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Kidnapping and Chaos Ahead of Pakistan’s Election


Unknown gunmen kidnapped the son of former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani at a political rally today. Ali Haider Gilani’s secretary and guard were killed in the attack.

The Pakistani Taliban and other radical groups have waged a deadly campaign during election season; 110 people have been killed in April alone. The attacks have disproportionally targeted those political parties they deem too secular and too kind to “heretics” or to the wrong ethnicity. They have not targeted, for instance, the party of Imran Khan, who advocates shooting down American drones in northwest Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif’s party, the PML-N, has also escaped unscathed so far.

Gilani’s kidnapping rightly made headline news today but it obscures the fact that Pakistan’s upcoming election, the first ever peaceful transition of one civilian administration to another, is hardly a triumph in a country where many of the politicians on the ballot are criminals, some are terrorists, most are corrupt and selfish, and the country itself is a mess, bereft of responsible leaders in the civilian or military elite. Nawaz Sharif is expected to be the next prime minister but his party awarded two party tickets to people convicted by the Supreme Court of leading a mob that trashed the Court in 1997; 55 charged terrorists, meanwhile, are on the PML-N ballot in Punjab province.

This “peaceful,” “democratic” election so far doesn’t seem to hold much promise for Pakistan’s future.

[Pakistan flag image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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