General elections were held in Pakistan on 25 July 2018 to elect the members of the 15th National Assembly and to the four Provincial Assemblies of Pakistan
Pakistan is a country which has been struggling for democracy since it was founded. There is always a tussle for civil supremacy between the military establishment and political forces. Pakistan has been governed by military dictators four times in the past, but now for the first time in country’s political history, a democratic milestone has been achieved, as two elected governments successfully completed their legal tenure from 2008 t0 2018, after the ten years of military dictatorship. Now Pakistan has elected new representatives in the national and provincial assemblies in this years general elections, the largest in Pakistan’s history.
The 11th general election was held on the 25th July all over the country under tight security. Nearly 106 million registered voters stepped out to cast their ballot, including women in areas where they were previously totally disenfranchised. Although the vote-count is still underway, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has basically won the elections by securing more than 100 seats of national assembly, out of 342. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) secured second position while Pakistan People Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) appeared third.
Election result shows that PTI will establish a federational government, and it is expected that chairman PTI Imran Khan will become the new prime minister. Before the election, all rival parties of PTI claimed that judiciary and military for pre-poll rigging pushed the elections in favor of Khan. Before the election, the legal system was exploited by the judiciary branch to level the ground for Khan’s victory, while their words suggest that intelligence agencies openly worked to politically engineer Khan’s victory, in what some are terming “lawfare”.
Election results were still underway when more than 8 political parties declared the election to be rigged. There was also a report about the ineffectiveness the Result Transition System (RTS) of the election commission of Pakistan. It was also announced that a conference of all political parties will be called soon regarding the disputed election procedures. Most of the political parties refused to accept the outcome. President of PML (N) Shehbaz Sharif in his press conference vigorously stated: “It’s such a blatant rigging that everyone has started crying. Today what they have done has pushed Pakistan back 30 years… We reject this result,” Sharif, who leads the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), told a press conference in Lahore”.
The Chairman of Pakistan People Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) which won the second most seats in the elections raised his concern about the fairness of the electoral process. He took a clear stand on the inference of the military establishment in election. On numerous occasions he told public audiences that there was an active attempt to install puppet government. After the results of these election, the central leadership of the PPPP arranged a press conference in Bilwal house Karachi: the General elections of 2018 are some of the most controversial in the history of Pakistan. Pakistan’s political situation is similar to the situation in Latin America, where the Neo liberal economic system is employing “lawfare”, using the judiciary system as a weapon to destroy opposition parties and install puppet regimes.
Before the general election, many political opponents were disqualified by the judiciary in Pakistan. Many cases were registered against political adversaries to secure the victory for PTI. The rejection of election results by mainstream political parties raised serious doubts about the legitimacy of the general election in the country. Pakistan is a highly polarized state and the disputed general election will cast a shadow on its stability. History is witness to the fact that a manipulated power transfer always brings chaos and instability. Various political parties already warned that the attempt to manipulate the transfer of power will push Pakistan towards havoc. Pakistan is already facing terrorism and separatist movements and the disputed general election results will accelerate hostilities. It is crucial for all those invested in the future of the Pakistani state to look seriously into eliminating such confusions pertaining to elections.