South Asia Monitor: Two Elections: New Hopes and Old Frustrations - November 1, 2002
November 1, 2002
The two recent elections on the subcontinent, in Pakistan and in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, were conducted in environments of skepticism and uncertainty. Both yielded upset victories. In Pakistan, a hung parliament and the unexpectedly strong showing of the religious parties raise questions about how the government will deal with a political force that is hostile to its ties with the United States and will push a hard line toward India. The Kashmir elections, on the other hand, are an opportunity for positive change in the state, though their ultimate results will depend on how willing the governments in Delhi and Islamabad are to create a real peace process. For the United States, the main message from the ballot box is that South Asia will remain volatile, but that the stakes for U.S. interests are higher than ever.