Pakistan Elections Essay
Whilst the tenure of a democratically elected government comes to an end, political parties in Pakistan are gearing up for elections. Almost all significant parties have ruled the country one way or the other during the past five years. Perhaps, Elections 2013 are going to take place at the most critical time in the history of country. On the verge of selling their story to the public, the anti-status quo parties will have to produce a revolutionary and out of the box solutions to people’s problems, or to befool the masses yet once more.
The energetic and aggressive media in its present capacity remains a major factor to influence minds. Still there is a big question mark on whether media can play their role positively and constructively. At the moment, media is the only institution which has the power to make or break the future of the country. Now when elections are just around the corner, any possible equation hinting at the postponement of elections is out of questions. Several attempts have been made and number of rumors has been floating but recent developments suggest that any such effort to derail the electoral system will not be supported by establishment. It is believed that three major factors will decide the outcome of the upcoming elections. First and foremost is an international issue, i.e. withdrawal of US and ISAF troops from Afghanistan. Three major parties (PPP, PML (N) and PTI) are on a serious quest of convincing US officials that their leadership will be the right choice to handle Afghan borders when US withdraws their troops. Two other factors will be internal but international community is keeping a close eye on it, namely economy and energy crisis.
These elections will be dominated by these issues and any party who can provide solution for these problems can ultimately dominate the election results. This is slightly an idealistic statement; given the electoral process in Pakistan has its own dynamics. Yet these issues will affect the outcome of these elections a great deal. Country’s economy is severely jolted by poor economic decisions and terrorism.
IMF has already declined any further assistance on economic revival. Terrorism and mismanagement of resources have coupled to shatter the economy of the country. More alarmingly, next budget is to be prepared by care taker government which is not likely present a popular budget. They will also be hesitant of making any tough decisions with little mandate. Looking for a next installment in terrorism support fund or Kerry-Lugar package will be the ultimate desire as the care taker government will not be in a position to bargain for a bail-out package from the international community. No political party has been able to assure USA that they have the most viable strategy to facilitate US exit from Afghanistan, establish peace in the region, resolution to the border issues with Afghanistan & India and controlling the growing militancy in the country. Other issues that will be of immense importance for next government include controlling the law and order situation in Karachi, de-weaponization in the country, establishing the writ of state in Balochistan and FATA, a cohesive national agenda, new provinces, minimizing corruption, land reforms, farmer-friendly agricultural policy and importantly for a common man; the inflation.
It will be little unfair not to discuss Tahir-ul-Qadri factor for electoral reform in these elections. Regardless of what TUQ achieved with this entire exercise, it is imperative that he certainly had an impact on pushing election commission for strict electoral reforms. All of a sudden, election commission approved rules of qualification for contesting elections and party elections etc. This is more for self-survival than for any sincere efforts for transparent elections. Elections in Pakistan have their own dynamics. This is why parties enchanting slogans of change have to get the ‘electable’ candidates in each constituency. Not only PML(N) has to embrace the once Musharraf’s supporters and PPP has to break into PML(N) and PML(Q) but a party like PTI also had to get the feudal lords, Musharraf’s supporters and infamous politicians.
Fortunately for the people and unfortunately for the political parties, there has been significant awareness about electing the right candidate regardless of any party, race, prejudice, cast or other factors. In this tricky scenario, parties are trying to portray themselves as righteous and honorable entities; at the same time, they are playing their cards on the other front very effectively, i.e. dirty politics! Thanks largely to vibrant electronic and print media in Pakistan. Next few weeks will give a clearer picture of which political party is going to utilize this opportunity. But one thing can be stated with conviction that these elections will be unlike all previous elections in Pakistan. As mentioned earlier, media have the most crucial role to play. These are no doubt the most crucial elections in Pakistan after 1970. These elections will decide Pakistan’s destiny in next few decades.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 30 January 2017
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