CSMonitor reports Voters in Pakistan have dealt a surprising blow to religious extremists, bucking the rise in recent years of radical Islam in politics here.
With the MSM focused on Katrina, this good news will receive little play (actually even if it was not for Katrina, I suspect they would find something to blame Bush for, and not report this good news) but Democracy is spreading in the Middle East.Countrywide elections for local governments, which were held on August 18 and 25 in over 100 districts, reversed the gains made by radical Islamists who came to power in two out of the country's four provinces in 2002. They had played a strong opposition role in the federal parliament and posed a formidable challenge to President Pervez Musharraf's vow to bring "enlightened moderation" to Pakistani society. The absence of full elections at the federal level has enhanced the importance of Pakistan's local and city government as a political bellwether. Observers here point to a number of reasons for the poor showing for the religious parties, including internal divisions; changes to the ballot; as well as a cooling off of tensions caused by the government's reorientation following Sept. 11, 2001.