The United States should support broader political reform in Pakistan, along with economic development programs and efforts to enhance security. The 2008 parliamentary elections represented an opportunity for Pakistan to give voice to the Pakistani people in how their society is governed. Yet the return of electoral democracy adds a new element of uncertainty to the continuity of leadership in Pakistan. At times Pakistani leaders may voice opposition to American policies, but the United States should resist the urge to circumvent them now and in the future. The upcoming local elections in 2009 represent another opportunity to support Pakistan’s democratic transition, and the United States should expand efforts to support civil society organizations, assist all political parties, and encourage electoral reform to ensure that these elections meet their potential for providing an open and fair debate on key policy questions and allowing for the legitimate expression of the will of the people.
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