ATP Poll: Musharraf Gets Elected, Then What?

Posted on October 4, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll, People, Politics
67 Comments
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Adil Najam
Over the last few days we have resisted posts about the recent political machinations in Pakistan. This is despite the fact pseudo-news pours in ever-more ferociously and ever-more sensationally from Pakistan. Literally by the hour.

Pakistan After Musharraf Poll

This is pseudo-news not only because everything is sensationalized and exaggerated with bombastic Ministers, protesting lawyers, baton-charging policemen, and dumbstruck awam. It is pseudo-news because despite the truly historic nature of what is unfolding, there is little that anyone can seem to do about anything. Events unfold as if they were totally disconnected with public sentiment. As if all the noise is just background accompaniment. In the long run, this can never be. But that is what it seems like right now.

Discussion seems to be of little use. So little that it merely causes further aggravation. Since analysis does not matter, it is swiftly replaced by slogans (naara-baazi). Look at the TV talk shows, read the op-eds, or scan the comments in our previous posts (or the posts themselves). The same people keep repeating the same points over and over again. On all sides. And since no one is really trying to convince anyone of anything – nor has the hope to do so – the arguments get increasingly more futile, ever more heated, and ever more prone to naara-baazi. Our comments section are a testimony to this frustration. This is frustration that you also see on the streets of Pakistan. Frustration that comes from the belief that you are not being heard. That you will not be heard no matter what you do or say. You shout ever louder and repeat yourself ever more ferociously, as if the merit of an argument is to be measured by the decibel or as if things will become more believable if you repeat them more loudly. Since no one is trying to convince anyone of anything anyhow, the best you can do is to try to get in the last word.

Discussion seems to be of little use. So little that it merely causes further aggravation. Since analysis does not matter, it is swiftly replaced by slogans (naara-baazi). Look at the TV talk shows, read the op-eds, or scan the comments in our previous posts (or the posts themselves). The same people keep repeating the same points over and over again. On all sides. And since no one is really trying to convince anyone of anything – nor has the hope to do so – the arguments get increasingly more futile, ever more heated, and ever more prone to naara-baazi.

Our comments section are a testimony to this frustration. This is frustration that you also see on the streets of Pakistan. Frustration that comes from the belief that you are not being heard. That you will not be heard no matter what you do or say. You shout ever louder and repeat yourself ever more ferociously, as if the merit of an argument is to be measured by the decibel or as if things will become more believable if you repeat them more loudly. Since no one is trying to convince anyone of anything anyhow, the best you can do is to try to get in the last word.It is of little use, right now, to do yet another post on the Presidential elections or to invite people to vent the same frustrations yet again, and again, and again. Venting can be useful, but onlyto a point. Please, spare us your comments on just how good Gen. Musharraf has been for Pakistan’s economy or just how bad the military is. These points have been made too many times already in the comments, and frankly, if others have not been convinced of your viewpoint on this yet (whatever your viewpoint), then repeating it one more time will really make no difference. It will only waste our bandwidth.

Let us try, instead, to push into more analytically fertile territory. Let us try, at least, to think beyond the slogans about the even larger political questions confronting us. Barring some really big surprise, it seems a fair assumption that Gen. Musharraf will get himself elected as President. Right now, we do not want to hear whether you think it is a good thing or not. Most of you have already made your positions on this clear already. As have we. We want to hear instead on what do you think will happen next? And why? Will things calm down or worsen? And, again, why? Why is the really important analytical question.

To assist in catalyzing such a discussion, we have devised a two part ATP Opinion Poll.

Q1. Assuming that Gen. Musharraf will get himself elected as President, what do you think is most likely to happen next?
Q2. One year from today, what do you think would be the level of Gen. Musharraf’s political power?

Again, and please, spare us the slogans. Give us your analysis. We understand and share the frustrations that give rise to the slogans, but let us at least try to make something better of this discussion. If you really feel like abusing and shouting, there are plenty of other places to do so. Here, lets focus on analysis. That means, the ‘why’ questions.

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67 responses to “ATP Poll: Musharraf Gets Elected, Then What?”

  1. Rafay Kashmiri says:

    The worst enthusiaism ever seen, just empty vessels,
    no joy or pride, its a shame for Pakistan’s history,
    insurgency in the North will take its toll.

  2. Adil Najam says:

    THIS POLL IS NOW CLOSED.
    The results are presented here. Please post your comments on the results here.

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