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International | Government & Elections

Pakistan Elections Insignificant: Analysts
by IOL (reposted)
Friday Dec 28th, 2007 7:26 AM
ISLAMABAD — The assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and the boycott of former premier Nawaz Sharif of next month's parliamentary elections have complicated Pakistan's already fraught internal politics and rendered the polls highly insignificant, Pakistani political analysts said Friday, December 28.
"I will say there is no chance of elections now. Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N)) too has joined hands with pro-boycott parties, and Bhutto's Pakistan's People Party (PPP) is busy in mourning meetings instead of election meetings," Dr Jabbar Khattak, a Karachi-based political analyst, told IslamOnlien.net.

"Elections already had no credibility in the eyes of masses because all the opposition parties were crying against pre-poll rigging. But after, this incident, there is no significance of elections."

Bhutto, who served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996, was mortally wounded Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi.

In protest at her assassination, Sharif pulled his party out of the election race and left elections in the doldrums.

"Mr Sharif’s boycott is the last straw at camel’s back. The PML(N) is one of the two major political parties of Pakistan. Without Nawaz Sharif, who enjoys a tangible public support, elections will have no significance," said Irfan Siddiqui, an Islamabad-based senior political analyst.

The elections were expected to be a three-way contest among the parties led by Bhutto; Sharif and Musharraf.

Most observers saw the elections resulting in some sort of power-sharing agreement between Bhutto and Musharraf, with her as prime minister.

Non-conducive

Caretaker Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro announced Friday that the elections will be held as planned, but added that any decision regarding postponement of the polls would be taken in consultation with all political parties.

But Analysts say the current circumstances do not create a conducive atmosphere for free and well-organized elections.

"There are very dim chances that elections will be held as per schedule now. It doesn’t matter even if the interim government is still assuring that polls will be held as per schedule," said Siddiqui.

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