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Islam, Militarism, and the 2007-2008 Elections in Pakistan

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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 regime will 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.