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Pakistani Candidate Caught On Video Slapping Election Officials

Few Pakistanis outside of her rural southern district had heard of politician Waheeda Shah Bukhari before February 25.

But that's the day she gained instant national attention when videos (here and here) showing her slapping two election officials in Sindh Province became a top story on most Pakistani TV news channels.

Bukhari won the most votes in her by-election for a provincial parliament seat in Sindh over the weekend. But the Pakistani election commission is refraining from declaring her the winner of the contest. She now faces a police investigation and might lose her chance at the seat. Pakistani legal experts say that Bukhari could even be imprisoned for three months for attacking election officials.

The incident has sparked a national debate with unending television and newspaper commentary. Some want to paint it as a reflection of the feudal attitude of hereditary politicians. Others consider it a reflection of worsening social attitudes in a society grappling with illiteracy, violence, and economic meltdown.

The Pakistani Supreme Court has also taken notice of the incident and asked senior police and election officials to pass along the results of their investigation into the incident.

-- Abubakar Siddique

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