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Pakistan’s Elections 2018

*  Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has won the elections 2018. Right now democratic transition has been carried out in the country. Imran Khan, the head of PTI is going to take oath of new elected Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 18, 2018.

Forces of the “Change” and worshippers of the “Status Quo” were in the race to win elections. Terrorism also tried to play a vital role in these elections but ultimately and miserably failed to do so. Elements of fear had produced a perception which could not stop people to choose their true representatives in these elections. Every political party had equal playing field and nobody was “Ladla” as now projected by the joint opposition forum in the country.  Most of the so called prominent politicians, religious leaders and stakeholders lost the elections because of disconnect with the general masses.

Dreams of last 22 years at last have been achieved with the victory of PTI in center, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). People voted for change. People voted for socio-economic prosperity. People voted against corruption and favoured development. Status quo was badly defeated and routed.

Hot debate was going on in our regional, national as well international media about pre-poll rigging and fabricated walk-over to a specific party. Different important organs of the state were also in the “line of fire” due to these alleged claims. Social media had become a “decisive factor” in elections campaigning of each and every party in the country. Tit-for-Tat and war of tug was above skies among different political parties due to which national interests and moreover, strategic assets were also largely criticized unfortunately.

Justice is a sacred deed and a “Judge” is a symbol of greater good, accountability, rule of the law, equality and above all humanity. Ironically even this organ of the state which is the custodian of constitution, civil liberties, human rights and protector of minorities and weaker factions and sections of the society had become “party” to this ongoing dirty power politics in the country especially during 2018 elections. Allegations of Islamabad High Court’s Judge had opened a new Pandora box in the country. Role of Judiciary and intelligence agencies have been again spotted and highlighted too in the process of politicization and democratization. Ever body tried to be a pope or angel, nothing less. Everywhere was purified souls and holy cows which are still untouchable and far away from real accountability. Chief Justice of apex court has out rightly rejected allegations of Islamabad High Court’s Judge. 

Common people have been marginalized in the process of politicization and democratization in the country. Common people are still being insulted and defamed in courts other than merit and there is no mercy in the battel of titanic. If judiciary is being compromised towards power brokers than abrupt fall is imminent in the society and only judiciary is responsible for it. But first courts must discard popular perceptions of their biased verdicts and conducts. Agencies have nothing to do in the decision making of judiciary at any level against or in favour of any body. Let us hope, the new government of the PTI will initiate some meaningful policies to dilute this perception. 

Bashing to intelligence agencies and armed forces of Pakistan was carried out by conspirators of Pakistan which was at its peak during the elections 2018. Intelligence agencies and armed forces have nothing to do with a political party or group. Every political party and voter was free to exercise its right. ISPR and Election Commission had already made it clear and afterwards, there was no fog or smog. The electable has been acting like a “migratory bird” which always in search of safe heaven since long in the country. Agencies have neither forced anybody, nor encouraged any electable to join or disjoin to a political party. Muslim League (N) being pioneer of this culture should be ashamed of. It has been its own guilt which is now reflecting through political frustration.                 

Democracy is the mother of modern political philosophy and civilization. Democracy is the “last resort” against monarchy, fascism, dictatorship and the last but not the least family dynasty. Democracy stands for people’s voice. It also speaks about “equal opportunities” and “fair-play”. It institutionalizes true spirits of accountability, supremacy of law, tolerance and basic necessities of life. In elections 2018 democracy wins and people’s free choice has been honored.

Whereas, in our case, democracy has been taking care only the interests of the rulers, cronies, ministers, business tycoons, financial mafias, falsified clergy, land mafias, pressure groups and of course non state actors. Democracy has been labeled as “personal servant” to party’s chiefs wherein, nobody has the right to differ or defiance. Democracy has been used/misused to grab ruthlessly more and more power and of course precious bounties. Muslim League (N) has been in the corridors of power for the last 35 years and still is craving for more and more power.

No substantial change has been achieved in the system of governance, bureaucracy, law and order, education, health and housing in the country under the so called people’s rule of Muslim League (N) in the country. On the contrary, rise to massive corruption, rigging of the system, malfunction of bureaucracy, deteriorating law and order, poor policing system, ignorance and darkness have been hallmark of Muslim League (N) government for the last so many years. Therefore, people voted for good governance and corruption-free society.       

Political parties across the board have been annexed as a mere “family affair” wherein princes & princesses have been purposefully preferred over members of the parties and common voters. Having all said, the 2018 election has opened an window of opportunity to all the political parties as well as voters in the country to vote for a better tomorrow, qualitative life, peace and harmony, socio-economic prosperity and above all social justice. So, please “Vote for change” which does not mean a specific political personality, group or party. It is your free choice, but think above your prejudices, bigotries and comfort zones. However, PTI has set new standards of political loyalty, manifestation, service, submission and above all political affiliation in the country that is totally contrary to olden political dynasty of Muslim League (N), PPPP and of course religious parties.

Unfortunately, the socio-economic and political system in Pakistan has been both exploitative and oppressive because of the status quo of so many years. The status quo has been favoured the rich at the expense of the poor. The result is growing inequalities of income and wealth and widespread poverty making it difficult for about 60 percent of the people of the country to make both ends meet. Common people suffer from lack of adequate education, health and sanitation facilities, non-availability of clean drinking water, and housing. Ongoing fatal combination of deprivation and injustice has made the life of the common people in the country unbearable. All political parties especially Muslim League (N) has been responsible for this social unrest, economic meltdown and political division.

Pakistan has already been put in the grey category of Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  And if policies will not be rectified “Black category” is not far away. Rupee-Dollar parity is at its peak. It is feared that Dollar may be in Rs.150-170 till December 2018 because of the so many complicated economic conditions in the country.

Emerging socio-economic issues may not be easy for the new government at the center. Water is depleting and nobody is serious about it. Energy generation is expensive and nobody is ready to change its mix. So many mega corporations of the country are at imminent default and fall but still nobody is capable enough to turn the table. Internal/external debts are out of the control and political parties are at war of survival. Hunger, deprivation, injustice, marginalization, poverty, and unemployment is on the rise and unfortunately no political party has a vision to rescue us to safe shores of social stability, political maturity and the last but not the least economic sustainability. Common people voted for a prosperous Pakistan where there will be no one above law.     

Imran Khan, the next prime minister of Pakistan has made a very impressive speech wherein he assured social justice and rule of the law and no political revenge for anyone. He also promised not to use Prime Minister House. In this context, he must follow the model of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who used his presidency only when there was “foreign delegation” in the country and settled in a small home/flat. Imran Khan should also replace all the governors of provinces and appoint some real intellectuals/professors or educated people. There must be “feel good” gestures among the people about “simplicity” of Prime Minister, his cabinet and associates.

PTI must also try to form a stable and functional government in the Punjab. Public health and education should be foremost priorities of PTI. Uzbekistan’s model of social welfare and social development should be thoroughly studied and implemented in the province. There should be zero-tolerance against corruption in this respect; Malaysian Model of accountability needs to be implemented.