THE game of politics has certain rules and regulations that should be followed and respected by all the players. These rules influence and impact the behaviour of almost all the participants, no matter how independent they assume they happen to be.

It is like a football match where players are free to play on the ground, but are bound by some rules that shape their behaviour and ensure fair output of decent quality. For instance, a football player is not allowed to use hands to throw the ball into a goal or be aggressive towards fellow players.

Politics is not much different in this regard. Extrapolating the gaming metaphor, we can ask a few questions. Is there an X/Cause that has the power to frame the rules of the game of politics in a state? Does this X/Cause have an effective lever to influence and shape the political behaviour of all the Y/Affectees in a certain direction even if the Y/Affectees assume they are free? And, who represents that X/Agency that has the power to design the rules for all the Y/Agents in Pakistan? Having raised the questions, one would do well to remember that exceptions are always there. Some players in football have scored goals using the hand even though it is illegal. We all remember that (in)famous ‘hand of God’ incident, don’t we? Are there any players in national politics not playing by the rules of the game designed by the X/Agency?

People often talk about fraudulent elections in Pakistan and try to look for answers in the context of the election day when the game is physically played. However, the answers are hidden beyond the day of the game. They must be searched in the rules that shape and influence the behaviour of the players participating in the game of elections.

So, who represents the X-Agency in Pakistan that has the power to design the rules which all Y/Agents in Pakistan are supposed to follow while playing the game of elections? The government has recently introduced some alterations to the voting process. The opposition is not happy. But why? Maybe the opposition is not focussing on the day of the game itself, and is looking right into the heart of the game where the rules running the game are being framed.

Zeeshan Naeem
Lahore

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2021

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