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At last it is over ... or is it?

May 15, 2013

Now that the election humdrum is over, we have learnt a lot of things and need to learn a lot more. While it hasn’t certainly brought the nation together, it has at least  given hope and a reason to believe that timely elections and transfer of power from one civilian government to another can unite us more than anything else.

There is no such thing as an absolutely free and fair elections but I do believe that political parties have the least ability to rig an election. The state does that and even when politicians do it, state machinery is right behind them.

Take for example the matter of 37 million fake votes that were eliminated from the voters list prior to this election. The whole nation wondered over this huge figure being part of our electoral system. It was good riddance but nobody ever shed light on the fact that under whose authority or which helmsman these votes get registered. I am pretty sure this awesome number wasn’t added in a particular term but I am also quite certain that much of it got accumulated during the many military rules. Hence, it was never used to advantage by any particular political party but was employed by the state to endorse a party or to prevent another from taking absolute majority.

Also, bogus voting by the polling staff and foul counting is one thing, not letting anybody cast a vote is quite another. Say, in any constituency or at a polling station where votes were cast on the behalf of people who didn’t turn up can easily be traced by their thumb impressions with NADRA’s support and the deliberate erroneous counting can be corrected by recounting, which Imran has demanded for 25 constituencies. On the other hand, what Khawaja Saad Rafiq has allegedly done was to get inside the DHA-S block polling station and distract the process, causing people standing outside in queue to wait for as long as he could manage and lessen the time available to them to cast their precious votes (because he knew they were all Imran’s followers in that particular area). What, however, needs to be understood is that these ploys never create a difference of say, 40 thousand plus votes between the winner and the runner-up. I’m stating this particular instance, but this thesis I believe, is not uncommon at all worldwide. This does not imply that I am passing judgement on Saad Rafiq of being guilty or innocent. He may very well have stamped all sorts of ballot papers in Charrar Village but DHA- S block is a different proposition altogether.

Though an apparent failure, TUQ’s attempt to sabotage the electoral process was a concern far more grave than the reports and agitation on the alleged rigging in the elections. Worse than that was TTP’s assault on politicians. Both failed because of the maturity gained by our politician and their courage to sacrifice for the cause of democracy. I don’t think that PPP and ANP’s inability to campaign properly had any significant effect on the result of the elections, yet it was their sacrifice which led to the holding of elections. I have nothing against Imran Khan except the despise that he was able to bring forth many among the middle-class youth against politicians. Whenever a calamitous event happened, where an ANP or PPP candidate was killed or abducted, instead of showing sympathy and concern, they gave it short shrift with the argument that the victim was corrupt. Imran should some day bring both the constitution of Pakistan and the Quran together on TV and should quote where either states that the penalty for corruption is death or getting abducted for ransom.

Nawaz, notorious for exercising power like an emperor, seems very careful this time. He is respecting the mandate of the parties in provinces other than Punjab, which is absolutely necessary because he is forming the government in the center only because of the Punjabi vote. He should never let any party play the Sindh/KPK card. The real test of his patience will be while dealing with the always powerful military, even if it is in no mood or hurry to take over the reins, the vibrant judiciary and vocal media. Since he most probably will have his old team back in the cabinet, which will include the likes of Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, Nawaz would have to be really careful because his basic following is still in the traders’ class, which can come to cast their votes before opening their shops but would never shut their work to show solidarity or street power.

Altaf Bhai, I’m afraid, chose the wrong time to take on PTI supporters and his manner wasn’t too appropriate either. I’m no advocate of morality in power politics but I say this because of the unconfirmed reports, which couldn’t make it to the TV, that his house was sealed for 6 hours in the first week of May by the Scotland Yard when he was interrogated. I hear more bad news is in the offing in two months but lets not dabble in uncertain matters.

The writer is a member of the band Beygairat Brigade

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.