After the Vote in Pakistan

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Call it democracy, Pakistan style. Campaigns, voting booths, and what election observers call “unjustified interference with the process,” shootouts among rivals, and a misuse of state broadcasts.

The White House says it’s “an important milestone in Pakistan’s ongoing transition to democracy.” Perhaps only in the sense the people there are voting again. As for the result, it’s probably not quite the milestone Washington wanted.

For the first time in Pakistan’s history, Islamic parties have won a majority of seats in two of the nation’s four provinces as well as greater strength in parliament, yet many voters there say it’s about more than religion. They call it an indictment of America’s “War on Terror.”


Owen Bennett Jones, former BBC correspondent in Islamabad and author of “Pakistan: The Eye of the Storm”