Washington, Feb 20: Most American dailies have front-paged a dismal and uncertain future for the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and President Pervez Musharraf. The New York Times said the results reflected the people of Pakistan handing a "severe defeat to Musharraf".
A report filed from Islamabad said, "The results were interpreted here as a repudiation of Mr Musharraf as well as the Bush administration, which has staunchly backed him for more than six years as its best bet in the campaign against militants in Pakistan." "American officials will have little choice now, but to seek alternative allies from among the new political forces emerging from the vote. But Washington could take some comfort in the losses of the Islamic religious parties in the North West Frontier Province that abut the Tribal Areas, where the Taliban and al Qaeda have carved out bases," it added. The Washington Times headline said, "Early count backs rivals of Musharraf," while the Los Angeles Times ran the story under a similar headline while noting, "Pakistan's ruling party conceded defeat today after opposition parties routed allies of President Pervez Musharraf in parliamentary elections that could threaten the rule of America's close ally in the war on terror."
The Boston Globe said, quoting early returns, "Musharraf party seen headed for loss," while Bloomberg captioned the election results as "Pakistan opposition leads as voters reject Musharraf". Stratfor, a Texas-based news intelligence service, ran the Pakistan story under the headline, "Pakistan: voters reject Musharraf and the mullahs." "The allies of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have fared poorly in the South Asian country's February 18 parliamentary elections. The election results mean Musharraf has become a lame-duck president, that the successes by Islamists in Pakistan's previous round of parliamentary elections were a fluke and that the current round of elections were reasonably free and fair," it added.