By Syed Atiq ul Hassan
Election phobia ended, millions of dollars of state treasury were spent on holding elections in the country by the election
commission and more than that were spent by those who were contesting in these elections. Similarly, millions of dollars were earned by the media from election campaigners. TV anchors, producers, news reporters and analyst had a good time running their businesses and making their ratings on skies. People in villages, towns and cities also had good time of entertainment, over several weeks, with free rides and food in return of listening to speeches from election gurus.
So, what was the end result as far as the change or betterment in the country or making the conditions of the common person better for living? My answer is ‘none’.
A nation is known by its actions. The majority of the people of Pakistan have proved that they don’t want any change in Pakistan, neither for themselves and neither for the country. Well, one condemns my statement by referring to the support of the people received by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Yes, no doubt Imran Khan has received the 2nd largest votes after PML (N) but he could only gain votes from one province of Khaber Pukhtoon Khawa and the fact of the matter is the people of KPK voted Imran Khan not because they wanted change in the country but because they like Imran as being Pathan? Yes, this is the dilemma revealed to the world that the people of Pakistan is a divided nation as being Punjabi, Sindhi, Muhajir, Pathan, Balochi and so on.
The election results have shown that the people of Pakistan, in majority, want to continue liking their leaders on the basis of province, language, caste, tribes and so on. Majority of the people voted on the basis of their own liking or disliking for their own sake not for the sake of Pakistan. Majority of the people proved that they are basically a divided crowd. Nawaz Sharif and his party won in Punjab because people of Punjab voted them as Punjabis not as Pakistanis; Zardari’s Peoples Party won in interior Sind because the people of interior Sind voted them as Sindhis not as Pakistanis; Altaf Hussain’s MQM won only from Sind Urban because people of Urban areas of Sindh voted MQM as Muhajirs not as Pakistanis; Only 40 percent turnout in remaining two provinces of Khaber Pukhtoon Khawa (KPK) and Baluchistan. If Khairbar Pukhtoon Khawa people voted Imran Khan being from Punjab, the people of KPK liked him as a Pathan. In Baluchistan, there has been mass rigging, major parties (JUI-I, PTI, BNP-M and Ahle Sunnrat Wal Jamat) claimed that there has been pre-poll accord between tribal leaders, and it was all designed and set-up.
Pakistan’s biggest issue was not an election and form new assemblies and ministries instead the important issue has been the civic understanding and liberty for the people of Pakistan to objectively achieve a process of fair and fruitful democraticisation. The reform in democratic system will never come from the engineered and designed method of bringing people of their choice on the name of democracy. This election system is a corrupt system supported by Western Powers to bring their own selected people in the government. This election was a complete set-up. And that’s how the Western power stopped the military rule in Pakistan because they have now engineered a replacement by a corrupt civil ruling system.
Prior to the election, the world saw that people of Pakistan were crying for change, they wanted a party to rule which can provide them basic relief, justice, law & order, jobs, fresh water, gas, electricity, health and education. Analyst, Observers and reporters were talking that this election would bring a drastic change in Pakistani politics which would lead to the change in Pakistan for a better system. Millions of dollars were spent from the tax-payers money on holding the elections. The election commission was claiming to conduct hard scrutiny of the contestants according to the constitution of Pakistan and hold fair and clean election. Pakistani media ran millions of dollars of comprehensive campaign appealing people to vote to Pakistan, means vote for those who are good for Pakistan.
According to the statistics of Election Commission of Pakistan, the turnout of the voters of General Election 2013 was 55.2 percent which means only 50 percent people voted from 84.2 million voters. Securing only about 25 percent votes, Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslims League became the ruling party and now forming government. Now, a man who has received only about 10 percent votes from 80 million voters, Nawaz Sharif, will be the ruler of Pakistan making decision for 180 million people. Similarly no other major parties, PTI, PPP and MQM secured more than 8 percent votes from the total number of voters of Pakistan.
If you look at the entire voting process, only 50 percent of the people took part in the election and then there are reportedly rigging, pressurising and influencing factors in the election process. Independent winners make millions of dollars even before going to the parliament selling their seats to the parties who are short of numbers to be in ruling position. Parties who take part in the election don’t have democracy within the party. Parties are ruled by family members, father, sons, brothers, cousins, relatives and people of the same caste and tribes. In the result of the current election, elder brother will be the Prime Minister of Pakistan, younger brother will be Chief Minister of the largest province of Pakistan and their nephews & nieces and relatives will also be holding portfolios in the ministries. And if you look at the entire parliamentarians there are many members of the same family or ‘braderi’ sitting in the national and provincial parliaments. This is the change people of Pakistan wanted. Well as I said, the nation is known by its actions, this is what the people of Pakistan are – a divided nation.
Another dilemma is that popular or frontline leaders of the party contest from more than one constituencies, so that he/she can secure more seats and then keep one which they feel more secure and allocate remaining others to favourable people through re-election process.
This rigged and corrupted process of election process costed Pakistan millions of dollars when Pakistan was already near to bankruptcy. Now these leaders will again be begging to the IMF and other international monetary agencies for more loans on heavy interest putting the nation under further debts, but why should we cry now as this is what the nation wanted?
Is this the change Pakistan was looking for? The same faces and same parties are now sitting in the national parliament with changing sides of the house with the exception of some new stakeholders. Wasn’t this the deal, between Zardari & Nawaz, five years ago which people were talking about – It’s my turn now and the next will be yours. What’s the change? Yes, Imran Khan and his PTI’s new faces are the new stakeholders in Pakistani ruling system. You cannot make change when you are already part of the same system; this is what Imran was saying in his speeches. Will Imran Khan make any change now or even after 5 years? MQM was also talking about the change 15 years ago! What’s the change they brought in the system? Yet, we cannot blame these leaders and their parties, because they had the mandate of the people who want to see this system continue?