So it seems Pakistan’s elections will be postponed after all. On the surface, this is another depressing development following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. However, after watching the TV footage of burnt out vehicles littering the streets, I wonder if a short period to restore calm could make for ‘better’ elections in the long run. Clearly Pervez Musharraf will remain under pressure to deliver order, and elections, very soon.
One bug-bear of mine is the way Nawaz Sharif is referred to by the media. He is typically referred to as “opposition leader” or “former Prime Minister”. He is both those things, but he is also the deposed Prime Minister of Pakistan, the last person to win a democratic election. An incumbent of sorts!
The circumstances of President Musharraf’s rise to power, while never forgotten, have been given the sheen of legitimacy after his assistance with the War On Terror. However, the primary issue in Pakistani politics is now the restoration of democracy. I am no fan of Sharif’s political record and I hope he loses the elections when they are held. But it is well worth emphasising just who is the deposer, and who is the deposee in this dynamic.
Interestingly, Nawaz Sharif’s statement today called for a restoration of the constitution to its 1973 version. This despite his attempts, some successful, to amend that constitution!