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


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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.

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The writer is a member of the band Beygairat Brigade.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (37) Closed

khanzada May 15, 2013 02:36pm
they vote for PPP in 2008.
Mansi May 15, 2013 08:44pm
Editor, you could have removed a lot of obvious grammar mistakes in this column.
Muhammad Ahmed Mufti May 15, 2013 09:27pm
It is normal. One who wins Ohio and Florida wins US presidential race. Similarly party who wins Ontario gets in power in Canada. I am sure there are many more examples. In time Punjabis will and rest of the Pakistan will vote for the best candidate. Give democracy a chance and time.
Irma May 15, 2013 10:19am
So goes the facile black-and-white narrative. A large part of Southern Punjab was a PPP stronghold before they made a big mess of everything in the last five years. PTI is a close second in Punjab this time; the first time they have contested general elections.
Aarif May 16, 2013 03:35am
Mr. Kamal has a very poor memory. Punjab has voted Bhutto and Zardari clan into power more than all Punjabi polititians combined! Unfortunately there is lot of anti Punjabi prejudice, which raises it's ugly head frequently. This is very damaging for Pakistan.
mrachakai May 17, 2013 07:19am
The dilemma is not that Punjabi voted for PPP or PML N, rather the question is that why only Punjab has the power to Vote a party to be the ruler in Pakistan? why the mandate from Sindh, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is useless when it comes to rule Pakistan? Why it is necessary for a party to get Punjab's support to form strong government in Pakistan? It is obvious that only if Punjab is pleased with a political party they can rule Pakistan, irrespective of their stature in the other provinces of Pakistan.
Shehryar May 16, 2013 09:45am
@kamal 1. 1967 Lahore, Punjabis laid the foundation of Pakistan Peoples Party and indulged in the followership of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto 2. 1970 General Elections, PPP won 62 seats from Punjab out of 81 3. Punjabis voted for PPP in 1977, 1988, 1993 and 2008 4. Out of 9 general elections in the country, Punjabis voted 5 times for PPP. Please get ur facts right
Nasir May 17, 2013 01:22am
No they did not get your facts straight, only in Southern Punjab PPP got seats, and that's why N-League does not want Punjab divided, they can rule southern Punjab through votes from Central and North.
Nasir May 17, 2013 01:20am
PPP got votes all over Pakistan, Nawaz league has "never got votes all over Pakistan, let's look at the Election results of this Party in all previous elections and decide for yourself.
Syed-S May 16, 2013 01:02am
And how do you think, Z.A.Bhutto won in Pakistan and Punjab ?
R.Govindarajan May 15, 2013 09:35am
Excellent.An accurate analysis and well intended suggestions. Could have said something on improving Indo-Pak relations also . Thanks for a wonderful piece .
Jan May 16, 2013 01:40am
I don't think that is a fair assessment as Bhutto got his winning start from Punjab and all the years that PPP has been in power has a lot to do with punjabis voting for leaders from other provinces. This time if PPP didn't win it is more about their performance over the last 5 years than it's leaders being from sindh. This time PTI did get a lot of votes from Punjab as well and likely more in percentage per seat than Sindh and Baluchistan . I hope all of us want a national party not a regional party. If PMLN doesn't live up to it's promises to our people then Inshallah PTI would win from all the provinces next time.
Jalaluddin S. Hussain May 16, 2013 08:38pm
I am not Punjabi-speaking but a Pakistani-Canadian and belong to French Quebec nation for the last more than 30 years! For sure, Nawaz Sharif won in his Lahore constituency because of PAKISTANI votes. Why have we not shed off our prejudices even after 65 years of Pakistani hood? It seems Pakistanis who are living outside Pakistan are more patriotic than many who live inside. It is pity!
naseem May 15, 2013 11:27pm
Absolutely Hog wash. Where did Bhuttos got there maximum votes? PUNJAB. Everytime we hear of the SINDH CARD. Play it or has Altaf bhai already played his hand.
Rashid May 15, 2013 11:37pm
You contradict yourself in the two sentences. If you mean Punjabis don't for parties whose leadership is based outside Punjab, then how come PPP was in government for the last 5 years and three terms before that. Even if you mean Punjabis don't vote for a candidate from another province whose is running on a constituency in Punjab, your comment still doesn't make sense. How many candidates you know (other than top leaders, remember that both BB and ZAB both won from Punjab, I am sure there are others as well) who run from constituency outside their province? Just to be clear, I from KPK not Punjab.
a May 15, 2013 11:46pm
We here in punjab do not vote on the basis of ethnicity, Once Punjab was stronghold of PPP that was based in Sindh. If you will perform bad you will be punished by voters. South punjab voted for Nawaz yet they call themself ''Saraike'' not punjabi. He got votes from KP as well. Correct your thoughts.
Sid May 17, 2013 08:03am
Go and check your facts dude....his family belongs to a village, part of Punjab in India.
Israr Khan Ismail Zai May 16, 2013 06:35am
One province or a certain group of people must not be given the authority and power to decide for the whole country, don't think it's fair.
Mohammed Ali May 15, 2013 03:50pm
75% &25% agreed.If any body wins from Punjab and can rule the whole nation.(Pakistan).There should be some justification. Mohammed Ali.
Tahir May 15, 2013 03:36pm
they voted for Bhutto once..
Shabedeh May 16, 2013 10:40pm
PPP gov came in power because last time Punjabi vote was split amongst "Punjabi" different parties, giving PPP the edge. then some Punjabi parties Q league etc, join the PPP and let them form the gov. no thanks to Punjabis ... got it?
Kdspirited May 15, 2013 03:18pm
Punjabis vote for bradari just like sindhis vote for the vaderas and baloch vote for the sepratists
Shabedeh May 16, 2013 10:41pm
our Khan for us Pukhtunes.
Ex-Jiyala May 16, 2013 05:04am
true somehow. however looking on the largr picture, Punjab was the reason for the rise of PPP, and Punjab has also been the reason for the demise of PPP. PPP at one point of time gave hope, and now it is.....
butts May 17, 2013 01:01am
wrong, its punjab which votes for progress and development don,t blame their (PPP and ANP/MQM) incompetence on punjab.
butts May 17, 2013 01:05am
wrong , punjab voted for development and progress under the available resources and limitations set by MR Zardari,s federal government. do not blame their incompitance and corruption on punjabis. i wonder why an article like this is even allowed to be published on a leading news paper like dawn trying to divide the already divided nation. it means in last 5 yrs we were ruled by sindhis.
Riaz Ahmad May 17, 2013 01:08am
With great sadness, I am convinced, Imran is wasting his time; when a society loses the ability to distinguish between moral and immoral, just and unjust, good and bad, only a miracle can save that society. Pakistan sadly is being consistently and systematically being destroyed by its corrupt society.
A. Jafri May 15, 2013 01:15pm
What with this nonsense of Punjab votes for punjabi's???? Didnt PPP just completed 5 years of their elected administration - Isnt it a interior Sindh based party which has been elected several times to power in the past? Surely PPP didnt come to power because Sindh propelled them into power. This ethnic dividing language should be looked down on, we are all Pakistani's before we are anything else.
butts May 17, 2013 01:14am
i think this article should be removed it is dividing the nation on wrong facts, who voted for PPP last time , what people of karachi and hyderabad vote for, who won from sind, and who wins in KPK, its a phenomenon that happens all over the world but its the punjab who made it possible for sindi leaders to come in power 4 times in pakistan history, so absolutely a politacally motivated bogus article written, should be removed by the Dawn team.Dawn is a national level news pape atleast i think so.
Nasir May 17, 2013 01:25am
Not true for Canada, look at the first 2 election results for Harper. And Ohio and Florida are balancing states not most populated. A better example is UP in India, and that's why rest of India hates UP.
Nasir May 17, 2013 01:27am
Dude South Punjab in the last 3 Election not Central and North, where "Takht-e-Lahore rules.
gangadin May 15, 2013 12:14pm
That is complete non-sense. It was Punjab that lifted Ayub Khan and it was Punjab that lifted Bhutto' PPP.
Zain May 15, 2013 12:08pm
PunJabis have been voting for Bhuttos for a long time so i dont think this arguement is right that Punjabis will vote only for punjabis.
Anjum Arshi May 17, 2013 02:45am
I think in a large part people voted against Army rule. The message is very strong and clear. People want to change governments without Army interference. I am from Balochistan and we don't hate Punjab but we do hate the generals who have created East Pakistan like situation there. I don't think Army has learnt any lessons ever but it is now up to the people to support democracy. This will require patience and perseverance. Jinnah wanted this nation to have faith, unity and discipline. Army rule creates confusion, division and disorder. Give democracy a chance this time. Please.
CAT May 15, 2013 11:41am
Who will the Pathans/Sindhis/Baloch vote for? Punjabis?
Aadil May 15, 2013 10:09am
Nawaz Sharif is a Kashmiri and not a Punjabi
Kamal May 15, 2013 08:59am
One who wins Punjab he wins Pakistan because Punjab has more constituencies than other provinces. Punjabis will vote only for Punjabis.,only rarely they vote for other ethnic candidates.