Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Pro Status Quo" Elections in Pakistan

It’s estimated that 36 million electors out of the 86 million were newly registered, and 60 per cent turnout of voters is surely a significant sign that people are sick and tired of the stinky status quo of bad governance and rampant corruption.

Unfortunately, Imran Khan’s political tsunami has bypassed the whole country, yet it reached the North, where the residents seriously welcomed the “anti status quo” tsunami. Miraculously, the Pashtun population succeeded in protecting its mandate from getting stolen.

If the PTI makes the next government in the province of KP, it would have five years to do the repair and present a model to the rest of the country. This province is also blessed with natural resources, oil, gas, coal reserves, and huge hydropower potential.

Bringing peace will surely attract foreign investors to the province ushering in a new era of prosperity under the PTI government for people of the province.

Sadly, election 2013 was a day of massive rigging -specifically in Punjab and Sindh, because according to convincing evidence there was a negative scenario where the turnout even exceeded 100% reaching 300% suggesting nothing but a ballot stuffing illegality.

Among other severe scenarios were the voting at gun point, violence, and other intended clerical irregularities encouraging “incomplete-vote-casting” aimed at adding to unacceptable ballots in order to give unfair benefit to the vested interests.

Despite all this, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) went ahead delivering its “acceptance speech” and announced Nawaz Sharif as its new Prime Minister, wonderful!
Just imagine the over-excited winners didn’t even wait for the official announcement by the Election Commission of Pakistan. And, congratulations already started pouring in from foreign lands-wow!

Furthermore, the Media hype and TV channels’ announcing results before the “voting-time-deadline” was a little bit too much, as that amounts to manipulation through robbing the independent thoughts of the electors. Obviously, if the “political free will” gets compromised this way, then where is the free and fair election?

Having emerged as a winner party, the PML-N faces a lot of tough challenges ahead.
Rescuing the drowning economy, tailoring foreign relations in the best interests of Pakistan are quite difficult ones.
And, dealing with three different provincial governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Baluchistan will not be that easy either.

Since the PML(N) has rich repeaters who have wealth of experience as well, certainly, there will be a strategy in place. However, prioritizing the targets will still be needed.
Starting with correcting the electricity shortage as number one priority, the new regime will have to fix terrorism and the law and order situation to revive the economic health of the country on a faster track.
Furthermore, for facilitating effective governance, a reasonably tailored cabinet is urgently needed for delivery to the impatient public whose tolerance level seems to be around zero.

The problem is when it comes to appointing Ministers, accommodating party office bearers and political allies will be a real fun for Nawaz Sharif unless he plays political maneuver skilfully.
Question is whether the PML (N) is going to eliminate the status quo of VIP culture and other corruption culture as well as disallow a lavish spending on privileges to the parliamentarians and the office bearers. Answer is “no” because change of mindset can’t be expected at this point in time.

Tradition of Rigging: No matter what, generally greed becomes the motivating factor overtaking one’s conscience; hence the evil leads the contestants to win by hooks or by crooks. Many videos can be viewed on social network confirming rigging of the polls.
On the other hand, PTI leaders claim the party would emerge victorious if free and fair re-election is conducted in NA-250. PTI supporters in Lahore demanded a transparent re-election in NA-122 and NA-125.

While the senior PTI leader Hamid Khan said he would lodge a complaint with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against election rigging across Punjab. “We will not allow those who stole our mandate to live peacefully,” he said while talking to participants of the sit-in. He claimed the results were changed in many constituencies and maintains that PML-N did carry out rigging across Punjab. Also, the PTI Chairperson has already demanded a fresh re-count of the votes in the disputed constituencies.

So far, the ECP has decided to go ahead with re-election in 43 polling stations of NA 250 on 19 May.
Painful reality remains - either the morally bankrupt politicians are blind and cannot learn from the consequences faced by the past wrongdoers, or they don’t give a damn to ethical values; thus prefer ignoring the rules, law and the constitution.

Again, the protesters are out there on the streets doing limited sit-ins against the massive rigging in the recent elections. In central and rural Punjab the same reports are emerging.
Failure of the ECP is sad of course. If the army and rangers were deployed in sensitive areas, then what did stop them from moving against the culprits?

Currently, the country is going through tough financial problems of its own, and IMF installment is due soon so it cannot bear the cost of re-election. But, there is a positive effect  of May 11 Pak election on the stock market. Furthermore, Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Imran Khan in the hospital is positive news in the right direction.
The lessons learnt from the said election exercise are useful for improvement.
Indeed with time comes the political and democratic maturity