ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A court must still rule whether Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s landslide win in Saturday’s presidential election is valid, but one loser was clear before the voting even began: public faith in Pakistani politics. Opposition boycotts, legal wrangling and the efforts of former leaders Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif to mount a comeback are the stuff of media debate in Pakistan. But many ordinary Pakistanis feel that power is the preserve of a corrupt elite, too busy securing their own interests to tackle issues such as rising Islamic militancy and the poverty and inflation that feed it. “All politicians are the same,” said Ali Ahmad, a 28-year-old teacher in the eastern city of Quetta. “They are the enemy of poor people. They gave us nothing but suicide attacks, terrorism and violence.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityMusharraf’s standing has crumbled since he tried to oust the head of the Supreme Court in March. Many saw it as a clumsy attempt to ensure the court would not enforce a constitutional bar on government employees – such as army officers – running for office. Zafar Abbas, a 30-year-old carpenter sitting under a tree opposite the Parliament building where lawmakers were voting, said the court should disqualify him. “This is not happening under the constitution and law. This is disappointing,” Abbas said. Musharraf’s decision to drop corruption cases against Bhutto, with whom he has engaged in power-sharing talks, has also demolished his stance as an anti-graft crusader. Shaukat Abdullah, a 35-year-old factory worker from Gujranwala, said the lawmakers voting for Musharraf should be ashamed. “The people sitting in Parliament are selling their conscience,” Abdullah said. “Musharraf said they (Bhutto and Sharif) had no role in politics but now he is talking of a deal with them.” But others admire Musharraf’s political craft. Zafar Iqbal, a 28-year-old shopkeeper in the eastern city of Multan, said Saturday’s vote was “just a drama, not an election.” He added, however, that the general “played his cards wisely” by dividing Pakistan’s squabbling opposition parties and sending Sharif back into exile when he tried to return to Pakistan last month. “What is happening now was well-planned, and the political parties are playing into the hands of Musharraf,” Iqbal said. To the government’s relief, general discontent has not translated into street protests. “Everyone is respecting the election process of President Musharraf by doing their business, by not coming on roads, by not responding to the aggressive calls of some of the opposition leaders,” Information Minister Mohammed Ali Durrani said. But Ijaz Shah, a grocer relaxing on the lawn in front of the Parliament building, said there is no tension because ordinary people realize that Pakistan’s military remains firmly in control. “We have a saying that `He who owns the stick, owns the buffalo,”‘ Shah said. “If the government really had support, there would have been thousands of people here to cheer it.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!