After the Mullahs

March 19, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Economist

THE moustaches have ousted the beards. While Parliament met this week in Islamabad to debate who should be prime minister nationally, at the provincial level in the North West Frontier (NWFP), a deal has been done. Later this month, the Awami National Party (ANP), a secular Pushtun outfit, will take over the provincial government from the Islamist Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), an alliance of six Islamic parties. It will do so in coalition with the Pakistan People's Party of the assassinated former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, with which it signed a provincial power-sharing agreement on March 5th. The takeover is the result of Pakistan's recent election, at which the ANP increased its representation from a mere seven to 46 of the province's 99 constituencies. The Islamic alliance, half of which boycotted the poll, won just 14.