Pakistan: Islamists make gains

Submitted by on 13 November, 2002 - 12:59

In Pakistan's elections of 10 October - the first since General Pervez Musharraf grabbed power in a coup in 1999 - gains were made by the coalition of Pakistani Islamist groups, the Muttahida Majlis-I-Amal (MMA). The Islamists got around third of the seats in the National Assembly, won a definitive majority in Sarhad (Northwest Frontier Province) and a majority of seats in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.
The Pakistan Muslim League (Q), an 18-month old party backed by Musharraf and the army, gathered the most votes, but not enough to form its own government. Musharraf's supporters will have to form a coalition with one of the four main parties that also won seats at the national level: the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), the Islamist coalition, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and/or independents.

The MMA have pledged to "implement an Islamic system" in Pakistan and have demanded US soldiers pursuing Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in the northwest province leave the country.

The socialist Labour Party Pakistan drew more than 15,000 people to its 37 election campaign meetings.

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