Vote for Naya Pak­istan

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

There is no doubt that PTI will form the next gov­ern­ment as it has emerged vic­to­ri­ous in the 2018 elec­toral con­test. The of­fi­cial re­sults will be con­sol­i­dated and an­nounced by ECP soon. It is clear by now that PTI would be the largest party and fears of a hung par­lia­ment have proven wrong. On Elec­tion Day we saw vot­ers try­ing to have their say in what is the largest demo­cratic ex­er­cise in our coun­try. It was an act of courage and com­mit­ment on the part of the vot­ers. In the run-up to Elec­tion 2018, mul­ti­ple po­lit­i­cal ral­lies were tar­geted by mil­i­tants, and on Elec­tion Day it­self 31 peo­ple were killed in a sui­cide bomb­ing out­side a polling sta­tion in Quetta. But this did not de­ter the en­thu­si­asm of of peo­ple out­side the polling sta­tions, indi­cat­ing the vigour of a na­tion out to elect its rulers for the next five years.

Such was the en­thu­si­asm to have the voice of vote heard that a large num­ber of fe­male vot­ers gath­er­ing at a con­stituency in Faisal­abad caused the roads in the sur­round­ings blocked. For women, the elec­tion also brought a his­toric first when they cast vote for the first time in Up­per Dir district of Khy­berPakhtunkhwa. The me­dia also played a ma­jor role in the suc­cess of the elec­toral ex­er­cise. Its non- stop telethons and pub­lic ser­vice mes­sages greatly helped in mo­bil­is­ing the vot­ers. Such was the mo­bil­i­sa­tion that de­spite an hour al­ready added to the polling time this elec­tion, al­most all the par­ties wanted the vot­ing time to be ex­tended by one more hour.

To gain a ma­jor­ity, a party needs 137 of the 272 elected Na­tional As­sem­bly seats. A fur­ther 70 seats for women and mi­nori­ties are awarded pro­por­tion­ally based on the vot­ing per­cent­ageOn the ba­sis of lat­est show­ing PTI ap­pears to be in a po­si­tion to form a gov­ern­ment all of its own but if need be it can have the sup­port of in­de­pen­dents and other like-minded par­ties.For the first time fight­ing with­out of­fi­cial crutches, the PML-N has suf­fered badly in the elec­tions. The trend was clear months be­fore the elec­tions. Emerg­ing num­bers show that the party has gone from an out­right ma­jor­ity to only be­ing the sec­ond largest party, and its grip on the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in Pun­jab has been loos­ened. In cen­tral Pun­jab PML-N has largely re­tained its po­si­tion but it has suf­fered a se­vere jolt in south Pun­jab. PTI is a clear win­ner in KPK. In Karachi too the MQM-Pak­istan lost ground to the PTI. Both the PML-N and MQM-P have taken the stand that that the down­turn in their for­tunes was due to is­sues be­yond their con­trol - the le­gal woes of the PML-N and law-en­force­ment ac­tion against the MQMPak­istan which caused deep di­vi­sions in the two par­ties, al­low­ing their op­po­nents to take ad­van­tage.

Some par­ties have cried foul but all are agreed that the elec­tions were largely con­ducted in a fair man­ner as en­dorsed by for­eign ob­servers. Pak­istan Peo­ples Party, Pak­istan Mus­lim League-N, Mu­tah­hida Ma­jilis-e-Amal and other par­ties havere­jected the re­sults. This is not sur­pris­ing and it is not the first time that po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Pak­istan have com­plained about rig­ging.The PML-N has al­leged that count­ing was stopped in con­stituen­cies where its can­di­dates were win­ning.There is a mech­a­nism in place for re­dress of any such griev­ances. The ag­grieved par­ties can go to the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion with their com­plaints.

Many chal­lenges await the in­com­ing gov­ern­ment.The 2018 elec­tions have been held in the midst of a rapidly de­clin­ing econ­omy, with the ru­pee's 20 per cent de­val­u­a­tion and dwin­dling for­eign cur­rency re­serves. The debt pile has gone high and fis­cal deficit has swelled un­con­trol­lably. PTI gov­ern­ment will need to put to­gether a com­pe­tent team of man­agers to tackle the back­log of prob­lems left be­hind by PML-N gov­ern­ment.

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