By Dr Ghayur Ayub

Politics in Pakistan shows itself in many colours. At times, it blossoms as winning percentage of civilian votes in elections, at others, it emerges as brute military force. PPP in 1971 and PML-N in 1997, came to power with thumping majority of votes. The military take-overs in 1958, 1979, and 1999 did not need public mandate. The politicians instead of upgrading public welfare through good governance got involved in corruptible nepotism and the generals who took charge on pretext of wiping out corruption played in the hands of the devious politicians. Thus both betrayed people on the name of democracy and in the process kept the tamed judiciary on the side of the power. The resultant sketch of politics in Pakistan drawn on canvas projects image of the public like burnt out match sticks in the flames of agonising poverty.

Public is the real player in democracy. Logically, the tipping point for a winning party in elections should be 50% of public vote. Has it ever happened in Pakistan? Even the 'heavy mandate' of PML-N in 1997 represented less than 30 percent of voting population which in real terms came to 1.8% of total population. In other elections the figures were far less. To make the situation worse, recent investigative reports suggest that up until now bogus votes have always been registered by the interested political groups. The number touched the figure of 30,000,000.00 in the last election which equalled to 60% of the total vote. Take this figure out of the equation and see what was the real percentage of population which elected the corruption-riddled government of PPP?

Something is basically wrong as corrupt leaders are put in important offices who, in turn, play with the lives of the public. The situation gets murkier when it comes to army takeovers. The armed forces, though the most potent factor in Pakistani politics, represent 0.5 % of total population and their validator-the judiciary, carries far less number in percentage. So, the victorious powers whether democratic or non-democratic never cross the 50% mark. In some countries elections are held in stages giving a chance to the winning party to reach the real tipping percentage.

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Something else has emerged recently. Imran Khan who is dreaming to bring a change through the youth of Pakistan has realised that there are over 30,000,000 unregistered youth that can turn his tide into Tsunami. This is in addition to the neglected female voters which according to some estimates cross 50% mark and have always had leaning towards the great cricketer.

No wonder the grin on his face gets broader each day that takes him closer to the elections. As opposed to this, Mr Nawaz Sharif sacked his energetic son-in-law, Capt Safdar, who headed the Youth Wing of PML-N at a crucial time when he was busy registering youth in a successful drive.

So in a nutshell, the political picture looks like this:

  • The winning party gets far less votes than the figure 50% of voting population.

  • There were 30 million bogus votes listed in previous elections which are not yet removed from the list.

  • There are over 30 million youth ready for enlisting; they have not been listed yet.

  • The first turning point in the next election will be the youth of Pakistan.

  • The second turning point will be the female voters.

  • Imran Khan is working methodically on both and increasing the number through a recruitment campaign.

  • Until his suspension, Capt Safdar was equally busy registering the youth. So far, in short span of a few months, he registered over 100,000 youth in Punjab and over 60,000 in KPK. While he was expanding his campaign to include Sindh, Baluchistan and GB, he was suspended at a critical time because of internal party squabbling that put pressure on Mr. Nawaz Sharif to take such a drastic action. One wonders who could be behind all this?

  • On the order of Supreme Court, the Election Commission of Pakistan promised to complete the list by May 31. According to reports, the list is not yet complete.

  • Two weeks ago the CM Sindh said he cannot see the list completed in foreseeable future.

  • MQM wants local government elections before the general elections. Recently, their talks broke down with PPP Sindh on the issue.

  • Law and order situation is getting worse in every passing day. The analysts are painting a grim picture on holding elections.

  • The tussle between the judiciary and the executive is reaching its crescendo making the disrupting atmosphere from bad to worse for smooth elections.

  • The PPP is trying to tighten noose around Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif through NAB

  • Lt. Gen Asad Durrani has submitted the list of the beneficiaries of the illegal money in the Supreme Court as part of ongoing Asghar Khan's case that can create difficulties for Mr Nawaz Sharif.

  • The ageing Yunis Habib has been brought on the scene to malign main opposition leaders creating scenes of uncertainty.

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In such a scenario, many political gurus do not see elections in near future irrespective of what the Chief Justice said recently or how Asif Ali Zardari promised holding them on time. AAZ does not seem to be in a hurry. Why should he be? He has gathered the relevant political parties under one roof providing them 'Mun-o-Salva' to keep them hale and healthy. Some even argue that he might use some of the reasons mentioned above to postpone the elections for another year as part of Constitutional provision to get himself elected for the second term.

So either way, no elections are in sight as the corruption, lawlessness, mismanagement, gross human-right violations and public sufferings go on unabated. The only way out of the quagmire is building public pressure on AAZ to dissolve assemblies or invoking the clause sixth of recommendations recently placed with the Supreme Court which leaves the matter in the hands of the public. That means setting up an interim government of honest people to do the following five things;

  1. Complete the voting list

  2. Hold the LG elections

  3. Cleanse the judiciary at lower levels

  4. Cleanse the Election Commission

  5. Go for an aggressive accountability without sparing anyone.

To complete the job, the interim set-up might be given an extension up to two years, at the end of which, free and fair elections will be held letting the deserving candidates, as described in Clause 62 (d-g) of the Constitution, participate.

Some believe if immediate elections are not held, things will get out of hand resulting either in;

  1. Anarchy on the streets and civil war, or

  2. Bloody revolution, or

  3. Disintegration of the country.

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They argue that before any of these three could happen, the Americans will control the nuclear assets. The US Fleet is already in the vicinity.