Carnegie Paper on 2007-2008 Elections

A political crisis is Pakistan is looming. Widening civil unrest in the Balochistan province, pressure to perform in the US-led war on terror, and increasing unease about President Musharraf’s future plans raise questions about next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The year 2007 will be crucial for the future of democracy in Pakistan.
In a new Carnegie Paper, Islam, Militarism, and the 2007–2008 Elections in Pakistan, Visiting Scholar Frédéric Grare argues that the army, not Islamic forces, will be the deciding factor in this election. The 2002 elections showed a nominal rise in power for Islamic forces but, in reality, little progress was made for democracy. To read this Carnegie Paper, go to

Assuming elections are on schedule, presidential elections as well as general and provincial elections will happen in the fall. The Pakistani regime—and many commentators in the West— will portray the elections as a contest between Islamists, represented by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), and the enlightened moderation of General Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistani Army. However, in reality, the only question is how the army’s tactics to manipulate the 2007-2008 elections will differ from those used in the past, and the role Islamic parties will play in the process. Will the next elections restore faith in electoral politics and finally bring democracy to Pakistan?

Grare’s paper seeks to identify not only the ideological evolution but also the tactical moves and eventual errors during the Musharraf period that resulted in the present domination of the MMA by the army and other civilian challenges to the military regime. It continues to look into different electoral scenarios and concludes by pointing out not only the true illness in Pakistan but also the strategic importance of restoring democracy in Pakistan.

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Frédéric Grare is a visiting scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment. His work focuses on the tension between stability and democratization in Pakistan. He has written extensively on security issues, Islamist movements, and sectarian conflict in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Grare is coeditor of India, China, Russia: Intricacies of an Asian Triangle (India Research Press, 2005).

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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