Islamabad, Pakistan: “Did hatemongering against military establishment help PTI in General Elections 2024, or did bad performance of opponent parties benefit PTI?”
The above-mentioned propositions are core points of discussion among senior journalists, political scientists, and academia in Pakistan.
The turnout of General Elections 2024 was reported as 48%, indicating that 52% of registered voters did not vote and turnout was lesser than that of the 2018 General Elections. This shows that the public is losing trust in the political system and in political parties. In General Elections 2024, the turnout increased in Sindh compared to previous elections and PPP had a landslide victory in interior Sindh while MQM eroded PTI in urban Sindh. Such figures indicate that the working and popularity of opponent parties greatly matter and PPP won over PTI in rural Sindh and MQM in urban Sindh. At the same time, JI got good votes compared to PTI in Karachi.
In Punjab, the major parties were IPP and PMLN and both parties had an election alliance. PMLN was self-assured over its popularity and due to this over-confidence PMLN did not manage its campaign it lost half of the seats to PTI and won half of the seats with the lowest margins like 1900 votes margin over Maryum Nawaz’s seat in Lahore. In Lahore only, PMLN lost three National Assembly seats out of 14 while one seat was given to IPP that won the seat. Additionally, PMLN did not field candidates in 53 seats of the National Assembly due to its election alliance with IPP and GDA. This politically unwise move of PMLN provided an edge to PTI in Punjab.
In KPK, for the last 20 years, ANP and JUIF have been losing popularity now PTI got hold of the province due to the bad governance of previous governments of MMA and ANP and better governance of the 10-year rule of PTI.
Another factor involved in PTI’s success is the hatemongering against state institutions it injected among youth who had less practical experience and knowledge of the realities of societal undercurrents.
Now PTI’s good performance in the General Elections 2024 is being portrayed in a different manner by several self-styled political analysts who always try to make the situation controversial to get program ratings
Before February 8, such political analysts were claiming that General Elections would not be held, but they happened, and then they started efforts to make the election results suspicious and controversial. Interestingly, politicians are strongly influenced by such political analysts and instead of being influenced by non-standard analyses of these journalists, politicians should take their problems to the Election Commission, courts, and other relevant institutions and make decisions for themselves from there, rather than from political analysts who mislead the nation by constantly manipulating television screens.
Dangerously, a narrative is being run mainly by foreign handles and promoted internally that the military establishment has failed to understand public sentiments, and the results of February 8, 2024, are contrary to the expectations of the establishment. It is not only a treacherous but also a thoughtless narrative because every establishment keeps collecting data from the ground whenever any important event is going to be held in any country of the world. The reality is that the military establishment refrained from its involvement at any level before, during, and after polling day because it had no favorites in this election. Multiple losses of stalwarts of PMLN, GDA, IPP, etc are testimonials of a hands-off approach rather than alleged micro-management and the results of KPK confirmed that the establishment had nothing to do with election results.
Now Election 2024 results have come out with no political majority having a simple majority in the Centre and today’s realities being faced by the country are so critical that only a multiparty government under a sane leadership can handle situation being confronted by Pakistan that include:
▪️ The people of Pakistan have elected their political representatives after successful elections. All political parties are expected to contribute positively to resolving the real issues faced by the people of Pakistan.
▪️Amidst prevalent challenges, the situation demands that instead of indulging in blame game and political point scoring, sanity should prevail to come up with policies and strategies to confront the economic and security challenges together successfully.
▪️ People expect the elected political leadership / new government to speak out their plans and strategies on the following aspects, being matters of immediate and definite importance: –
▪️ Preparations for successful engagement with IMF, likely to visit soon after the formulation of the new government
▪️ How to bring inflation down?
▪️ How to create more employment opportunities?
▪️ What are the necessary steps to reduce the poverty level?
▪️ What are the proposed measures to reduce the budget deficit?
▪️ How the current account deficit/ trade deficit can be tackled appropriately. What policy measures are proposed?
▪️ What are the plans for handling PSEs, incurring billions of loss to Pakistan’s economy?
▪️ How to get debt liabilities reduced?
▪️ Proposed plans to overcome/ reduce circular debt?
▪️ How the FDIs can be pulled in. What steps could be taken to attract more foreign investors?
▪️ What are the plans for dealing with External Finance Requirements (USD 24 Bn by Jun 2024)?
▪️ What are the plans for the provision of basic necessities including health, education, and affordable daily commodities to common citizens?
▪️ Do we need any Tax Reforms, how do we do that?
▪️ How to tackle the looming climatic change emergency?
▪️ How political parties/leadership should play their role in combatting the menace of terrorism?
▪️ Important issue of capacity enhancement of LEAs, spec police to counter the terrorists effectively?
The above-mentioned points need to be addressed and only the wise decision of the leaders can handle the situation.
Let’s come out of the shell of our ego and make the best decision keeping our interests above all, so that the coming historian cannot write that we loved our interest more than our country and national interest.
There is no doubt that no party could get enough seats to form a government and the country’s conditions do not allow for re-election. Politicians have to come out of the shell of their ego in national and country interests, they have to put their interests above their niche and make decisions that what is the country’s interest.