Monday, February 18, 2008

A Quick And Dirty Analysis Of The Results So Far

We know the following things so far:

1. The PPP will have a plurality in the National Assembly, and will form the government in Sindh. It will form coalition governments in Balochistan and perhaps Punjab, depending on how the rural areas of southern Punjab go.

2. The PML-N will have the second-most seats behind the PPP in the National Assembly. It figures to form the provincial government in Punjab (if the as-yet uncounted areas go its way and/or a bunch of PML-Q people shift allegiances after the trouncing they have received).

3. The PML-Q is done and dusted.

4. The ANP figures to form the provincial government in NWFP.

Now...

If what AKS says is true (i.e. Nawaz Sharif has offered the PPP a role in Punjab as well as its support in the NA in return for Aitzaz Ahsan being nominated for PMship and the PPP's support for a policy of impeaching Mush and restoring the pre-November 3rd judiciary), then we think we know the following things.

1. Imran Khan's political career is, if not over, then at least struck a serious blow. Remember Imran hung his hat on the fact that he was the only one fighting a "principled" fight, the only one fighting for the judges and democracy, and that until the pre-November 3rd status quo wasn't restored, elections meant nothing. The PML-N has undercut that stance, by contesting elections and taking Imran's stance on the judges and Mush. Whether or not the PPP agrees to Nawaz's proposal is irrelevant when one solely considers Imran Khan, who's now (a) out of the loop, and (b) has nothing left to hang his hat on.

2. The PPP leadership has a very interesting decision to make. Its presumptive candidate for the PMship was Makhdoom Amin Fahim, more pragmatic and willing to deal with Musharraf on a variety of issues. The PML-N has upped the stakes and essentially asked the PPP to make a decision on which it has been waffling for over 12 months now: whose side, the PML-N is asking the PPP, are you really on?

3. The MMA, like the Q-League, is done, at least for now. Already torn apart at the seams by pre-election differences by the major factions, the JUI and JI (one wishing to boycott the elections and the other not), it has now been dealt serious blows by the ANP in NWFP, the PPP in Balochistan, and the MQM in Karachi. There is a lesson here for political observers: artificial constructs, which both the Q-League and the MMA were, cannot survive strife.

4. If (and this is a massive if) the PPP jumps on the anti-Mush bandwagon with the PML-N, then I simply don't see a peaceful way for Mush to stay in power. Either he rides off into the sunset, or he tries to force the issue and violently interfere in the political process. The million-rupee question is: how will the army react to any orders to suppress dissent and protest on the streets?

To round off this discussion, a few unanswered questions:

1. Why is the PML-N being so conciliatory toward the PPP? Is this tactical or strategic? In other words, is this a short-term ploy to achieve some set of nebulous aims, or does the PML-N actually mean what they're saying? Is the PML-N actually willing to undercut the chances of a Javed Hashmi or a Shahbaz Sharif becoming PM? What are they up to?

2. Does anyone outside the PPP trust Asif Zardari? How many people within the PPP trust Asif Zardari?

3. Are we going to have to see a PPP-MQM squabble in Sindh? Is this a healthy prospect?

Stay tuned, folks. I get the feeling this party has only just started.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was skeptical of this election but I see 3 good things coming out of it so far:
1) Musharraf and PML-Q can't possibly be in any delusions about their popularity anymore. Well you never know with their track record ...

2) MMA is pretty non-existent

3) AA could possibly be the PM candidate. possibly.

asfand said...

Watching MMA being trounced by ANP has made me as giddy as a 12 year old whose just seen a topless Enrique Iglesias.

I'm a pathan and spent 4 years under those effete twats in Peshawar and their rally speeches leading up the '02 election were incredible to listen to (i.e america evil islam fantastic sharia law is god's will blah blah).

We'll have to wait and see regarding the ANP, but there seems to still be a significant PPP element there, so maybe we won't get a ridiculously nationalistic ANP government.

The Aitzaz Ahsan and PML-N - what are you upto? questions are really interesting. If Aitzaz Ahsan is put up by the PPP (providing he agrees ofcourse), wouldn't that just mean a stalemate for a while because I doubt he'll be particularly amused at working with Mushy.

And where will PML-N's support go after lets say, Mush dutifully resigns and goes to live in the Maldives? Surely they cannot be in love with the PPP from then on.

With Makhdoom Fahim Amin, atleast we'll get a country that'll be 'running' and stable. Might mean living with Mush for a couple more years, but maybe we'll have the post 2000 relatively sane Mushy rather than the nutjob belligerent and out-of-touch-with-reality Mushy of the past 2 odd years...