Hamid H.Ganai Imran
In the General elections of July 2018, Pakistan has set the stage for cricketer turned politician Imran Khan who secured the majority of seats for the first time in the history of Pakistan Politics.
Ahead of the elections the PML N Chief Nawaz Sharif & his daughter Maryam Nawaz have been jailed after they were convicted for corruption charges. While the senior Nawaz was in jail along with his daughter, his brother Shahbaz was leading the party but lacked Charisma of Nawaz Sharif& Maryam Nawaz. Shabaz Sharif & other prominent leaders of the party falied to trabslate the sympathy wav of ad victim into success for the party, the trump card that was played by Nawaz Shareif.
Nawaz who could have evaded his arrest and stayed back in UK deliberately returned to country ahead of polls in an attempt to garner the support of public while playing the victimhood in mass rallies however, in the reulsts declared by ECP, that didn’t happen.
The past regime led by the PML N have ran the entire election campaign on the plank of development & repeatedly referring to neighbour India’s superiority in the economic, education, health & military fields.
Though there was a neck and neck competition between two political parties PML-N & PTI (Pakistan Therek-e-Insaf). Bilawal Bhutoo Zardarie’s PPP ( Pakistan People’s Party) was another player in the general elections of Pakistan which was on the losing side before the elections were held.
Barring its home consistency Sindh, PPP was during the elections entirely an insignificant political force and was in a tough competition against Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) an amalgam of eighteen parties including Imran Khans PTI.
However, the PML-N is still main opposition political party in Pakistan.
Cricket turned politician Imran Khan has emerged as the key challenger to power in Pakistan in these general elections. He is said to be in good books of Pakistan army & establishment agencies and he is popularly known as new poster boy of establishment.
Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) is the only party that has openly supported the idea of opening channels of dialogue with jihadi outfits Pakistan Tehrik-e-Taliban.
His emphasis on accommodating fundamentalists & militant outfits has been so much that his opponents like ANP & PPP have described him Taliban Khan.
The run up to Pakistan National Assembly (NA) elections has seen a crackdown on the political workers affiliated to PML-N. Under the care taker government of justice Nasir-ul -Mulkh, the Pakistan Army & its deep state establishment agencies have emerged as the key controllers of administration. The crackdown on two biggest political parties PML-N & PPP have been so hard that they have been denied free media space for their election campaign in last over a month. The leaders of opposition political parties were quoted by Pakistan newspapers as saying “Seldom before has the pre-poll process been so vitiated, so unfair & so grotesque for a fragmented and divided parliament that is easier to manipulate”.
The charter mill of Pakistan politics has it that Pakistan establishment agencies & military is making sure that a “Plaint” Imran Khan wins majority or near to majority in 272 members National Assembly.
Pakistan establishment agencies & military is not ready to give any decision making leverage to a civilian government in matters of foreign, defence & strategic affairs.
PML-N & PPP governments have in the past tried to break free by advocating peace with neighbouring country India. Imran Khan has emerged as a PM candidate with right blend of fundamentalist politics and military compliance.
Even before the elections there were speculations if Pakistan army & establishment agencies backed PTI of Imran Khan fails to secure majority in the parliament , the MMA (Muthaida Majlis-e- Aamal) of socio religious political parties group of Pakistan and GDA ( Grand Democratic Alliance) of Sindh province may join hands with Imran Khan to keep PLM-N out of power. Such a coalition government in Pakistan is bound to obey all the directions from establishment & military.
The political engineering of Pakistan establishment agencies have successfully influence the voters and a particular political party get a full advantage of it & Imran Khan’s PTI is the best beneficiary in these general elections of 2018. The confidence level of Imran Khan was so high that after casting his vote at a polling booth in Islamabad in camera , he told reporters that he will emerge as victorious in these high stake elections. The security agencies has given advises to popular political parties to avoid direct contact with masses in election rallies during election campaign while as on the other hand the PTI has managed mass rallies without any fear.
Over a dozen prominent candidates of PML-N were either barred to contest elections or were disqualified by the National Accountability Court (NAB) at regular intervals and NAB was used as a tool against the leaders of PML-N & PPP even a candidate & relative of former PM Aabassi Haneef Aabassi was disqualified by a court for a life form Rawalpandi NA seat just two days ago before scheduled date of elections.
The political parties like PML-N, PPP & ANP in KPK were not given equal level playing fields during these elections and no free space was given by Pakistan electronic media in election coverage which was all around Imran Khan & PTI.
The Pakistan human rights commission has declared these general elections as dirtiest , unfair & full of violence elections where Elections Commission of Pakistan, Care taker government, security agencies & electronic & print media has failed to do their job & responsibility for free & fair elections.
This charge was levelled by none but the chairman of human rights commission of Pakistan in a recent interview to national & international media. The prominent candidates of PML-N from southern Punjab have either returned their tickets to PML-N & PPP & contested as independent candidates or switched their sides with PTI.
The battle against Nawaz Sharief & PML-N was taken to its logical conclusions by the establishment agencies by co-opting the Judiciary so that the silent coup get judicial sanction & now they are doing everything within its power to neutralize the threat posed by Nawaz Sharief & his still popular political party PML-N in Pakistan. The sitting judge of Islamabad High court justice Showkat Sidiquee has openly raised concern that Judges & judiciary is under tremendous pressure of establishment agencies and decisions & timing of judiciary are being scripted as per their will & wish.
For 2018 general elections of Pakistan, it seems that the objective is to create a hung parliament at the center and the party governments at provinces. To achieve this objective in Punjab province the PML-N was not broken down after panama verdict as was expected by many political observers.
Reincarnation of MMA to combine the voting power of religious right & creation of GDA in Sindh against the PPP & division of MQM in Karachi to restrict the PPP to rural & QMQ to urban areas was well designed in Sindh province.
But political engineering does not stop the controlling the outcome of election results on July 26th. , it continues to impact legislation and containment of the executive. To give an example the recent of NAB law drafting a consensus of Pakistan parliament was reached to include generals & judges to be held also accountable, but within 24 hours it was broken and now they are excluded. Dharna & lockdown politics were also used to encroach the supremacy and stability of a civilian government in 2014 & 2016 and finally it has been taken to its logical conclusion in the election month of July 2018 and political engineers who have invested a lot in these high stake elections have get their results as per the expectations.
Now the results are out and PTI has emerged as winner with single largest party with 114 seats of National Assembly (NA) in his account followed by jailed & PM Nawaz Sharifs PML-N with 65 seats & Biwalal Bhutto Zardaris PPP with 43 seats respectively. Though the half way mark in the 272 National assemblies is 137 seats & Imran needs over 20 more seats to form the government at federal level and with support of some independents & small regional parties he can manage it and is expected to form a coalition government in first week of August, 2018.
In KPK Province the PTI has already got the absolute majority and in Punjab province which was a strong hold of PML-N & PTI has secured 114 seats after PML-N which has bagged 128 sets though short of majority. But Imran Khan has already assigned the job to millionaire politician & his close aide Jahangir Tareen to recruit Independents in his party to manage the numbers & tally at 149 required to form a government at Pujab province as well.
The challenges for the new government in Pakistan are very tough both internally & externally. The Country’s struggling economy is already under stress and its GDP is under 5% which shrunk from 6.2% to 5% after collapse of Nawaz sharifs government followed by Supreme Court’s verdict in panama case.
The internal security of the country is under deep threat and two provinces Baluchistan & KPK are badly affected and over 300 people lose their lives in one month of election campaign. The relations with neighbouring countries India & Afghanistan are all time low and under the Donald Trump president ship , the Pakistan-America ties are struggling and US- have imposed many sanctions against Pakistan from last one year. The cricket turned politician & now PM designate Imran Khan has announced soon after election results that he will transform the Pakistan into a truly into a “Fallah-i-Mamlikat” and quoted the state of Madina & Prophet Mohammad SAW & their governance . How much Imran Khan will translate his words into action and will convert the struggling country into “Naya Pakistan” only time will tell in the years to head. Good luck to Imran Khan & his people.