come as a surprise.

Examined from the military ?s perspective, the situation is obvious. Mohammed Waseem observes:

?The tussle over control of ideological power bases has been endemic to the politics of Pakistan.,? they also notes:

The ruling elite opted for Islam as an instrument of policy. it conceived religion as a

Counterweight to demands of leftist groups and ethnic parties to open up the state system to a wider section of the society. Under bureaucracy, and later the army, democratic framework based on a mass mandate as considered dysfunctional. Therefore the state elite used Islamic ideology and shaped its idiom. It sought to control ever more aspects of Islamic theory and practice, y passing legislation in the name of Shari at, assuming control Over madrasahs and shrines and influencing the growth patterns of Islamic groups and networks. But what one Pakistani author once qualified as ?Islam from the cantonment ?is no more than a means of legitimating the regime. It has been demonstrated elsewhere that supporting the Islamist parties is a way of both weakening the mainstream parties and allowing the military to remain the ultimate arbiter of all Pakistani politics on the domestic front. Robust Islamist alternative is also a convenient foreign policy tool for convincing the international community that the army alone can contain the threat that the Islamists were supposed to represent.

The motivations for this sometimes explicit but mostly implicit alliance are more enigmatic

From the perspective of the religious political parties. It is sometimes argued that the Islamic

establishment has reversed the relationship and has started to shape the political idiom according to its own preferences and politics. Or some, the emergence of the MMA as a serious power broker on the national scene in 2002 demonstrates the fact that now religion is seeking to define the state.? However, his does not mean that it can successfully do so. Pakistan ?s politics have turned the Islamic forces into a natural ally of the military, not necessarily into a peon of the army. In the contrary, it is the autonomy of the Islamic forces that makes their exploitation possible. Ultimately, two main factors shape the relation of the Islamist parties with the military: heir evolution toward what Olivier Roy qualifies as ?Islamic-nationalism,? that is, he combination of a pan-Islamist discourse with a practice that aims essentially at promoting the interest of the Pakistani state, received as the vector of the creation of the universal ummah and the relation of the Islamist parties to democracy. Ease two factors combine to define the Islamists ? sphere of autonomy and their convergence of interests.having captured seventy seats in the October 2002 election with the help og ISI and GHQ , NOW IN PAKISTAN RELATION BETWEEN ISI an lal masjid jihadie and now sectrian voilence in parachinar and situation in NORTHEN area is boiling see how ISI and GHQ is trying to destablise the country and help to creat a atshmospher of terror and show the worst picture of extermism so please help teh democartice force to re build peopl confidence in insitute and politician because they are least corrupt than army
USMAN KARIM BASED IN LAHORE lmno25@hotmail.com
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usman karim based in pakistan lmno25@hotmail.com
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