Uncertainty surrounding general elections 2018
Abdul Rahman Malik
Pakistan has been going through very tough times especially the disintegrated Political parties raising questions regarding the Upcoming General Elections since the main Political parties specially PML-N Leadership has been in disarray ever since when Nawaz Sharif was disqualified on the charges of corruption and Mayfair flats ownership issue as well as Panama Papers Issue. The national accountability Bureau has woke up after a long period of dormancy and started actions against high profile Cases specially Shareef Family and related leaders.
All the parties enjoy watching Sharif Family being dragged to the accountability courts for prosecution. The Supreme court orders for Probe against Mian Nawaz Sharif ,His Two sons Hassan and Husain Nawaz , His Daughter Mariam Nawaz , His Close Relative Ishaq Dar and His Son in law Captain Safdar for their alleged involvement in illegal Money transfer , tax Evasion and Illegal Property purchased through transferring the Black money by establishing Offshore companies in UK .
The charges against Sharif Family Members are very serious as Nawaz’s sons and Ishaq Dar are absconding from the NAB proceedings whereas Mian Nawaz Sharif along with her Daughter and son in law Captain Safdar are facing Corruption charges in the NAB courts and as per the orders of the Supreme court of Pakistan, NAB has been given the 6 Months time to decide the cases against the Sharif Family and take the Panama case to its logical End by punishing the Perpetrators of The Crime.
Meanwhile, PTI has also lost their main wicket when MNA Mr Jahangir Tareen was disqualified over Tax evasion and submission of Fake Asset Details and Paying less Tax on his Agriculture Production and having Offshore company that was not declared as his assets at the time filing his nomination. Luckily, The Captain of PTI was absolved from the charges of having received foreign Funds in the name of charity or welfare activities with special reference to Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital. Given the disqualification of Jahangir Tareen, PTI has suffered great loss as its main financier who funded the most of the party activities was disqualified by the Apex Court through a Petition filed by PMl-N Leader Hanif Abbasi.
PTI is being considered the favourite for upcoming General Elections of 2018 as it has emerged as the 3rd largest Political party after PML-N and PPP. But with the disqualification of Its General Secretary MNA Jahangir Tareen, It might have suffered a setback but luckily the Chairman PTI was absolved of the charges.
JUI and Jamaat Islami are also main religious Political Parties having roots in Politics across Pakistan especially, JUI in KPK and Baluchistan whereas Jamaat Islami in Punjab and KPK as Jamaat Islami, currently ,is in alliance with PTI in Provincial Govt of KPK.
The Religious parties are trying to revive the -the MMA (Muttahida Majlis Amal ) but in current political arena, it would be very difficult to form a religious Alliance as Most of the religious Parties have loyalties with mainstream political parties such as Jamaat Islami with PTI and JUI Fazal with PML -N and In past -With PPP led Government . If the Religious parties succeed in the revival of MMA then this will be great setback for all the partied i.e PTI, PPP and PML-N. While other Political parties such as MQM, PSP, PML – Q, PML-F and ANP are not strong enough to make the Provincial or Central Government but they will rather prefer to be part of a coalition with the party having a clear majority to form the Government at the Centre and The Provincial Level.
At the Moment , as per the Survey conducted by Gallop and Pildat , the Parties which are considered favorite for Upcoming General Elections 2018 are PTI in KPK, Punjab, Sindh, Jamaat Islami in KPK, Punjab and Baluchistan, MQM, PSP, PML-F in Sindh specially the urban areas of Karachi , Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur as these parties are also the part of GDA-Grand Democratic Alliance. It is also said that in the upcoming General Elections 2018, Independent Candidates will also play their role as their number will be very high in future.
The Elections Reforms Bill was the only hurdle in holding the Elections on time that was luckily passed from NA and Senate. The Election Commission will soon start the exercise of Delimitation of the Constituencies on the basis of Census 2017 Statistics.
The Election Reforms Bill 2017 was much-echoed Issue in the National Assembly and Senate as PPP was aggressive against the Census Results as they were raising objections against the Census Results and wanted the Elections on old Constituencies and opposed the delimitation exercise . But the consensus rejected the rumours of Delay in Polls or Early Polls. The Political Pundits and Experts are of the View, given the Passage of Election Reforms Bill from both Houses, the Signs of holding elections are becoming clear.
But the Preparation of the parties is still a far cry as No party is ready or organized to contest General Elections 2018 due to Political Crisis and Prevalent Accountability Proceedings against the Leaders of Various Parties specially PML-N, PPP and PTI. However, The Political parties i.e PTI, Jamaat Islami, PSP or GDA in Sindh may sweep Seats from Rural and Urban areas of Sindh and form Provincial Government as well. But so far it seems to be very difficult parties to defeat PPP in Sindh as it enjoys Monopoly in Sindh as it has not faced any strong Opposition in the last several Years. GDA may work if PTI becomes the part of it.
Despite all this, The uncertainty still prevails regarding General polls and There are some reports of Technocrat Government to be installed but Political parties especially PTI, Jamaat Islami or Even PPP will strongly resist if such move or plan was unearthed or Establishment played any role in the forming Government in General Elections. As precedence was available with MQM-PSP roma-nce to contest Election on the same platform with joint El-ection Symbol but the ro-mance didn’t last long with PSP leader Mustafa Kamal spilt beans regarding Estab-lishment role for Merger or coalition to keep PPP, PML-N out of Mainstream Politics.
It is also expected that there may be coalition Government as No party will have any clear majority to form their Government in the centre or at Province, given their weak political Organization and Activities especially, several forward Blocks are likely to be formed in PML-N and PPP. As per vote bank, PTI has climbed the 2nd Position as per recent by-election results.
Whatever, result or outcome of Panama papers or NAB References against Sharif Family should be , But it is clear that PML-N may not form a government in Upcoming Elections Except they may clinch some seats in Punjab, given the Development Projects Initiated by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Unfortunately, the sword of Disqualification looms upon him due to Model Town Massacre Case and the decision may go against him as Awami Tehreek Leader, Tahir ul-Qadri has announced to hold Protests and Sit-ins Dharnas until the resignation of Punjab CM and Law Minister Rana Sanuallah. Let’s wait and see what happens next but people opine with the uncertainty that the Election on time, will be distant dream owing to prevailing Political Scenario and preparation.