Sunday 12 May 2013

Taliban 0 – Infidels 1

Gratifying news from Pakistan. Despite threats from the Taliban, there was a large turnout in Saturday’s election. This will also be Pakistan’s first transition from one elected government to another.

The victor, Nawaz Sharif, is not exactly a paragon of virtue. But the bravery and determination of Pakistani voters is something to applaud. They defied Taliban threats and turned out at considerable risk to their own safety – in the run-up to the election, more than 100 people died in election-related violence.

What can the Taliban possibly find objectionable about democratic elections? Reuters reported:
Gunmen kidnapped the son of a former Pakistani prime minister on Thursday as a letter from the leader of the Pakistani Taliban revealed plans for suicide bomb attacks on election day.
Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, in a message to the group’s spokesman, outlined plans for the attacks, including suicide blasts, in all four of the country’s provinces on polling day on Saturday.
“We don’t accept the system of infidels which is called democracy,” Mehsud said in the letter, dated May 1, and obtained by Reuters on Thursday.
So that’s it. Democracy is a system of infidels. That probably explains why liberal politicians were most at risk. The BBC reported:
The Pakistani Taliban threatened to carry out suicide attacks ahead of the election. They have been blamed for numerous attacks throughout the campaign on Pakistan’s three most prominent liberal parties.
The PPP along with the Karachi-based Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP) were singled out for threats, and were forced to curtail their campaigning as a result.
The Taliban is a source of much paranoia in the West, so an important fact is forgotten. The Taliban is deeply unpopular even in Islamic countries. The people of these countries are young, increasingly educated and urban, and have similar aspirations to young people elsewhere. The last thing they want is to be pushed back into the Middle Ages.

Today, the Pakistani Taliban must be feeling even more devastated than Manchester City supporters. At least City supporters can drown their sorrows with a few pints.


  1. "The Taliban is a source of much paranoia in the West, so an important fact is forgotten. The Taliban is deeply unpopular even in Islamic countries."

    Sadly, the Taliban run the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. When the votes in Pakistan are counted, the wishes of FATA people, all three million of them, are unlikely to be counted. Assuming that any were fairly cast.

    Election observers can say "this looks all right" but it isn't all right. 3 million Pakistanis are governed by revolting people.

  2. Except that the parties which did well were those who the Taliban declared an amnesty towards, not threatening to attack their rallies etc. Those parties not in that position effectively couldn't campaign.


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