Making Sense of Pakistan in 2009

Posted on December 28, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll, Economy & Development, Politics, Society
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Adil Najam

Around this time last year we had two ATP Polls to ponder on what 2009 had in store for Pakistan.

The first poll asked readers to identify the events from 2008 that they believed would have the greatest impact on Pakistan’s 2009. The second poll asked them to identify the predictions for 2009 that were most likely to come true.

Reviewing these two posts today – and revisiting the views of our readers a year ago – makes for interesting reading as we begin thinking about what 2010 has in store for Pakistan and what the key trends of 2009 were. We invite you to revisit what you said a year ago and share with us what you think were the key trends of 2009 that will define Pakistan’s 2010.

Interestingly, many of our readers were right in defining which trends from 2008 would define Pakistan’s 2009. For example, in the poll with 405 respondents (multiple answers allowed):

  • 59% of those who responded believed that “continuing terrorism, civil violence and militancy” would be the event from 2008 that would have the greatest impact on Pakistan in 2009. They were correct.
  • The second most identified trend was that “Pakistan’s economic, energy and food crises” would define Pakistan’s 2009. 45% of the respondents in December 2008 identified this. They, too, were correct.
  • The third most common answer came from the 42% of the readers who thought that the “rise of Talibanization and extremism” would be the trend from 2008 that would define Pakistan’s 2009. This was even more horribly true than imagined.
  • At the fourth slot were the 25% readers, each, that chose “military action in Pakistan’s Northern regions” and “the political rise of Asif Ali Zardari” as the trend to keep an eye on.
  • Interestingly, the “lingering judicial crisis” was the choice that received the least votes – 13% – and, yet, we end 2009 with the repercussions that that crisis holding the full attention of all political pundits.

More interestingly, the second poll asked a more pointed question – predictions fro 2009 – in this case, the 558 respondents (multiple answers allowed) had a more mixed record:

  • The most popular prediction from our readers – 41% believing that “the PPP government at the Center” would fall – has turned out to be wrong. At least till now.
  • The second most popular prediction – 34% believing that Justice Dogar would be removed as Chief Justice – did, however, turn out to be true.
  • 26% each thought that “Martial law (or equivalent) [would be] reimposed” and that “Gen. Musharraf [would] re-enter the political scene” … neither of these has yet transpired.
  • The 25% who thought that “Pakistan stock markets [would] rebound” were not incorrect, although the rebounce has been less than entirely spectacular.
  • However, the 24% who predicted that “the PML(N) government in the Punjab [would] fall” nor the 21% who felt that the “MQM-PPP coalition in Sindh [would] collapse” were also not vindicated.
  • Oddly, in retrospect, only 17% thought that “Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry [would be] reinstated as Chief Justice.”
  • Also of note is that only 10% thought that the “Taliban insurgency in Northern regions [would be] suppressed.”
  • While Pakistan did win the T20 World Cup in 2009, at the end of 2008 only 10% of the poll respondents had predicted that “Pakistan [would] become a dominant cricket power again.”
  • The one prediction that our readers were clearly correct on was drone attacks by the US: only 7% had predicted that these would end in 2009!

The prediction record of our poll respondents was, obviously, less than stellar. But, then, Pakistan is not an easy place to make predictions about.

What do you, our readers at the end of 2009, think about how the events of 2009 will impact Pakistan’s 2010?

15 responses to “Making Sense of Pakistan in 2009”

  1. Omar Jamil says:

    2010 will be great if Bilawal BHUTTO Zardari is crowned as the emperor- a lot of ambiguity will be cleared.Afterall,Pakistanis miss their Royal History.

  2. Yaqoob says:

    Actually, when I look at what the readers predicted and what happened, 2009 was a better year for Pakistan than many feared in everything except terrorism. Certainly, politically it was not a bad year at all: A democratic govt is still in place, the military is still out and the judiciary is independent. How is that bad?

  3. Tariq Khan says:

    Adil & Owais, Once again you make us proud for saying the right thing at the right time. thank you and THANK YOU pak police. Every time I see your members at the barricades in islamabad and other cities on my frquent visits i want to say thank you. You make it possible for the rest of us to have a semblance of s0me normality to our daily lives in Pakistan and you enable us to carry out the little work we can do to uplift the lot of the man in the street. recently when i was in pakistan to attend the org annual meeting of the Human Dev Foundation in islamabad and the the site visits to our program areas in karachi , shamsabad in sind , the out skirts of islamabad and in mardan it was the police which made it possible. thank you my friends . tariq Khan

  4. Giest4life says:

    How can we expect 2010 to be different when we tread on the very same path that lead us to the fiasco in 2009?

  5. Noman says:

    I hope 2010 will turn out to be better but have a fear that it will be same

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