Pakistan’s Election Saga

After many crisis, semi-coups, blunders, anti-people verdicts here and there, rigid posturing from many institutions, unending predictions of the day of polls finally arrived adding to further confusion and frustration in the public. Even before the elections started there was great confusion and suspicion among various quarters regarding the fairness of the whole process; engineered elections and a hung were the term frequently used to define what was to come next. As the polling started on 25 July, disturbing news started pouring in from various quarters regarding irregularities in the electoral process. In some areas voters reported mismanagement such as Vehari where most voters especially women could not cast their votes due to extreme delay in the process. As the polling ended severe irregularities were observed as POs refused to count votes in some polling stations.

In Various polling stations especially in Karachi POs refused to give official results on form 45 which made the results highly questionable. The results of almost 30 polling stations were withheld for one day to the dismay of both politicians and public. From Hyderabad late night PPP leader Ajiz Dhamrah and Moulana Abul Khair Zubair, From MMA conducted a press conference regarding massive irregularities in the electoral process including manhandling of their female polling agents.

On the whole by the morning of 26 July ECP was able to announce only 30 % of the results with turnout 35% to 40% which is lower than 2006 in which the voter turnout was 50%. The results indicated victory of Imran Khan, populist leader of PTI. In the latest official count, Khan’s party has grabbed 115 seats out of a potential 270 seats, with 267 having been declared. Six major parties including PMLN, MQM and MMA of Pakistan rejected the results outright and declared them to be foul as per Dawn reports. “This is an exceptional result in so far that all surveys and analysis had predicted a hung parliament and a messy coalition government,” said Umair Javed, an academic and political commentator.

The election 2018 results are contested till date and have been regarded as unfair by independent observer bodies such as HRCP and European Union Commission. The Election Commission of Pakistan continues to struggle with finalizing the result due to massive errors in counting, interestingly, areas where a recounting was conducted the results were reversed in the favor of opponents of PTI. This situation has forced PTI to look for allies and win favors of independent candidates for formation of the government. While the public seems disappointed with tempered mandate, opponent political parties seem determined to battle PTI by going to the parliament. As it appears if Imran Khan, succeeds in becoming the PM he will have many gigantic tasks ahead of him, one of which will be to free himself from his past deeds. Khan’s charisma is built on the saga that he is the fairest of all the leaders and has no baggage of corruption to his credit. The good thing about Khan’s election is that so far the establishment, judiciary and other institutions seem to be positive about working with him.

In times to come it will be interesting to note how Khan manages the hung parliament with a large opposition comprising of 64 PMLN members and 48 of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and others. As it appears such a strong opposition is likely to keep the new government on its toes. Additionally, Khan’s role will be crucial in how he conducts civil – military relationships without troubling the equilibrium like Nawaz Sharif the former Prime Minister of Pakistan.

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