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Why should Pakistan not go for early General Elections? 

Agha Iqrar Haroon

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The parliamentary committee of the multiparty government has decided to stay in power till the expiry of the current tenure of the National Assembly which would end in August 2023.

This decision came in the backdrop of the economic condition of Pakistan which is not too far away from a possible economic collapse that was intentionally or unintentionally engineered by the PTI government that was voted out in the first week of April 2022. Almost just in a month, now PTI is claiming that a multiparty government is responsible for economic disaster. Laughter can only be the answer to this statement of PTI.

There was a divide in the parliamentary committees of multiparty governments over the decision not to go to early elections. PMLN and JUI (F) wanted early elections but other parties like MQM and PPP were of the view that early elections would be disastrous for the country, must be held after the new census, and Pakistan must be driven out of the economic death cell where PTI left the country and decide the next Chief of Pakistan Army to avoid alleged attempts of PTI leadership to develop cracks in the rank and files of Pakistan Army. I personally support the idea of staying in power till the original date of the next elections because any early elections would further increase the social, economic, and political polarization that has been injected by former Prime Minister Imran Khan. However, I have some fears. Since Imran Khan has been and is still a blue-eyed boy of many therefore fulfilling his desires is the foremost duty of those who pampered him for years. He can even ask the moon to be on earth if he wishes to play with it.

For having an impartial opinion about why early elections should not be held? we need to countercheck ground realities.

The first issue is holding a new census which is the must requirement for delimitation of constituencies. Moreover, the Sindh Assembly refused to accept the results of the 2017 census, stating that millions of people were shown with double addresses and counted in their home provinces despite living and working in Sindh and the whole process was challenged in Supreme Court. Almost all political parties of Sindh believe that a new census that is due in 2022 would be held and then the delimitation process would start without further delay. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also understands that the delimitation process must be done before the next general elections. Urban and ruler division is a very important issue for Sindh and urban parties know that delimitation after the census would increase urban seats in the Provincial as well as in National Assembly.

Another very serious issue is that ECP is run without full representation of provinces. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan deliberately did not fill seats from two provinces his party had governments— the Punjab and KPK. Now ECP is run by Sikandar Sultan Raja (Chief Election Commissioner), Nisar Ahmed Durrani Member Sindh, and Shah Mohammad Jatoi Member Balochistan while seats of Member Punjab and Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are vacant.

According to my understanding former Prime Minister Imran Khan kept the ECP half operational because he had fears that the Foreign Funding case under trial against him would result in his disqualification therefore let the ECP at half-strength because if the decision comes against him, he would say that ECP is the half operational body and he does not accept the decision of a body that is not fully operational.

PTI has already decided to go against Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in the Supreme Judicial Council claiming he has biases against PTI leader Imran Khan. Should ECP hold new general elections without having representation of Punjab and KPK? is another very important constitutional issue. However, this issue may not be very important for Imran Khan unless he will use it in his favor in the future if the election results do not come up according to his expectations. Sometimes it looks like former Prime Minister Imran Khan does not believe in Constitutional institutions because he actually does not believe in the constitution 1973 if it does not install him as prime minister and place his party man as President. Imran believes only in what gives him fruits. For him everything like Judiciary, Army, Constitution, and Parliament are useful if they go in his favor otherwise he criticizes them in an exceptionally ill manner way.

For Imran Khan, Army is an animal if it decided to stay apolitical, Parliament is a House of corrupt, chor (thieves) and evils and the Parliamentarian system brings traitors into power, CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja is a biased person and Supreme Court favors only powerful and does not do anything for the common man. He believes that whosoever stays neutral is actually against him. Impartiality and partiality have different connotations and denotations for Imran Khan. His problem got serious with CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja when ECP took serious action against naked rigging committed by the PTI government in the Daska by-election. He went on head-on-collision with the chief of the Pakistan Army when he refused to become a party in the political move of vote of no-confidence against Imran Khan, he does not like the constitution because it fixes rules for running the country while Imran Khan openly says that he wants a system in which his words are the law of the land—A Greek Prince kind of personality he has.

Another very important issue related to early elections is Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) system. ECP had categorically said that it would not hold general elections through Electronic Voting Machine unless over 20 flaws it indicated in the process were not rectified. ECP in November 2021 strongly criticized the government of PTI for rushing up the process of floating tenders to acquire electronic voting machines (EVMs) and asserted that it was capable of pulling off the task with powers granted to the electoral body by the constitution. Another point raised by ECP was the technical issues related to the overseas voting process and Overseas Voting Technical Committee was formed to review the technical glitches.

It may be mentioned that the ECP is an independent constitutional institution that carries out its duties within the constitutional framework. ECP complained to President Arif Alvi against an alleged bully of the PTI government because the presidential office is the right place to address such issues but ECP members claim that President Arif Alvi kept smiling by listening to complaints of ECP and did not support ECP against the then Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The matter of voting rights for Overseas Pakistanis is also critical for political parties and the majority of political parties are not in favor of giving voting rights to those overseas Pakistanis who have dual nationalities and live abroad. They believe that voting rights to overseas Pakistan would bring an “imported regime” and then decisions for Pakistani governments would be influenced by powerful lobbies sitting in North America and European countries.

Recently, a member of the National Assembly while talking to me rightfully raised a serious issue.  He said that a Pakistani Americans delegation visited Israel last week apparently to promote Israeli-Pakistani relations and the visit was sponsored by a pro-Israel civil group Sharaka (“Partnership” in Arabic) established in 2020 after the signing of The Abraham Accords and recognition of Israel by GCC countries.
Recently, a member of the National Assembly while talking to me rightfully raised a serious issue.  He said that a Pakistani Americans delegation visited Israel last week apparently to promote Israeli-Pakistani relations and the visit was sponsored by a pro-Israel civil group Sharaka (“Partnership” in Arabic) established in 2020 after the signing of The Abraham Accords and recognition of Israel by GCC countries.

Recently, a member of the National Assembly while talking to me rightfully raised a serious issue.  He said that a Pakistani Americans delegation visited Israel last week apparently to promote Israeli-Pakistani relations and the visit was sponsored by a pro-Israel civil group Sharaka (“Partnership” in Arabic) established in 2020 after the signing of The Abraham Accords and recognition of Israel by GCC countries. The group works for connecting Israel with Gulf countries. Presently it has three operational divisions located in Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. He said that such groups would be more effective and powerful if overseas Pakistanis like members of this group would have voting rights and would be in a position to dictate political parties they would vote for.

After having technical issues, we should also view the political issues of holding early elections. The foremost question is——–Will Imran Khan accept election results if he fails to get a two-thirds majority? I think he would never.

He has already shown his no-confidence over ECP, and the Pakistan Army, and even his criticisms over the superior judiciary are on record. He does not trust CEC Sikandar Sultan, he alleges COAS was part of a conspiracy against him and he left ECP a half operational body. Will any election that is held with the current strength of ECP under the current CEC would be acceptable for Imran Khan? The answer is NO. Therefore, after fresh general elections, if Imran Khan does not get his two-thirds majority, he would go again in protest mode with extra force and would demand another fresh election and if he again fails, he would demand another one. Can Pakistan socially and economically afford to continue in the elections process unless PTI gets the desirous results?

To my understanding, the only way out of this crisis is to invite Imran Khan to National Assembly, give him a two-thirds majority without spending time and money in general elections, and then ask him to run the country as he wishes to. I believe after receiving a two-thirds majority in a decorated plate, he would announce the end of the Parliamentarian System and 1973 Constitution and would move ahead with the Presidential Form of Government with a Constitution stating that whatever the President says—is the Rule of Law the clause of the new Constitution. This is what many desired in Pakistan for long-Long Live Imran Khan.

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

Central Desk
Central Desk
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