Has General Musharraf restored “real” democracy or is civilian rule merely a cover for institutionalizing the military’s political dominance? What explains the stunning electoral performance of the religious parties in the country’s western provinces of the North West Frontier and Baluchistan? Will their newly found political power affect the state and civil society in Pakistan? If so, how? This essay examines the stateof democracy in Pakistan in the wake of the deeply flawed general elections held in October 2002. The nature of the political party system is discussed, and the prospects for democratization anditsconsolidation, as well as structural reforms, are explored in light of the military’s continuing hegemony over the state.