The year 2007 will be crucial for the future of democracy in Pakistan. If the election schedule announced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sher Afghan Niazi is followed, presidential elections will be held in the fall and the general and provincial elections will be held on January 30, 2008. Many commentators in the West believe that the Pakistani regimewill portray the elections as a contest between Islamists represented by the MMA and the enlightened moderation of President Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistan Army.

In a new Carnegie Paper, Islam, Militarism, and the 2007–2008 Elections in Pakistan, Frederic Grare argues that the reality is that the Islamic forces will not be a defining factor. They are a dependent variable whose power is largely determined by the army. The only real questions are whether the army’s tactics for manipulating the 2007–2008 elections will differ from those used in 2002 and what role the Islamic parties will play in the process.

Click on icon above for the full text of this Carnegie Paper.

In a parallel argument, retired Pakistani Lieutenant General Asan Durrani elaborates on the consequences of military manipulation of the political process in his article "It is Not a Tiger" in The Nation (Pakistan).

To read Durrani's article in The Nation, click on the link to the right.

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Frederic Grare is a visiting scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment. He focuses on the tension between stability and democratization in Pakistan.