Monday, February 25, 2008

The Pashtun "Red Shirts" Trounce The Jihadis At The Polls

Barnett Rubin blasts the persistent Rudyard Kipling stereotypes of the great Pashtun people:

In the couple of weeks before the February 18 elections in Pakistan, attacks by presumed “Taliban” killed over 140 Pashtuns in Kandahar (Afghanistan) and over 25 Pashtuns in Charsadda (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan). After the elections they attacked a Pashtun wedding in Swat and killed 14 people, including the bride. Despite (or because of) this terror, the predominantly Pashtun electorate of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province marginalized the pro-Taliban political parties in the February 18 elections. The staunchly anti-Taliban Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party will dominate NWFP's delegation to the national parliament and will form the next government of the NWFP in alliance with the PPP; the two parties control 60 percent of the seats in the NWFP Legislative Assembly.

All here.


Blogger kurt said...

Wasn't that a bit of heartening news? Pakistanis are proving they're just as enlightened as the next person. But you really have to wonder about the "experts" who believe that the Taliban represent a popular resistance movement. How does bombing an Afghan dog fight event that kills 100 people make a movement popular? Except for perhaps among the animal rights extremists?

6:17 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

That's what caught my attention. I've been following the Pakhtunkwa Milli Awami Party (which shows up in Ruben's analysis as the ANP) for some while, and a braver and finer bunch of activists you will not find in the entire Pashtun belt.

They've been all but completely ignored in North America, where it's popular to consider the Afghans, and especially the Pashtuns, as irredeemably priest-ridden, incorrigibly warlike, backward, and incapable of democracy: the "Rudyard Kipling" stereotype, noticeably fashionable in the anti-war set.

Hope lies in the proles, Kurt.

7:10 PM  
Blogger richard said...

But will Musharraf and/or the army let this continue? Over the years there's occasionally been other news from Pakistan that's sounded good, but....

10:38 PM  
Blogger kurt said...

Finally got time this evening to read Barnett Rubin's blog. Impressive stuff, thanks for the link. Should be required reading in Washington and Ottawa.

As for Musharraf, his days are numbered as president and he knows it... most importantly, the Pakistani military isn't interested in backing him in another coup. Let's hope the Americans can stay out of it too.

Here's another Joe Strummer classic:

12:10 AM  
Blogger bp said...

The Rubin piece was great. Once again, we see the fallacy of the notion that the jihadis have any amount of significant popular support in Pakistan.

Careful when poking around the blog though; while I generally enjoy Rubin's posts, they come surrounded by a barrage of "George Bush Is Satan" posts from other authors.

If you peek a few posts down, you'll see an apology for Iran's theocracy and a Galloway-ish "The Olympics remain an ideal opportunity for China to show the world how cosmopolitan it has become".

4:01 AM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Remember the "Frontier Gandhi".

It's still amazing how familial Pak politics are--almost as if a Roosevelt were still in American contention (not that there are not similarities...).

When I was in Isbad, Wali Khan's wife, Begum Wali Khan, was the big cheese in NWFP politics.

Truly a funny old world.


2:16 PM  

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