In the half a century since the country’s founding, changes in Pakistan’s leadership have been marked by assassinations, plane crashes, military coups — and the occasional democratic election. But even these are sometimes marred by vote rigging, bribery and coercion. This is especially true in poor rural areas — home to 70 percent of the population — where literacy rates are low, infrastructure is poor, and villagers are often isolated from national and global issues.
Focal Point takes us inside two different elections to show the power of two shadow forces shaping political outcomes in rural Pakistan — feudalism and money.
Vote for Benazir’s Blood follows wealthy feudal landlord and former U.S. ambassador Abida Hussain on election day — as she competes for votes against her own equally illustrious cousin.
You Cannot Hide from Allah shows the rise and fall of Ishan Khan, a man of humble Pakistani origins who moves to the U.S., hits the jackpot in a lottery, and returns to his hometown to run for mayor.