In the complicated landscape of governance, states are faced with a conundrum whether they were formed as state for people or if it is simply people’s appendages to such entities. The former champions inclusivity and welfare, representing a democratic ethos; the latter tends to authoritarianism which suggests a more demanding strategy. The 21st century necessitates states to evolve, focusing on the will of people and considering shifting political dynamics.
A retrospective analysis of Pakistan’s electoral history reveals the consistent effort to maintain democratic ideals. Until 2018, election failed to be a true reflection of people’s choices as the democratic process became an act engineered with manipulations and disregard for public will. Such cases are numerous where the will of the electorate was undermined and so keeping up with a recurrence of disillusionment. This historical background emphasizes the importance of anticipated change in 2024. The aim was for the electoral process to be free and fair at last, symbolizing true democratic values
The 2024 election results opened auspiciously, as initial indicators suggested that voters at large favored independent candidates whose interests aligns with those of Imran Khan or PTI. The dynamics changed, and while initially the surge continued, unsettling developments emerged. First, excuses of network and internet problems were given out but underlying issues appeared, such as claims of police meddling, refusal to re-count and opacity in results presentation increased the level uncertainty around these elections which were cast into question. Focusing on examples of cases where candidates, first declared as winners with evidence in form-45 were now losers emphasizes the need for a deep analysis into electoral mechanisms. However, analyzing the disturbance these irregularities may cause to public trust reveals possible long-term consequences of such disruption for the democratic image of the state.
In this ambivalence, the state must necessarily understand what democracy is all about. The people, through their enthusiastic participation, have voiced their choices, emphasizing that Pakistan is a state for the people, not the reverse. The visible generational shift in the election outcomes articulates that political parties should realize how to adjust their policies according to changing interests and not try influencing results. The repercussions of failing to understand in this direction transcend the immediate political arena, stripping even that which underpins trust between a state and its citizenry. The socio-economic factors of the generational shift form an in depth analysis which allows understanding how political landscape is changing. The power of digital platforms is very important in political discourse and that fact cannot be denied. Analyzing the trends on social media against election manipulations sheds light on how these platforms become a double-edged sword, reflecting both the aspirations and concerns of the electorate.
To encourage democratic atmosphere, the state should adhere to what electorate choose. The manipulation of results through state machinery is likely to alienate the youth, and cause erosion in public trust. Transparency, and when necessary recounts, as well as an impartial electoral process will eventually lead to a much stronger democracy. As the preserving force of democratic ideals, hence state has to take actions on challenges raised by candidates and citizens as well in order to sustain a fair process.
“In the midst of ambiguity and possible manipulation, Pakistan is at a crossroads whereby the state should either be truly for its subjects thereby validating their choices or set it on an unstable path that might erode democracy –a fundamental pillar in building progressive nations. The politics are not simply political; they go to the core of a state’s very being, determining its course in future years”. The demand for democracy in Pakistan is not just a political necessity but it also has become an imperative to the nation’s development. Engineering electoral outcomes not only damages the public image of state but also erodes popular trust. A true democracy is not a choice; it’s the time and people, making sure that Pakistan remains to be a state for its citizens rather than vice versa. The story of a progressive Pakistan rests on the democratic principles, which should not be compromised for immediate gains.