25 July is the historic day that would certainly mark an unprecedented second consecutive democratic transition from one democratic force to another. The elections 2018 will highly likely to influence the political landscape of Pakistan in an unparalleled manner.
Arguably, political scientists having deep political insight expressed their fear that elections’ results might reflect the input of the invisible hands that have been undermining the growth of democratic roots since the inception of the country.
This time around, the large number of electable belonging to the mainstream political parties have abandoned to accept party tickets and chose to get into electioneering battlefield as independent candidates. Political history of Pakistan has witnessed that independent political figures fall victim to the undemocratic forces through the process of engineered parliament which ultimately impact the formation of government ahead.
The culture of forcing powerful political individual to quit their respective party and join dictated force at the last moment has also being noticed recently that would deteriorate the foundation of ideological-based political values in Pakistan.
According to the research paper produced by PILDAT in 2014—Pakistan’s First 10 Elections, democracy has had never been allowed to emerge victorious by the unelected and non-democratic architectures that believe in an engineered parliament and controlled democracy. Despite the challenges and constant spell of hurdles thrown to its way, democracy in Pakistan has, fortunately, been managed to address the most worrisome irregularities and complexities in the system surfaced over the years.
History has proved that dictatorial regimes always attempted to polarize the society along the provincial and ethnic lines that eventually furthered the distance between the federating units. Democracy, on the other hand, in spite of the withering foundation in Pakistan, endeavors to unite the country and produced some tangible people-friendly dividends.
For an instance, it was PPP-led democratic government in 2010 that passed the landmark 18th constitutional amendment which brought the provinces close to the federation with great extent of provincial autonomy and equal resource-sharing formula. This is merely one of the democratic fruits delivered that highlighted the fact parliamentary democracy has potential to eliminate socio-economic instability and political turmoil prevailing in the country.
Surely, this country direly needs an undisturbed and uncontrolled political system so that parliamentary democracy can be evolved in itself which will resolve the issues and governing challenges in the systematic way.
Convincingly, Pakistan cannot afford to be made to embrace the engineered parliament ahead as it would turn out to be a recipe for the political and economic disaster.
Today, the state has much to deal with: the rising threat of extremism, militancy and terrorism, worsening foreign relations (especially joint-venture of US-India against Pakistan and critical bordering conditions with Afghanistan), diminishing foreign exchange reserves and devaluation of the currency against dollar and so on and forth.
This prevailing crisis of governance and fault lines scenario demands the free and fair elections so that the third tenure of parliamentary democracy and upcoming government can resolve these issues and set the country on the right path in terms of socio-economic prosperity and political stability.
Undoubtedly, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has promised the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections as enshrined in the constitution of 1973. During the process of elections: Deployment of 200,000 Army troops on polling stations—outside and controversially inside—installment of biometric mechanism, delimitation of constituencies under 24th constitutional amendment, all appears to be, strategically, positive moves. But, the implementation of effective electioneering diagram without resulting in political instability is the exercise that remains to be seen.
However, on the eve of elections 2018, masses are mandated to reflect their political choice through ballot paper that goes on to elects their respective representatives. People seem to be the prime movers for the democratic project struggling to strengthen its roots in Pakistan since long. If already-weakened democracy has to be consolidated, general public must mold their perception towards elections; and should choose electable based on their honesty, integrity, delivery of work & performance and connectivity with the masses.
The people of Pakistan should send those electable to the power corridors that can bring the political fortunes in the shape of sound governance and honest and visionary leadership. Last but not the least, the people of Pakistan deserve better!