Mac DefordMay 16, 2013 09:53
Commentary: Partisan US politics may undercut chances for a renewed US-Pak alliance.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves as he addresses his supporters during an election campaign meeting in Islamabad on May 5, 2013. A roadside bomb exploded at an election rally in southwest Pakistan on May 5 killing two people, officials said as violence continued ahead of historic polls on Saturday. Pakistan will elect its new government for the next five years in polls on May 11. The election of the national and four provincial assemblies will mark the first time a civilian government has completed a full term and handed over to another, in a country that has been ruled by the military for half its existence. (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)
There's not much good news coming out of the broader Middle East these days and so the successful election this past weekend in Pakistan is cause for at least muted elation. It is, after all, the first time in Pakistan's beleaguered 65-year history that a democratically elected government has been replaced by a democratically elected government. So that's the good news. Toss in the fact that the voter turnout, the highest for parliamentary elections in nearly two generations, was spurred upward by women and younger voters, and was not deterred by Taliban attacks, then add that Pakistan does have a remarkably free press and a quite independent judiciary and, obviously, a military that now is willing to let democracy play out -- and things don't look so bad.