Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Nepalese Choice: Is This Possible in Pakistan?

Pakistanis have had to choose between the military dictators and the familiar corrupt politicians for all of their 60 years of history. They have gone back and forth between these two choices. This year, they have chosen the familiar corrupt politicians after suffering many indignities and food and electricity crises of last year. Not only have Pakistanis rejected the military rule, they have also rejected the Islamic parties who made significant gains in 2002 elections, right after the US bombing of Afghanistan with Pakistan's assistance. Besides the Islamic parties whom they have just handed a major defeat, do Pakistanis have a another choice? Is there a force lurking within Pakistan that could suddenly rise up as a viable alternative?

Contrary to expectations of most observers, Nepal has voted such a force into power. Charles Haviland of the BBC reports that "Nepal has been rocked by an electoral thunderbolt. As the Maoists surge towards victory in the elections to a constitutional assembly, even some of their leaders have expressed surprise at its apparent scale."

If Pakistanis continue to be ill-served by their rulers as they have been, is the Nepal scenario likely to play out in Pakistan? Probably not. Is it possible. I think it is. Only time will tell.

1 comment:

Riaz Haq said...

Chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” on Saturday warned India not to interfere in Nepal's internal matters, according to a report in the Hindu:

Addressing thousands of party cadre here on the occasion of May Day, Mr. Prachanda said: “If India thinks that by backing Madhav Kumar Nepal, it will make everything all right; if it thinks that it now holds the command of Nepal Army and the Army would do whatever it says; and that the Maoists want to kill Nepali people, then the Indian leaders are making a mistake. We appeal them not to make this mistake.”

He said the party cadre had gathered to protect Nepal's sovereignty. The Maoists say the CPN (UML)-led government is “remote-controlled” and is a “puppet” of India.
Stance changed

Mr. Prachanda said the government's stance changed after Mr. Nepal's visit to Thimphu, Bhutan, where Mr. Nepal met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He pointed out a recent announcement that the Nepal Army could be mobilised to control the Maoist movement. “I believe you would not listen to a voice that came redirected from Thimphu,” he told the gathering.