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The positives that emerged during the 2018 general election of Pakistan
The results of Pakistan general election 2018 have started coming out since yesterday night, though at a slow pace since Pakistan still uses ballot paper and manual counting methods.

The results show that cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is much ahead from its main rivals Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N and Bilawal Bhutto-led PPP, though it may fall short of clear majority. But then, with the help of independents, Imran Khan is almost certain to form the next government in Pakistan.

There have been a lot of controversies and negative aspects of these elections, as reported by various media outfits. The primary allegation being that the Pakistan army has rigged the election in favour of Imran Khan to install him as a puppet Prime Minister. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court had some days ago alleged that the ISI was intervening in the judicial process at the behest of the Pakistan army.

We must realise that Pakistan is a unique country where the army is most powerful and dictates the country's foreign policy especially vis-a-vis India. This dominance by the army is not a new phenomenon but rather a legacy of the last seventy years of the country's history. No civilian authority can ever challenge the military in Pakistan. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto tried to control the army and ended up being hanged. His daughter Benazir Bhutto too tried, but was murdered in the process. No civilian Prime minister in the very short democratic history of Pakistan has ever served a complete five-year term.

Nawaz Sharif's government was ousted after a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999. And recently again, the PML-N led government was dismissed after Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from holding public office by the Supreme Court of Pakistan over corruption charges. In a nutshell, no civilian government can sustain without the support of the Pakistan army.

Allegations of rigging and fixing elections is mainstream in Asian democratic countries especially in the south Asian region. Even India, which is a true democracy in every sense, witnesses controversies pertaining to the electoral process including complaints of tampering with EVMs. So, there’s no point in dissecting the issue for evaluating the factual correctness of these allegations. The fact remains that whatever the Election Commission of Pakistan declares holds official validity.

If we closely look at this election, a lot of positives can be salvaged, developments which perhaps occurred for the very first time. For example, earlier the people of Pakistan hardly came out in the open to criticise the army. But these elections set a new precedent when questions were raised over the army's role in Pakistan's electoral process. This means that the democratic spirit amogst Pakistani citizens is proliferating which is a positive sign for Pakistan.

Interestingly, in yet another positive development, Hafiz Saeed’s party Allahau Akabar Tehreek (AAT) failed to win even a single seat in these elections. This means that the Pakistani people thoroughly rejected hardline Islamist groups like AAT in these elections. It will now be difficult for Hafiz Saeed to claim that he has the backing and support of Pakistani people. A big positive indeed!

Another pragmatic sign to emerge out of these elections was that in many tribal areas of Pakistan, women participated in voting despite fatwas being issued by Islamic fundamentalists. Tehreek-e-Taliban had threatened the Pakistani people to boycott voting but still they came out in large numbers to caste their votes despite the threat of terrorist attacks looming large.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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