Regional scenario to shape Pakistani elections

By Farman Nawaz


The day PML-N left the federal government since then the echoes of mid-term elections are heard in the media. Although at some occasions the genie of mid-term elections seemed coming out of the bottle and it was claimed by some senior journalists that ‘the party is over’ but still – some segments may not agree – Zardari did not feel suffocated at all.

Actually people are always deceived by the rosy slogans of politicians and media. It is also true that general public is kept ignorant of the circumstances that led to NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance). Most of Pakistanis don’t know why Pakistan People’s Party was brought to power. If media guides the people why People’s Party was given preference than others then it will be easy for them to guess who is going to win the next elections in Pakistan.

Presently every political figure is busy in doing homework for the upcoming elections in 2013. Most of the politicians have nothing new in their political baskets. It is very easy to criticize the policies of the sitting government and most of the politicians are doing the same. Last week during budget session PML-N too could not justify its protest. It only tried to sabotage the budget speech but it was not able to provide an alternate solution of the problems. Similarly Imran Khan is one of the critics of the sitting government but in reality he too does not have strong arguments against the government. He is criticizing the government for Drone attacks but it is a fact that Imran is just misguiding the people. Instead of criticizing the army which is really responsible for every act of war on terror, Imran has targeted People’s party. Basically he is trying to make a room for himself in the next elections. The same is the case with other political parties.

Basically the situation in Afghanistan will decide who is going to win the next elections here in Pakistan. We must ask a question from ourselves why PPP, ANP and MQM won the previous elections. It must be clear that there was no rigging in elections but rather the elections were rigged in advance when establishment showed its favour for secular parties. General public automatically sensed the situation and today PPP is in power. Now the question is why establishment selected secular parties to rule Pakistan. Establishment under Musharaf was blamed of playing a double game. Musharaf arrested Al-Qaeda men and handed them to US, while Taliban were handled here in Pakistan. No body ever bothers to doubt that US also played a double game by releasing those terrorists arrested by Pakistan.

Pakistani establishment was fully aware that one day the world will inquire about Pakistan’s support for Taliban that is why establishment needed the shield of such parties which can then cover them. It is a fact that the world will never ever believe that PPP or ANP is involved in providing any hidden support to Taliban while religious parties could become hurdle in military operations. That’s why a shield of secular parties was enacted around the establishment; otherwise Musharaf government with the support of PML-Q was a stable government. But international environment compelled Musharaf to come closer to secular segments. However Pakistani Establishment is still not secular in nature. It needs hatred against the Hindus to have a moral support against India. Still it supports Afghani Taliban – the people whose ignorance brought international forces to the region. Still Pakistani establishment supports those sectarian segments which can play a role against India. Musharaf was the person who designed kargil operation but it was the result of international changes which twisted his arm to shake hands with Vajpae. And the same is the reason of Pakistan’s willingness to solve difference with India.

Once the international changes forced Musharaf to shake hands with Bibi despite the fact that he once claimed not to allow her coming inside Pakistan. It was the secular and liberal image of Bibi which made her the ideal one for establishment. Now again the failure and success in the upcoming elections depends on the political scene in Afghanistan and the strategy of Pakistani establishment to handle it. According to some surveys Afghani people wish to see international forces in Afghanistan for a longer period while our politicians and journalists are of the view that US presence in the region is the root cause of all evils.

American presence and Taliban role will decide the fate of the next Pakistani parliament. As establishment has a key role in the formation of civil government in Pakistan therefore the regional scenario will also influence the shape of the next parliament. If war on terror will continue then there are chances of success of secular parties because secular parties cannot be blamed for any covert support for terrorists. If Taliban will get any official share in Kabul government then it may cause in success of pro-Taliban parties because it will help the establishment to control Kabul the way it wants. Pakistani Taliban can be seduced to strengthen Afghani Taliban. But if US will continue to stay here in this region and play a dual role then consequently Pakistani establishment will also indulge in the same politics and will give way to secular segments to rule Pakistan. But the present scenario in Pakistan where pro-Taliban parties are pressurizing the establishment shows that establishment has opted for long term relations with secular segments.


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