General Elections 2018’s timely glimpses, reflections and recollections!

By Karim Khan

Glimmer of ‘hope’ of transition from ‘government to governance’ as focus for a ‘New Social Contract’ in the Imrani Muhahida i Imrania after that of ‘Benaziria’ and ‘Sharifia’ as a new political system to deliver for New Pakistan?

Thanks God! It is over now and the ‘New Pakistan’s’ new prime minister—elect has now already delivered his victory speech in his characteristic confident style. He also featured and spelt out the broad contours or policy guidelines of both the foreign policy and that of the home front’s internal affairs as well along with other matters of supreme national interest. Many of the electronic media house anchors like that of Samaa TV channel etc, analysts and political pundits, and even his adverse political opponents and especially that of the Sharif family’s Hamza Shahbaz and other electoral contenders appreciated his broadminded gesture of his to-be-majority party government’s avowal to refrain from mere political victimization of opponents. On his to-be-incumbent government’s end, Khan Sahib also offered investigation of any charges of any possible rigging on Wednesday’s polling day. This pleased many, and now it remains to be seen as to what extent the Captain does in this regard in the practical context of the challenging five-year stint, if luckily it is let complete its tenure like in the ten years before him. If PTI government and its leadership practically set such great precedents of flourishing norms of political decency by going an extra mile, it will really be a great milestone in the political and democratic future of the years and decades to come in the country. It is now to be seen if the new tide of Tsunami has really touched and flushed the seaside and mountains of the electorate and if it can really now deliver based on PTI’s great achievement based performance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) where it made history by making its second consecutive government by bagging as much as 67 majority seats as officially declared by ECP today. The ECP spokesman (Additional Director) also gave updated figures of out of 251 constituencies’ result received through its timely and innovative RTS (Result Transmission System), as much as majority seats in the NA as of 114. ECP has yet to update again and finalize the figures. Yet, media houses’ private television channels unofficially put the figures at 119 or 120 PTI seats majority in the house of public representatives. This has yet to be authenticated and finally updated by the ECP.

Yes. With PTI winning the majority vote and some political stalwarts and heavyweights having lost in the almost two-month race, the election fever is after all over now that seemed to snatch the sleep and peace of mind of almost all including both the voter and the voted for. The nation went to the polls in the second of its recent ten-year history of having luckily completed the mandated five-year spell or tenure. Previously, the nation’s democratic journey unfortunately used to be so checkered and bumpy one of mostly not having let complete its electoral term as witnessed on many occasions in the past. Or even if it was hardly let to complete, it used to echo dissenting voices of mid-term elections or it used to be overburdened with mob overtones or unnecessary political polarization and instability. Our collective democratic stint and life span had in the past mostly to be a curtailed and short-lived one because of intermittent military takeovers or other factors the national history witnesses. This was so especially before and even after the decades of eighties and nineties. Before, it has another historical dimension to be analyzed in a separate discussion someday.

There is almost landslide victory for the captain-led Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) in the general elections of day before yesterday. There is much new, interesting and lesson-learning as well in the recent polls. It was unique also in the sense that for all the contending political parties’ electoral campaign to be successful in the end, their electioneering strategies had to be chalked out wisely, cleverly, carefully, decisively and aggressively as well. Thus both the parities concerned and their ‘electable’ candidates fielded had to be ‘voter-smart’ and result-oriented enough to reap maximum political benefit in the polls on the strategic, tactic and operational levels respectively.
As provided for, and also unequivocally avowed, in PTI’s party manifesto and recent top-gear or bit aggressive electoral campaign starting from the last day of May 30th to July 25th as constitutionally stipulated by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), one of the main driving forces and thrust for PTI to reign supreme in almost the nook and corner of the recently voting Pakistan’s electoral constituencies is PTI’s clear-headed leadership’s focus on human development rather than on mega projects like the lavish outlays of funds for Metros and Orange Lines etc this time as such, as mega projects and schemes were voted for by the electorate of 2013 and they also know the repercussions and political implications of them as reasons for rallying their massive support under the PTI banner this time as a new litmus test of new orientations of political dynamics or ‘change of taste’. Previously, sorry to say and to be bravely admitted by the past rulers, the focus and preference was not on governance as much as such as now it is being witnessed by such indicators as outlines in the foregoing lines by PTI and its determined leader Imran Khan in whom most of the country’s teeming millions see the resolve to fight corruption and its offenders and ensure easy and low-cost justice and change of thaana culture. This is among a number of somewhat new or at least ‘new-looking’ bold initiatives he envisions to implement in the social and political fabric of the nation. He withstood all odds after his 2014 sit ins (dharnas) for which he was even labeled for having flourished the undesired political culture of blaming and vilifying his political rivals. He was even blamed to be Taliban Khan and back-door comer to the power corridors of the country, as they contended, with the help of the establishment, which was even named as Khalai Makhlooq (the extra terrestrial creature) and his being power hungry election-engineering etc . And all these allegations or charges or blaming is on the record as is time and time again voiced against him. Yet other factors and dimensions of PTI’s winning-combination strategy is based on its focus on a corruption-free Pakistan by its inclusive manifesto or PTI version of charter of Magna Carta basic human rights and self-reliance as compared to heavy financial borrowing by predecessor governments from the Brettonwoods institutions of IMF and the World Bank. Anyway, he got to be cautious as well on these fronts as it may undermine his image next time, especially viz a viz his views on defending the voiceless.

All that rhetoric of election campaigning is now gone and already over and what we all should focus and work on is what kind of peculiar power configurations is to be seen in the National Assembly and also in the provincial ones and later in the cabinets. By working on is meant in the optimistic and positive sense of collaborating and cooperating to combat the menace of corruption which has already been so rampant in our body politic and overall polity and to look forward to build a New Pakistan. Mere chanting of slogans has not been a good precedent in the past. So, for PTI leadership, it is a herculean task as implantation of manifesto or political vision is quite different from doing so on a limited provincial level. The PTI leadership has started hectic efforts to form its government and it has named some likely and deserving senior leaders for its federal cabinet soon to be sworn in next week or so. Let us be passionate and hope for the best, for although it is not easy, it is the only best option all are left with.

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