Yup, it's election day here in ol' Pakistan. Or so we are told in the newspapers. I was driving aorund with Uzee today and we saw no sign of unusual activity anywhere, for better or for worse. Election posters, crowds, demonstrations? Nope. Not too surprising maybe, given that only members of the provincial assemblies can vote. It's sort of like asking the state legislatures to pick the president: it leaves the ordinary voter out of the loop, somewhat.
The bigger problem is that the candidates are all bogus. Musharraf is a military dictator propped up by the US ($9 billion since 2001), who routinely does things like harrass journalists and arrest his opposition. (Meanwhile the US tells the military dictators in Myanmar they should stop harrassing journalists and arresting the opposition. Better still, just leave. Hmm.) Benazir is a joke, convicted by a Swiss court in absentia of having millions of dollars filched from Pakistan stashed in Swiss bank accounts; she faced multiple corruption charges in Pakistan till they were swept away at the behest of Musharraf, who did so at the behest of--what a surprise!--the US, who needed the country to adopt a veneer of "democracy" so that it could go on foisting billions onto a dictator willing to carry out its war in Afghanistan and Pakistan's NWFP. Does anybody want to vote for these clowns? No.
Sadly, the alternative, Nawaz Sharif, is no less corrupt than Benazir and anyway has been exiled from the country by Moosh, and that leaves only the scary fundo freaks of the MMA, and Imran Khan, who doesn't say much except "Musharraf must go!" and who has anyway allied himself with the scary fundos. It's all fairly depressing.
Moosh will "win" because the US wants him to. Benazir will go along for the ride because she wants power at any price. The country will continue to fester and people will be furious because of a lack of democratic expression. Smug conservatives in the west will point to this anger and say: "That's why they hate us! Because they hate freedom." (See also Iran, 1953-1979)
Funny but sad, or vice versa: It was in the paper today that polling stations would provide pencils to mark the voting ballots. Pencils. Think about it. So members of the provincial assemblies shouldn't bother to bring a pen or anything. Pencils will be provided. Just put an X next the the candidate's picture and then put it in the box. Pencils.
It all makes me want to start reading comic books again. Hey, there's a future topic for this blog: Comic books! I guess they call them graphic novels these days. What ever, man.