Mark Gregson wrote:

> > The first of my "prognostications" has come true: Islamic
> > fundamentalists have won the Pakistani election:
> No, fundamentalists have not won the election.  Read the whole article and then read 
>some other news reports.  Fundamentalists have not won the election and will not 
>control the government.

I said they'd win a majority of the seats set aside for general election, and that 
they have done, both in regional and in the national parliament. But I also said it 
wouldn't make any difference
because Mussharaf is still the military dictator and has the power to dismiss the PM 
and parliament. This just increases the pressure on the situation, which was my point.

In any case, let's go through the article point by point:

1. "A coalition of pro-Taliban parties  won control of a provincial legislature near 
the Afghan border Friday, the first solid results from Pakistan's election. Vote 
counting for the national
parliament was moving slowly."  This is one of four regional parliaments which 
includes the Northwest Frontier, a Taliban stronghold.

2. "For the first time since a 1999 coup, Pakistanis voted Thursday in elections the 
military government hailed as a historic return to democratic rule and the opposition 
denounced as a
stage-managed sleight of hand to mask resident Gen. Pervez Musharraf's firm grip on 
power.." Both Pakistan and the US are portraying this as a transition to democracy. 
Some (and I'm one of them)
believe it will not lead in the short run to Musharraf's fall (although eventually it 
will, but some other things have to happen first).

3. "Musharraf - an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism - has created a 
military-controlled National Security Council that will vet all national policy 
decisions. He has also granted himself
the  power to sack the prime minister and dissolve parliament, rendering the vote 
little more than window-dressing for continued military rule." As above.

4. I predicted that Islamic fundamentalists would gain control over the national 
parliament in Islamabad. I had in mind a majority of those seats available for it to 
run for. That hasn't quite
happened, but they are going to play a pivotal role, controlling whatever ruling 
coalition wins, so I think I'm right for the wrong reason (and in any case this 
represents an increase in
fundamentalist support): "The religious parties also were surprisingly strong in the 
National Assembly, Pakistan's lawmaking lower house of Parliament.  With returns 
trickling in, the religious
alliance looked like it could emerge as a key partner in any coalition government in 
the center."

5. The situation as of last night in Islamabad: "But vote counting for the National 
Assembly was slow and by early Friday only 40 of the 272 general seats in the federal 
Parliament were confirmed.
Of those, the religious alliance already  had 14 seats, including one in the federal 
capital of Islamabad."

I haven't even looked at the Globe this morning.

> My prediction: when vote counting is complete the fundamentalists will not have the 
>swing votes. (Not that it would matter if they did, since Musharraf has veto power 
>and dismissal power, too ).
> > When the military dictatorship there falls, we will be facing an Islamic
> > fundamentalist nuclear power.
> Why are you so sure that the dictatorship will fall?  It's in a semi-transitional 
>phase right now, so by definition it cannot actually fall.

I don't see it transitioning in the least.

> =========  Mark Gregson  [EMAIL PROTECTED]  =========
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Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling 
short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."
--Michelangelo Buonarroti

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely; 
its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the authorís employer, nor those of 
any organization with which
the author may be associated.

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