The more I read and study about Pakistan the more I find myself alienated from its people, culture and political dealings. I opened up the Pakistani newspaper today (not literally, who reads an article on a paper anymore?) and I just couldn't imagine a riot like the one that happened in Pakistan today ever happening in the US.
The people in Multan, Pakistan (the home town of the new prime minister) burned down the state electric department and a bank because the power company announced another power cut. The mob also set fire to furniture, buses and motorcycles, but what I thought was the most outrageous part of the riot was that they dragged 10 electric company employees out into the street and savagely beat them with wooden planks. As if the low level employees are to blame for the power crisis. 40 people were injured in all and thousands of dollars of damages were accrued, but more importantly is that this is a sign of democracy's apocalypse and the four horsemen are high food prices, power shortages, credit shortages and no quick solutions to any of the other three.
Not to run this point into the ground, but I've said all along that a war with Mursharraf isn't what the majority of Pakistanis care about. They don't care that parliament was run by religious radicals, they don't care that the judiciary was sacked and they don't care what the constitution says. Let's be honest, the uneducated masses of Pakistan care about where their next pay check is coming from and how much of it is going towards food. The regional police chief, Mirza Muhammad Ali said that the power outages were putting 500,000 loom workers and their families at risk of starvation since they worked 20 hours a day and with the power outages they would be out of work for a period of time.
If problems like these power outages keep going unaddressed, then the new civilian government is going to find itself with few supporters. When the PPP came into office they promised that they would fix the power outages. Thus far, however, the only real action they have taken is replacing the head of the state electric department, which in my opinion, is more politics than a resolve to fix a problem. The new power plants they are considering building won't be done for 6-10 years and the current hydroelectric plants are losing power every day with the falling water levels. Their answer is that Mursharraf caused all these problems - a claim I'm willing to bet is true. However, people tend to have short term memories and when their families are starving the question isn't, "who caused this?" - it's, "what are you gonna do about it?" I'm sure putting Mursharraf's head on a pike will feed the people though, right?