December 22, 2007


Pakistan's Islamic Parties Struggling: 5 Years After Win, Backers Frustrated (Griff Witte, 12/23/07, Washington Post)

In 2002, Ibrar Hussein voted for an Islamic takeover.

Fed up both with Pakistan's military-led government and with the mainstream, secular opposition, Hussein decided that religious leaders should be given a chance to improve living conditions in this sprawling frontier city.

But five years after support from people like Hussein propelled the Islamic parties to power in the provincial government -- and to their strongest-ever showing nationally -- the 36-year-old shopkeeper is rethinking his choice.

"You can see the sanitation system here," Hussein said, pointing with disgust to a ditch in front of his shop where a stream of greenish-brown sludge trickled by. "People were asking for clean water, and they didn't get it. We were very hopeful. But the mullahs did nothing for us."

Hussein's disenchantment is just one reason why, with Pakistan on the eve of fresh parliamentary elections, the religious parties are struggling to appeal to voters.

Crazy can't survive electoral politics.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 22, 2007 5:05 PM

It doesn't help when they blow up mosques and kill fellow muslims either (Pakistan Bombing Kills at Least 50) It is fortunate that their fanaticism leads them to violate the basic rule of guerilla warfare: don't terrorize the indigenous people, but get your enemy to do so.

Posted by: jd watson at December 22, 2007 9:43 PM