Connect with us

Pakistan News

Elections are on the horizon…..

Published

on

Islamabad (Imran Y. CHOUDHRY) :- Former Press Secretary to the President, Former Press Minister to the Embassy of Pakistan to France, Former MD, SRBC Mr. Qamar Bashir analysis :
The PPP is totally committed to running for office. The JUI said that now that Imran Khan’s threat has passed, which was the PDM’s ultimate goal, the JUI is set to sweep the polls. The remaining PDM components, with the exception of the PMN(N), PPP, and JUI, are simply pressure groups, and whether or not elections are held on time is unimportant to them.
Elections on time or after are meaningless for newly borne Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) led primarily by sugar and real estate tycoons, and punjab specific, who have a lot of money to win or buy electables but lack charisma and a voter base. In contrast, the PTI and PMN(N) need more time to prepare for elections.
In this time period, the elections are only suitable for the PPP, and rightly so. It is publicly demanding that elections be held on time, and it is also challenging the component parties of the PDM to have the guts to commit themselves to elections. This is due to a variety of factors. The most obvious reason is that both PTI and PML(N) are in their most vulnerable states. The PTI has been heavily battered by the state and the ML(N) due to rising inflation, which has made the common man’s life extremely tough. Second, the province of Sindh has always been a well-defended stronghold of the PPP and will stay such regardless of how the chess board is laid out during the elections at the center and in the provinces. Punjab, like Sindh, has historically been the bastion of the PML(N), but this castle was seized by the PTI after the 2018 election. Though the PTI failed to make a significant dent in the PPP’s power base in Sindh, it did replace the PML(N) in Punjab, the Centre, KP, and, later, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan. Even now, the PPP is unbeatable in Sindh, and if it can collect breakaway electables from the PTI and form an alliance with the newly formed IPP, it may make a significant gain in Punjab and the Centre at the expense of the PML(N), as well as take over space vacated by the PTI in Punjab and Sindh. This is because the PPP had skillfully played its cards. It wasn’t in direct battle with the PTI, it never crossed the line when pursuing the establishment, and it never took an extreme stance like the PML(N) or the PTI on political, security and economic issues. This posture has made PPP the establishment’s first choice in the current scenario, if the rest of the factors remain constant. The defeat of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) in Punjab in the 2018 elections was attributed to a number of causes, some of which still exist and others have been addressed.
Wounded, defeated, cripled, and broken PTI however, needs more time to regroup and mend fences with real political factors, which PTI previously believed would not react politically and kinetically until May 9, when political factors applied their might in such a way that clearly identified and hammered home the limits of space allocated to politicians, and was a clear command to stay within their skins and allocated space.
The old bread had learned its limits the hard way, taking great care not to cross the redline and remain within the space allotted to them, whereas the new bread of political workers and activists, who had never tasted and felt the state’s might and wrath, were exposed to it for the first time, once they trespassed and entered areas they should not have even in their wildest dreams. The magnitude of the state reaction and the outcome astounded them and their leaders. Both are now in hiding, licking their wounds, nursing their physical and psychological cuts and bruises, and waiting for the mighty’s wrath to calm down and the outcome of recent developments such as the formation of IPP and the recent exchanges of hot words between PPP and PMN(L) to settle in any direction.
PTI requires time and space that it currently lacks in order to take a closer look at its objectives, reassess its goals and strategies, rebuild its base of support, and regain the trust of the people by re-portraying itself as a force of change through democratic means rather than confrontation and violence. Right now, PTI’s best choice is to take a step back and examine what went wrong. What were the party’s objectives? Were they logical? Were the strategies successful? After determining what went wrong, the party may set new goals and techniques that are more likely to succeed.
After being broken to its core, the party must recover the people’s trust by demonstrating its commitment to democratic values, representation of the people’s interests, and commitment to remaining honest and accountable to the people. Although the odds are slim, it has the potential to re-emerge as a force for change by advocating for policies that benefit people rather than opposing the status quo, state elements, state institutions, or international bureaucracy.
Agenda of PML(N) to form PDM was clear, to remove Imran Khan, discharge corruption cases against its leadership, put Imran Khan behind bars, weaken the PTI to the extent that it remains no more a threat, bring back Nawaz Sharif and go for election with him on the lead.
The entire plan was conceived ingeniously and executed with precision in order to accomplish these mighty goals. However, it was not a plan that made PDM’s ideal a reality; rather, the numerous mistakes made by the PTI’s leadership aided their cause. First attempt to dissolve the national assembly, which was viewed as a masterstroke by the PTI, was subsequently reversed, and the assemblies were reinstated per the Supreme Court’s directives. In desperation, all PTI members of the National Assembly resigned, opening the door for the PDM, which swiftly installed a phony opposition and began enjoying a smooth ride in the parliament, passing many laws and resolutions that may not have been passed had the PTI been in the opposition. The PTI leadership dissolved the Punjab and PK Assemblies without obtaining any guarantees, making the agreement in writing and public, leaving itself completely exposed, vulnerable, and feeble. These blunders and many others demonstrated the PTI leadership’s lack of political acumen, which culminated in the 9th of May and the subsequent breakdown of the PTI and its leadership.
First was the anti-incumbency factor which contributed to the defeat of the PML(N) because it had been in power in Punjab for two straight terms, and there was a sense of tiredness and unhappiness among certain voters who were yearning for change. This Factor is no more relevant now.
The second was the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s decision to dismiss Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister in July 2017 and subsequent verdicts against other PMLN officials generated the perception of a party in chaos. Nawaz Sharif remains a convict, barred from participating in politics for the rest of his life, and the PMN(L) is attempting to reverse this state of the affairs by enacting a number of measures, including the passage of the Supreme Court Procedure and Practices Act, 2023, which was later suspended by the Supreme Court, and now the amending the election law instead of making constitutional amendment, which was marred by controversy shortly after its passage.
The third but decisive factor was the promotion of Imran Khan as the nation’s salvation, whose orchestrated popularity pushed PML(N) out of the running for the election. PML(N) never acknowledged its defeat, claiming that the elections were rigged and engineered to favor Imran Khan, but this had no effect. Khan’s charismatic personality, anti-corruption stance, and promises of change resonated with many voters, particularly the youth, resulting in an increase in PTI’s popularity and contributing to the party’s victory. However, this factor is no longer relevant to the impending election. Due to its myopic policies, PTI has been weakened, its leader has been wounded, and both have become vulnerable. The establishment, which lost its heart to him, became extremely offended by the PTI’s flagrant stance against the state, withdrew its support, and reversed all political capital that was granted to him as a favor and not necessarily as a right.
The fourth factor was The PTI’s campaign in Punjab, which was well-organized, centered on addressing issues such as corruption, unemployment, and economic inequality, and utilized social media platforms effectively. Its grass-roots campaigning enabled PTI to engage with a wide variety of voters. After the unfortunate events of 9 May, however, the PTI’s strength has been severely hampered by the assault on social media activists and journalists. In addition, the other parties are catching up in their use of social media for political campaigning.
The fifth factor that contributed significantly to the PTI’s success in 2018 was the roping of electable candidates by any means possible, and in some cases by coercing them to transfer their allegiance to the PTI. This action substantially strengthened the PTI’s position in Punjab and weakened the PML-N’s. This factor is also no longer effective, as the majority of electables who switched parties and left PTI to rejoin their original party or to join parties that pay them more for their loyalty and services have joined or will join parties that offer higher compensation.
The sixth factor was internal divisions and factionalism within the party, which hindered its ability to present a united front during the elections and weakened the PML(N)’s overall appeal in Punjab and the center, were the sixth factor that contributed to its defeat in the 2018 elections. This factor remains alive even today. Ex-Prime Ministers Khakan Abbasi and Muftah Ismael, as well as many others, are openly criticizing party decisions regarding the economy, ongoing but tense negotiations with the IMF, and the development and dissemination of contradictory narratives on political issues.
Four of the six factors ascribed to PML(N)’s defeat in the 2018 elections have been neutralized, one is partially resolved, and only one remains before PML(N) gives the green light for elections in October 2023.
As a significant component of PDM, it is using its influence as a bargaining chip with political and state institutions to secure their full assistance and support in bringing Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan exonerated of all charges. It persuaded the parliament to pass the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act 2023, which was then suspended by the Supreme Court. As a result, it forced the component parties of PDM to pass amendments to the Election Act that changed the limitations on how long a parliamentarian can be disqualified. It remains to be seen how and when the Supreme Court will react to these seemingly incorrect amendments. Once Nawaz Sharif arrives in Pakistan, the second unresolved factor, party disunity, will also be resolved automatically.
This would mean that the demand of PML(N) to create a level playing field has been met and it is ready for elections. Otherwise, assuming all other factors remain constant, it may attempt to gain an additional year before holding elections. However, PML(N) may also consider the formation of IPP, which is a clear indication that the establishment does not completely trust either the PPP or PML(N) and wants to create a hung parliament that can be swayed in either direction at will. It should also consider that the wind is currently flowing in favor of elections and that time is quickly slipping away.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2023 The Light Newspaper London. All Rights Reserved