US media gives wide coverage to Pak presidential polls

November 14th, 2007 - 1:49 am ICT by admin  
The US media closely followed the October 6 polls, which saw incumbent President General Pervez Musharraf successfully getting himself re-elected by a huge majority.

Major Washington newspapers and TV news channels also noted that the ultimate outcome would be formally announced upon the conclusion of legal challenges pending before the Supreme Court, which is due to resume proceedings on October 17, The News reported.

The Internet edition of the Washington Post ran a lead story headlined “Unofficial Election Results Show Victory for Musharraf.” Its print edition also published an editorial on Saturday.

Pointing out that Musharraf received more than 98 per cent of the vote out of more than 600 ballots cast, the story quoted Pakistan Information Minister Mohammed Ali Durrani on the election process being transparent.

“The election process was transparent. It was credible. It was democratic…The opposition had their candidates. But they didn’t vote for their candidates,” Durrani said.

The story further said that the planned protests by the opposition parties failed to materialise, and Islamabad was generally calm.

It said that scene in Peshawar was “considerably more contentious” as “hundreds of lawyers protested outside the assembly, clashing with police who used baton-charges and tear-gas to disperse the crowd. The lawyers set fire to a police vehicle, and several people were injured in the melee.”

Its print edition editorial was critical of the election by the current assemblies, but it appreciated that Musharraf “has promised that if granted a new mandate as president, he will give up his military command”.

The Los Angeles Times headlined its report “New term for Musharraf - almost.”

The LA Times report noted “although the formal outcome is on hold, the balloting was seen as a watershed in Musharraf’s months-long struggle.”

It went on to say that the Pakistani leader is considered a key American ally in the fight against terrorism, and the Bush Administration was closely watching the events in the country.

More than 150 opposition lawmakers quit their seats in protest prior to the balloting, and Benazir Bhutto’s party abstained, “but that made little dent in Musharraf’s near-total support,” the report added.

The Cable News Network also carried a story on its website along with a number of wire services. (ANI)

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