Pakistan’s date with democracy

With Nawaz Sharif, the former PM disqualified from contesting the election and jailed, there is a chance former cricket star Imran Khan will lead the country if his party performs well on Wednesday; but the result should give democracy a boost too

July 22, 2018  

Pakistani politician Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) speaks to supporters at a rally in Islamabad on June 30. Khan won fame as a World Cup cricket champion, but he is now seeking to lead Pakistan as a populist, religiously devout, anti-corruption reformist. Photo: AFP / Aamir Qureshi

Pakistani politician Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) speaks to supporters at a rally in Islamabad on June 30. Khan won fame as a World Cup cricket champion, but he is now seeking to lead Pakistan as a populist, religiously devout, anti-corruption reformist. Photo: AFP / Aamir Qureshi

In Nawaz Sharif’s absence, the PML-N is being led by its president, Shahbaz Sharif. He is contesting from NA 132 (Lahore-X). There is also speculation that Maryam Nawaz’s son Junaid Safdar may participate in the election.

There have been whispers that the army was responsible for Nawaz Sharif’s fate, but there has been nothing concrete to prove it.

Chance for Imran Khan

With Sharif in jail, there is a chance for Imran Khan, the former cricket star, to unseat the PML-N government at the federal level. For this to occur, his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has to perform well in Punjab and Sindh, which have 174 and 75 seats respectively.

But in Punjab, the PML-N is strong, while Sindh is regarded as the stronghold of the Pakistan Peoples Party. There is also speculation that the PPP and PML-N may form a coalition to keep the PTI away from power. However, this depends on the results of the election and political developments after the vote.

Supporters of head of Pakistani militant organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Saaed look on and listen as they meet the members of the newly formed political party Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, during a campaign meeting in Islamabad, on July 21, 2018, ahead of the general election.Pakistan will hold the general election on July 25, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHI

Supporters of Hafiz Saaed, head of Pakistani militant group Jamaat-ud-Dawa, listen as they meet the members of the new political party Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, during a rally in Islamabad, on July 21 ahead of the election. Photo: AFP / Aamir Qureshi

The opinion polls say that at the federal level the contest is, mainly, between the PTI and the PML-N. A Gallup poll puts PML-N marginally ahead of the PTI. On the other hand, according to a Pulse survey, the PTI has a lead over the PML-N.

At the provincial level, Pulse Consultant, Gallup Pakistan and the Institute for Public Opinion and Research (IPOR) show that the PML-N is still the voters’ choice in Punjab, while PPP continues to be the favorite in Sindh, Imran Khan remains strong in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and in Balochistan PPP has an edge over the others.

Ahmadis to boycott poll

The Qadiani Ahmadis, who are considered heretics by Sunnis and were declared non-Muslims way back in 1974 by the Zulfikar Bhutto-led PPP government, have decided to boycott Wednesday’s elections. One reason for the boycott is the discrimination practiced against the community by preparing separate voters lists for them bearing the titles “Qadiani men or women.”

Explaining it further, Ahmadi community spokesman Saleemuddin said: “This discriminatory treatment on the basis of religion is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise the Ahmadis of Pakistan … deny them their right to vote. Such prejudicial behavior is an open violation of Pakistani Ahmadis’ rights as citizens of the state and goes against the vision of the founding father of the country and contravenes both the constitution and the very joint electoral system.”

Despite shortcomings, the silver lining is that this election, no matter who wins, will strengthen procedural democracy in Pakistan.

However, the country has to do a lot to establish a substantive democracy to address such issues as prevailing inequality, constitutional, political and social discrimination against minorities, religious and sectarian violence, and institutional supremacy of the military over civilian leadership.

Amat Ranjan is a visiting research fellow at the Institute of South Asia Studies.

source:

http://www.atimes.com/article/pakistans-date-with-democracy/

2 replies

  1. As long as one needs to abuse Ahmadis to gain votes I would not consider that as a ‘boost to democracy’.

  2. Dear Rafiq as we know that most politician will do every thing as long as he can win election, even against his principle and against Human Right. Only few of politician is honest, most of them are hypocrites.

    Ahmadiyya need more nembers in order politician can consider ahmadiyyah voter in election. Do not give up Rafiq
    All love ❤️

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