UPDATE: The picture on the left, published in Daily Times, comes with the caption:
“Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, PML-Q President Shujaat Hussain and MNAs react to an announcement by the Election Commissioner (unseen), at Parliament on Saturday. President Pervez Musharraf won a landslide victory in the election but the official results will be declared after the Supreme Court verdict on his eligibility.“
Maybe our readers can suggest what some of the people here are thinking as they clap. Suggestively, some, you will note, are making too much of an effort to clap, and others too little! The picture is also a good compliment to an earlier one we had posted here.
ORIGINAL POST: It is neither a surprise nor really news that Gen. Musharraf just got himself elected. It was always clear that he would get himself elected by hook or crook; eventually it took a bit of both. The way it had to be done is sad – pathetic really – and no one has come out of this mess looking good. Gen. Musharraf got the votes he needed, but neither he nor anyone else is a winner.
Gen. Musharraf lost whatever little credibility he might have had as someone interested in Pakistan’s development or people’s aspirations. He also lost the ability to make the claim that he was any different or any less power-hungry than his political predecessors. He is now, clearly, one of them and has lost the one thing that had given him a support base. Benazir Bhutto lost the principles her party and father might once have stood for. PML(Q) had little to loose and yet lost big, they may even loose the government. Nawaz Sharif had already lost out some weeks ago. Maulana Fazlur Rehman had already lost all credibility but now they can’t even pretend to have any left. The Supreme Court lost at least some of the public goodwill they had gained as an institution with last minute shenanigans. America lost too because instead of backing one bad bet (Musharraf) they are now backing two (Musharraf + Benazir Bhutto).
Frankly, there is little need or point in commenting on the sham elections today. This was not a news event, this was a scripted stage drama. The real question remains what will happen next. There, it seems, that all of the losers – including Gen. Musharraf – may be confronted with some unexpected turn of events. There, one continues to hope, the people of Pakistan may yet emerge as winners eventually. Whenever ‘eventually’ comes!