On 25 July, general election were held in Pakistan where Imran Khan, who founded the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) in 1996, stands as a victorious leader who is going to form democratic government with having a larger number of seats in his bag for National Assembly. Hats off to the Election commission of Pakistan in conducting the general elections in time where everyone thought that elections might postpone and some even argued for early elections.
Somehow, we’re here. Regardless of who wins or loses, at the end no other but Pakistan emerge victorious with this peaceful democratic transition.
To fully understand what’s happening here, and starting the dogged campaign against armed forces, one needs to analyze the situation on empirical evidences rather than keep on drowning in the sheets of past. This has also been an exceptionally violent buildup to defame forces role. Don’t let the decibels of social media and the freewheeling ways of the internet fool you. Also it’s not like they haven’t talked about such controversies for years, such propaganda appears in every general election process.
To the big picture.
Pakistan’s Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, reiterating his stance from a press conference held earlier this month, rejected the notion that the security forces have any direct role in how the July 25 elections unfolded.
Increasing allegations of the military’s intervention just intended in manipulating the election process. Set aside the sinister and silly stuff against establishment support to any party or to meddle the election process, one should see these elections as a positive sign of true democracy where a democratic transition occurred successfully.
Uncertainty, doubts, and skepticism are always on the rise whenever elections are held in the country. However, seeing Armed forces as a tool to assert their control is just a mare thought arising out of nowhere. It clearly indicated that the military deployment was to help guard the elections as a necessary precaution, given the recent wave of violence.
The military has always held a powerful role in Pakistan, under civilian rule. So, the military’s aim was to skew the threats given under the security conditions Pakistan is going through. It ultimately does not seek political instability in the country.
Lamenting Army’s role with Imran Khan, what one needs to understand is the Khan’s populist running on anti-corruption that set the ground for his success. Khan is a populist running on an anti-corruption and nationalistic platform. The other side of his popularity that worked for his wining position is that he’s well known in Pakistan because of his former career as a cricket player. Probably he lacks understanding on concrete policy issues, but his anti-corruption promises have made him popular.
So, three narratives have defined the 2018 elections: service delivery, corruption and respect for vote.
In this battle of narratives, if one can’t differentiate what’s fair and right and what’s good and bad, a turnout in the favour of PTI shouldn’t have been that big a deal to be linked with armed forces behind its success. It’s a familiar transition process where one party replaces another party for which it hasn’t delivered and now it’s time for Khan to prove himself. It’s all about the fierce political convictions that has changed the whole picture of the election results.
So there’s no need to get carried away just now.The game is really about the pre- and post-poll process: assembling the right weave of candidates nationally and a working majority.
But what’s less noticed is the Democratic continuity that has occurred consecutively, where two full-term civilian-era parliaments completed their tenure, consecutive on-time elections were held and a second consecutive peaceful transition of power to civilians.
The truth is that there is still a lot to take stock of. Conventional wisdom suggests the wild confusion that has gripped the political process with rigging is just a figment of some vested interests.