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A Total Lack of Explanation of the Pakistani Electoral System

March 27, 2013

As I mentioned earlier it’s election season in Pakistan.  The government has been disbanded and a caretaker government is to be installed prior to the election on May 11th.  You’ll note the phrase ‘is to be installed’ – that’s just as soon as they agree on who’s going to be in it and what it’s going to be allowed to do.  It seems that this may take up to, oh, May 10th

In an attempt to learn a bit about the different parties and characters I’ve been reading the paper. It’s not an activity that I generally get round to, what with just trying to keep a toddler and a (very speedy now) crawling baby in two pieces (one each).  A cursory look, however, revealed that there is a distinct preference for a good TLA (three letter acronym).  So we have the PTI, MQM, PPP and then the PML-N.  The latter, being a bit of a departure, stumped me for a while as there was no mention in the paper of what the letters stood for, so I’ve dragooned a passing waiter to see if he could explain.

Apparently it’s the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz.  Nawaz is the first name of the chap who leads the party, Nawaz Sharif. I suppose the UK equivalent would be the ‘Conservative Party – Dave’ (although then there’d have to be a ‘Conservative Party – Boris’).  There are many different Pakistan Muslim Leagues so they differentiate themselves by the last letter.  But they’re different.  Oh yes.  Totally.  They just have exactly the same name (bar an appendage).  I can’t think why my mind immediately went to The Judean People’s Front…

I also fell to musing on the cult of personality.  It strikes me that it’s all well and good for those in the PML-N when Nawaz (it seems overly familiar to be addressing him by his first name but I feel a certain invitation to do so has been extended) is well and happy, but should he decide to retire for any reason he’s really fettered the ability of his party’s vanguard to chose a new leader.  There might be an utterly brilliant Ahmed just waiting to take the political world by storm but thwarted by having the wrong name.  What a tragedy (unless…I can see a new political party forming…anyone for the PML-A?).

I asked the passing waiter which party he was planning to vote for. He laughed out loud and explained that he was a Christian.  No one cared what his life was like, so he didn’t plan on voting for anyone.  He was very jolly about it, but, should any of the parties be looking for available swing voters, I feel there’s an untapped market there.

Yesterday, I am pleased to announce, I managed to find gravy powder. (This complete non-sequiter will only make sense if you read the ‘Way to a Man’s Heart’ post.)  I also found yeast or, rather, it was found for me by one of the shelf stackers in the supermarket.  I have huge admiration for these people who are able to know the word for yeast (and ‘bread flour, not just plain flour’) in a foreign language.  I don’t know the word for yeast in any other language. It’s a failing that I plan to address oh, in the next few years/decades.

I also discovered that The United Bakery, F6, Islamabad is stocking hot cross buns – an Easter treat I never expected to find in Pakistan.  I believe I actually jumped up and down and clapped my hands together (sometimes you just can’t suppress that unexpected-baked-goods excitement).  H keeps referring to them as the cross hot buns.  I don’t know what he’s doing to them to make them so angry.




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