With Pakistanis making up a large portion of Norway's immigrant population, interest was running high in Oslo and other Norwegian cities over the outcome of Monday's national elections in Pakistan.
Signs that opposition parties were winning sparked cheers from supporters of both in Norway. Most viewed the election returns as a sign of protest against the ruling party led by current President Pervez Musharraf.
Javed Iqbal, who supports the Pakistan People's Party that was led by the recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto, is among Pakistani-Norwegians who've been disappointed by recent political developments in Pakistan. He didn't appreciate the state of emergency called by Musharraf last fall, nor the firings of judges, and Bhutto's murder dashed hopes for a new, more democratic leader and more stable future.
He and many other Pakistani-Norwegians hope the opposition can unseat Musharraf, "but it's not easy." Still, he and representatives of the Pakistan Muslim League-N in Norway said they "pray to God" for more democracy i Pakistan. Both parties got together Monday night as election returns started coming in.
"We want a system more like Norway's," one activist told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), noting that he and representatives of the other party congratulated each other as results became known. "Isn't that a good thing? He's congratulating me!"
Source: Aftenposten (English)