BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 11 October, 2002, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Pakistan's political future takes shape
MMA leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed
Islamists had the clearest-cut message

After three years of military rule Pakistanis are still being forced to wait to hear the final outcome of Thursday's elections for the national and provincial parliaments.


Once the parliament is in place, President Musharraf may find it difficult to control elected members who can say they have a mandate from the people of Pakistan

Opposition parties have criticised what they say is the inexplicable delay between the end of voting and the announcement of the first result which came several hours later.

But certain trends have clearly emerged. The biggest shock was the success of the alliance of religious parties, the Muttahida Majlis-e- Amal (MMA).

They probably had the clearest-cut message of any party during the campaign - against the American operations in Afghanistan and President Musharraf's support for the war on terror.

Breakthrough

This was particularly popular in the North West Frontier Province which borders Afghanistan - where the MMA will also dominate the provincial assembly. The alliance has also been able to capitalise on the country's power vacuum and the divided opposition.

Benazir Bhutto
Bhutto remains in self-imposed exile
The leader of one of the religious parties, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, called it a breakthrough. He said his party was a force for the future.

It had been predicted that the election would be a close fight between the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e Azam) - PML(Q) - which supports President Musharraf, and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) led by the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

They are set to end up as the two parties with the most seats. However it is now clear that no party will be able to get a majority in parliament and whoever is looking to take power will need to build a coalition first.

A spokesman for the PML (Q) said their party would be quite comfortable working with the religious parties. But the PPP would find that difficult and is more interested in holding talks with another party led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

'Unfair advantage'

Although there have been no major complaints about the voting day itself - there were widespread allegations about pre-poll rigging which have been denied by the government.

Opposition parties said President Musharraf had used state machinery to help the PML (Q) while changing the election rules to ensure Benazir Bhutto could not stand in the polls.

Nawaz Sharif
The People's Party is seeking talks with Sharif's supporters
She remains in self-imposed exile in London and Dubai, saying she would like to return but that the country is at a sensitive stage.

Commonwealth election observers reported that while the actual voting was for the most part transparent - their particular concerns were about allegations of government influence to favour certain parties.

President Musharraf has said he will transfer power to the new prime minister at the beginning of next month. But questions remain over his future role. He has already given himself the power to dismiss parliament - and introduced a powerful national security council with a strong military element.

But once the parliament is in place, he may find it difficult to control elected members who can say they have a mandate from the people of Pakistan.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Rahimullah Yusufzai, editor The News
"The alliance leaders are saying they want to reconsider Pakistan's co-operation with the US over the war against terrorism"
Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

11 Oct 02 | South Asia
10 Oct 02 | South Asia
09 Oct 02 | South Asia
08 Oct 02 | South Asia
08 Oct 02 | South Asia
08 Oct 02 | South Asia
10 Oct 02 | Media reports
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes