Monday, February 18, 2008

Off to the Elections in Pakistan

I like that headline for the great picture, above, taken in Balochistan, Pakistan even though this group is not off to the polls. Pakistan's National Assembly elections are being held today. There are an enormous number of political parties, some of which are boycotting the election. I don't understand how that benefits, but they do; I think. The Election Commission has an online guide for the election judges, but working at the polls takes on a new meaning when you find out that capturing the polling station is one of the election no-no's.

Despite diligent study, I've pretty well given up understanding the specifics of this far-away exercise in democracy, but I remain fascinated by pictures of the country. Could we suggest, this outstanding new video at Offroad Pakistan of a 4-wheel trip to the Goran Ghatti deep in Pakistan's Hingol National Park? It features Jeeps, camels, the fully restored Ford F1, pictured above, and has a fine soundtrack.

You may have read that Pakistan's President, who is not running in this election, is quite unpopular, and quite unpopular would mostly be a euphemism. One of the hundreds of reasons is an order from the Musharraf government blocking the website of Offroad Pakistan and the above video. Personally, I can't think of anything more subversive than a four wheel drive, but the real target is Wired Pakistan along with its popular tech forum, which likely includes detailed information on how to get around the Internet blocking imposed by the Musharraf administration. As a sign of the forum's value, a number of Internet providers have simply ignored the blocking order.

The video was just posted Friday, and while many Pakistani voters won't be able to access it--either due to the digital divide or Internet blocking--here in America we can enjoy it.

h/t KO


Anonymous Hamid Omar said...

Most interesting write-up on the situation in Pakistan. Explains beautifully the Govt's paranoia on blocking websites, even those presenting the good face of the country.

Hamid Omar
Member, 4x4 Offroaders Club

Feb 18, 2008, 3:01:00 PM  
Blogger Publia said...

Hello Mr. Omar,

The beauty of Pakistan is not known in the US, and the pictures on Offroad Pakistan are lovely. I also like the videos. Hopefully, the new govenment will be smarter about the value of technology, and how websites such as Offroad Pakistan act as good will ambassadors for your country. Thank you for visiting my blog.

Feb 20, 2008, 6:46:00 AM  

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