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THE HINDU Editorial Vocabulary - July 12, 2018 - Topic 2

A difficult campaign: on the Pakistan elections
Democracy has always been fragile in Pakistan. It was only in 2013 that a transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another was realised for the first time. As the country heads for the second such transfer, with a general election scheduled for July 25, the celebration is muted, overshadowed by a series of dramatic developments. Last week, former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League leader Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison in a corruption case involving undeclared property in London. 

The case, first outed in the Panama Papers, has seen Mr. Sharif disqualified from office and then barred from holding a party position in the ruling PML(N) after being held guilty by the Supreme Court. The charges are serious, even for a country plagued by corruption in high places. But many Pakistanis, including Mr. Sharif’s critics, believe the anti-corruption court was overzealous, and even motivated by those in the deep state unhappy with his recent run as Prime Minister. In an unusual move, military and intelligence officers had been despatched to cities around the world to gather as much evidence as possible against him. Mr. Sharif, who has been sentenced along with his daughter and son-in-law, accuses the Opposition parties led by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf of having received support from the establishment to hold massive rallies calling for his ouster. This was a role Mr. Sharif himself played in the 1990s, when he was the politician favoured by Pakistan’s all-powerful establishment.
While the attempt to neutralise Mr. Sharif’s political role in Pakistan’s future is the biggest story in this campaign, it is by no means the only destabilising trend. In the past few weeks, the media have battled harassment, with copies of the Dawn banned from cantonments. Journalists have faced death threats. This week, Awami National Party leader Haroon Bilour became the second member of his family to be assassinated, pointing to a systematic targeting of politicians who don’t adhere to an Islamist line or kowtow to the military. The atmosphere is by no means conducive to the conduct of a free and fair election and has been further vitiated by terrorist groups being ‘mainstreamed’ in the polity. The most notable such group is the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek. Sectarian groups and radical Islamist ideology are being tolerated by the military, despite harsh strictures on terror funding from the Financial Action Task Force, and an international grey-listing that threatens to cripple the economy. The elections will serve as one marker for the democratic process; the larger struggle in Pakistan for the deepening of democracy will continue.

Fragile:  easily broken or damaged.
Example: Tourists also damage the fragile ecosystem by dumping plastic waste and driving over the grasslands.
Synonyms: breakable, easily broken, delicate, dainty, fine

Overshadow: tower above and cast a shadow over.
Example: An enormous oak tree stood overshadowing the cottage
Synonyms: cast a shadow over, shade, darken, conceal, obscure, screen

Dramatic: sudden and striking.
Example: A dramatic increase in recorded crime
Synonyms: considerable, substantial, sizable, goodly, fair, marked, noticeable

Barred: fasten something, especially a door or window with a bar or bars.
Example: She bolts and bars the door
Synonyms: bolt, lock, fasten, secure, block, barricade, obstruct

Plague: cause continual trouble or distress to.
Example: The problems that plagued the company
Synonyms: afflict, bedevil, torment, trouble, beset, dog, curse

Evidence: be or show evidence of.
Example: That it has been populated from prehistoric times is evidenced by the remains of Neolithic buildings
Synonyms: indicate, show, reveal, display, exhibit, manifest, testify to, confirm

Establishment: the action of establishing something or being established.
Example: The establishment of a scholarship renews that personal interest of donors in students
Synonyms: foundation, institution, formation, inception, creation, installation, inauguration

Harassment: aggressive pressure or intimidation.
Example: They face daily harassment by the police
Synonyms: persecution, intimidation, pressure, force, coercion, hassle

Assassinate: murder an important person in a surprise attack for political or religious reasons.
Example: Political opponents were assassinated , women were raped before being mutilated and killed.
Synonyms: murder, kill, slaughter, eliminate, execute, liquidate, hit, terminate

Conducive: making a certain situation or outcome likely or possible.
Example: The harsh lights and cameras were hardly conducive to a relaxed atmosphere
Synonyms: favorable to, beneficial to, advantageous to, opportune to, propitious to

Ideology: a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.
Example: The ideology of republicanism
Synonyms: beliefs, ideas, ideals, principles, ethics, morals, doctrine, creed

Cripple: cause someone to become unable to move or walk properly.
Example: A crippling disease
Synonyms: disable, paralyze, immobilize, make lame, incapacitate, handicap

Struggle: make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.
Example: Before she could struggle, he lifted her up
Synonyms: fight, grapple, wrestle, scuffle, brawl, spar, scrap

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