A Bumpy Pitch

The Democracy in Pakistan has always gone through bad times, but this time it is more difficult. A Bumpy road is eagerly waiting for the future Prime Minister Imran Khan as the growing role of the Army and its political and economic interests would conflict with the authority

 Santosh K Verma

 

And as the estimates were being made, Pakistan’s election results have come more or less the same way. The party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) has been ousted from the power and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has emerged as the single largest party, and its leader Imran Khan has

started making necessary preparations to become the new Prime Minister of Pakistan.

 

 File Photo of Imran Khan Cricketing days

 

According to the updated data released by the Election Commission of Pakistan, Imran Khan's PTI has emerged as the single largest political party in the country by winning 116 seats out of 270 seats in the National Assembly.

PML-N won 64 seats, while Pakistan People's Party (PPP) won 43 seats and secured the third position in the National Assembly. Similarly, Muttahida Majlis-e- Amal (MMA) an alliance of the Islamic political parties got 12, Pakistan Muslim League (Q) 4, Balochistan National Party 2, Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan 6 and Balochistan Awami Party have secured four seats. Awami National Party (ANP), Awami Muslim League (AML), Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaniyat and Jamhuri Watan Party (JWP) have also won one seat each in the National Assembly. Fourteen independent candidates have also been successful in their constituencies, who can play an essential role in the formation of the federal government in the current scenario.

 

Provincial Elections

 

There was a fierce competition between PML-N and PTI in Punjab. In the Provincial Legislative Assembly of Punjab, results of 297 seats were received, in which PML-N emerged as the largest party with 129 seats, but its nearest rival PTI has so far managed to get 123 seats. Independent candidates have won 28 seats, Pakistan Muslim League (Q) 07, PPP 06, and BAP, PML-F (functional) and Pakistani Awami Raj (PAR) have won one seat each. In Punjab, 149 seats are required to form the government, and in the current scenario, Imran Khan's party should not have any difficulty in mobilising the majority in such a situation, while he is going to form the government in Islamabad.

 

Election in Stats   Imran’s PTI has got 31.89 per cent of the total votes in these elections, whereas in the 2013 elections, it had gained 16.92 per cent of the votes. Pakistan's military deployed more than 3,71,000 soldiers for the 2018 elections, more than it has ever done before  

Election in Stats

 

Imran’s PTI has got 31.89 per cent of the total votes in these elections, whereas in the 2013 elections, it had gained 16.92 per cent of the votes.

Pakistan's military deployed more than 3,71,000 soldiers for the 2018 elections, more than it has ever done before

In the Sindh Assembly, out of the 130 seats, PPP has secured 76 seats and has got a clear majority, and it is going to form a provincial government again. (The majority of the 66 seats required to form a government in Sindh). Other political parties, like PTI, has won 23, MQMP 16, Tehrik-e-Labbaik or Rasool Allah 2, MMA won 1, and the Grand Democratic Alliance won 11 seats.

Election in Stats Imran’s PTI has got 31.89 per cent of the total votes in these elections, whereas in the 2013 elections, it had gained 16.92 per cent of the votes. Pakistan's military deployed more than 3,71,000 soldiers for the 2018 elections, more than it has ever done before

Election in Stats Imran’s PTI has got 31.89 per cent of the total votes in these elections, whereas in the 2013 elections, it had gained 16.92 per cent of the votes. Pakistan's military deployed more than 3,71,000 soldiers for the 2018 elections, more than it has ever done before

 

 

Like Sindh, the ruling party has returned in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also. In the Legislative Assembly of this province, results of 96 out of 97 seats were declared by the ECP out of which the PTI won a clear majority by winning 66 seats while Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal secured 10, ANP 6, PML-N 5 and PPP has won 4 seats. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a total of 99 seats in which 50 seats are required to get the majority.

 

Similarly, the Balochistan Awami Party, the political party, (it is a common belief that the army played a significant role in the formation of this political party), has emerged as the largest party in Balochistan’s provincial assembly. BAP got 15 seats in these elections. While Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal has secured nine seats, and secured second place. Balochistan Nationalist Party 6, PTI 4, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) 1 and PML-N have also won one seat. Shahzain Bugti's Jamhuri Watan Party (JWP) has won one seat in these elections while five independent candidates have also been victorious in the state. In the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, 25 seats are required for the majority, and the “patrons” of the Balochistan Awami Party are so influential that they could hardly have any problem in mobilising the necessary majority.

 

What do Statistics Say?

 

Pakistan's Election Commission’s figures show that in the recent elections, the public of Pakistan expressed less enthusiasm. According to these figures, the voting in the National Assembly election was 51.85 per cent, while it was 55.02 per cent in the 2013 election. If we talk about provincial assemblies, the highest voting percentage in Punjab was 55.09 per cent, followed by Sindh 48.11 per cent, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 45.52 per cent and the lowest in Balochistan 45.2 per cent.

 

The Election Commission of Pakistan has released statistics of the total votes polled for each political party in this election. Among them, PTI is at number one with 16,857,035 votes. It got 76, 79, 954 votes in the 2013 elections, which means that it got about 92 lakh more votes in these elections. After PTI, PML-N was at second place with 12,894,225 votes. The number of votes it received has declined; it got 14,874,104 votes in the 2013 elections. PPP is in third place with 6,894,296 votes, the number of votes it has received has declined marginally. In 2013 it received 6,911,218 votes. According to the votes cast, Independent candidates with 6,011,297 votes have emerged as the fourth largest group.

 

If we talk about the percentage of votes received by the political parties, PTI has got 31.89 per cent of the total votes in these elections, whereas in the 2013 elections, it had gained 16.92 per cent of the votes. Thus, it has been benefitted by about 15 per cent of the votes and 81 seats. Second, PML-N received 24.40 per cent of the votes, which is about 8 per cent less than the previous election (2013) votes received from 32.77 per cent. PML-N also suffered a tremendous loss of 102 seats. The Pakistan People's Party has not faced any more reshuffle in these elections, it has received 13.01 percent of the votes in the polls, which is 2.3 percent less than the votes received in the previous elections of 2013, while PPP last time secured only 42 Seats, which has increased in this elections to 43. According to ECP, MMAP an amalgam of religious parties got 2,530,452 votes, Tehrik-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, got 2,191,679 votes and Allah-O-Akbar Tehrik, a veil for Milli Muslim League, got 171,441 votes. It is an astonishing fact that a newly formed Islamic party like Tehrik-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, TLY is giving hard fight to MMA, the alliance of several well established Islamic parties, including the Jamaat-e-Islami and Fazlur Rahman-led Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F. This is an example of “swing” from traditional Islamic parties to new and more hardcore parties.

 

Terrorist Organisations and Elections

 

In these elections, the political front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and terrorists Hafiz Saeed, Milli Muslim League, which was contesting under the banner of Allah O Akbar Tehrik, had to face defeat everywhere. The political front of the notorious terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat has also not benefitted from these elections. On the other hand, Khadim Hussein Rizvi's party Tehrik A Labbayak or Rasool Allah - TLY has won 2 seats of the provincial assembly in Sindh province, and at the same time, this radical organisation has been in third place in many constituencies for National Assembly elections across the country. In some urban areas, its candidates have received 42,000 odd votes.

 

Army’s Role

 

The Army played an active role in these elections in Pakistan. Pakistan's military deployed more than 371,000 soldiers for the 2018 elections, more than it has ever done before, and the results showed its effects clearly. Each of the country's 85,000 polling stations was secured by Army personnel, with civilian law enforcement and, in some cases, electoral officials, relegated to a supporting role.

 

 

 

A soldier keeps watch as people vote at a polling station during the General Election 

 

Entry into polling stations was strictly controlled, and in many cases, the media personnel were denied entry by military personnel despite proper authentication. The Army says that it “did not play a direct role” in the voting process, and it only ensured the sanctity of security and ballot process. While the opposition alleges that the direct vote count has been interrupted here.

 

The European Union (EU) has also expressed grave concern over this election process. While the EU's observer mission did not pass judgment on the issue but did note “during counting, security personnel recorded and transmitted the results, giving the impression of a parallel tabulation”. The United States (US) expressed concern about “flaws” in the campaign process. “These included constraints placed on freedoms of expression and association during the campaign period that were at odds with Pakistani authorities' stated goal of a wholly fair and transparent election,” the US State Department said.

 

In a multi-party meeting, PML-N dismissed these results and demanded for ‘transparent’ re-election. In this multi-party meeting, the statement said that it was ‘not election but selection’. 

 

It is clear that in these elections, Imran Khan has emerged as the leading force, but it is also evident that this victory is not entirely of him and for him. In Pakistan, the mighty “Deep State”, stood in full support behind him. Even in the lastsometime, the judiciary's role had become extremely suspicious. Imran Khan's reformist image is also questionable, and his inclination towards religious fundamentalism can be seen in working of his government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and also by his intimacy with Maulana Sami-ul Haq, the legendary “Father of Taliban.”

 

After Imran Khan comes to power, it is natural to have a change in Pakistan's policy and manner, but due to the growing role of the Army and its strategic political and economic self-interests, conflicts about authority over power are also natural. And in the history of Pakistan for last 71 years, democracy has been a resting place between the military dictatorship regime and the army does not even need a much excuse to change its role. The Democracy has always gone through bad times, but this time it is more difficult. Now “Bajwa Doctrine” more than a principle, is moving towards implementation, and its impact on Pakistan, region and the world will soon be visible.

 

(The writer is a close observer of Pakistan)