Mohammad Younas – May 22, 2013 |
Fakharuddin G. Ebrahim, Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan congratulated the nation for holding the most transparent‚ fair and free elections with a record 60% voters turnout in the elections held on 11th of May 2013. Since election, the print and electronic media run rigging stories from different parts of the Pakistan on daily basis. Some political parties have thoroughly refused to accept the results of the elections, while some candidates refuse the elections with credible evidence of video clips, photos and recorded messages. Some complain about the alleged roles of the presiding officers to dillydally the voting process in the polling stations, some complain from the law enforcing agencies for their alleged involvement in filling ballot boxes, some complain of stealing ballot boxes, some found their votes on the litters, some complain about over 100% turnout, some from the fake ballot papers, some complain of the late result announcements and some complain from the absence of staff members in the polling stations in Balochistan.
Whatever the post election results may be — either fair or unfair, some believe that the rigging started weeks before the elections, when certain political parties were not permitted to fully participate in the election process in their respective constituents on the pretext of targeted killings and suicide bombings.
Every effort was made to support the darling political parties to hold huge political gatherings to get them elected while on other hand all possible measures were adopted to hassle the anti-establishment political parties through Taliban forces or sponsored death squads in particular constituencies.
Even many days before the elections, several analysts predicted that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pashtunkhwa MAP, Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F), Jamaat Islami (JI) and other religious parties would emerge as major political parties to run the affairs of the country as they enjoyed the election campaign at full length.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, bomb explosions were carried out on Awami National Party’s (ANP) political gatherings to terrorize the voters to stay at homes. People were made into believe to vote pro-Taliban parties, if they want peace in the province. To elect ANP would mean to invite more bomb explosions in the province, therefore voters were left with no choice but to vote pro-Taliban parties to work with establishment in order to deal with Taliban in line with the save exit to international troops from Afghanistan and to play an active role in Afghanistan after 2014. And further more to counter direct influence of USA in the region with the help of like minded ruling parties in KP province.
ANP is believed to have been punished going through improper channel in making relations with the USA, which resulted in providing a better opportunity to Imran Khan to understand the role of elite class in policy making. PTI has won the majority seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but it has not been granted full mandate to implement its “will” in the province. Imran needs the support of religious parties or independent candidates or may be PML-N to form government which will counter his blatant policies in the region.
Before election, Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) was playing pivotal role in the central government but now it has been marginalized to Sindh province. It is very difficult to wipe PPPP out from Sindh as the party has strong roots among Sindhis. Wiping PPPP out from Sindh politics would mean to invite more political uprising in Sindh province. Therefore, PPPP was made only inactive in the central policy making. Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) has been granted the same 2008 mandate but not the same political role in Sindh as PPP can form government without the support of MQM in the province.
In Punjab province, extreme right wing pro-Taliban parties were given full support to get elected with the help of right wing party PML (N) — considered to be a pro-establishment, pro-Saudi Arabia and pro-Taliban won a simple majority not only in the centre but also in the province. Former Prime Minister Yousaf Reza Gailani’s son was allegedly kidnapped just before the Election Day by the militants to simply pass a very clear message to PPP of an unusual election results in Southern Punjab (Sirayeki belt).
In Balochistan province, the turnout votes were estimated around 37% mostly in non-Baloch areas; however, the turnout remained extremely low due to “double” terror factors in Baloch areas. Over 62,000 security forces including Pakistan Army were deployed around sensitive polling stations.
In some parts of Balochistan especially in Mand, Kharan, Awaran and Makran areas, the polling started working after 11am, however in some areas the polling staff couldn’t arrive at the polling stations. Mir Abdul Qudoos Bezinjo Pakistan Muslim League PB-41 (AWARAN) bagged 544 votes out of the total registered 57,666 voters. The total vote cast was 672 and the percentage of the vote was 1.18% in the constituency.
Many believe that election was not rigged but “managed” in Balochistan. Balochistan National Party-Mengal group (BNP-Mengal) faced the worst by winning only 2 seats in the provincial assembly which boycotted the elections in 2008. Pashtumkhwa MAP emerged the prominent political party in the province by winning most seats in the provincial assembly, which boycotted the election in 2008.
In Balochistan, conspiracy theorists believe that pro-establishment parties have been awarded to play better political role in matters relating to Gawader project, gas pipeline, Saindak and Reko Diq projects, Baloch insurgency and above all to provide save exit to international troops from Afghanistan and play pivotal role after 2014 in Afghanistan.
Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) raised Hazaras killings issues to the national and international levels, which brought bad name to the establishment in dealing with the terrorists in the province. Imposing Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) on Hazaras—a political opponent of HDP— is believed that establishment has played double game to not only portray the political image of Hazaras as a pro-Iran but also punish HDP for not being on the track of the establishment in making relations with BNP-Mengal.
Chief of BNP-Mengal, Sardar Akhtar Mengal has refused to accept the election results in Balochistan, however the question arises that will he take oath in the upcoming provincial assembly session? If yes, then under what conditions? If not, then what political strategy will he adopt to justify himself and his party? Many believe that if Mehmood Khan Achakzai overreacts on Afghan issue, he may likely face the similar fate like ANP in the next elections.
The present political scenario helped Nawaz Sharif to get “elected” to run the fragile democratic setup in Pakistan under the supervision of the elite ruling class. Keeping past experience in mind, Nawaz Sharif will try his best to prolong his reign; however, the future challenges will put him in the hot water, if he resists going through proper channel to address internal and external issues. He may find ways to address joblessness and power shortage but he will struggle to take tough stance on the fate of General Pervez Musharraf. Religious militancy and increasing political instability especially in Balochistan are matters of great concern to Pakistan and to the globe. Drone attacks, Taliban and the role of Pakistan in Afghanistan after 2014 are challenging tasks to deal with. The future of Gawader port and Iran gas pipeline project will determine the future relations with US and Saudi Arabia. It will be difficult to confront with PPP as it has majority seats in the upper house. Despite having simple majority in the lower house, it seems very difficult to rule smoothly.
Being opposition party, PPP and PTI will push Nawaz Sharif very hard in the lower house to address the popular issues such as Drone attacks, religious militancy, Taliban, law & order, power shortages, political uprising in Balochistan and the fate of General Pervez Musharraf. His simple majority pride will crumble soon, if he doesn’t take the elite ruling class into confidence.
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