The fate of election 2013 in Pakistan

Discussion in 'Pakistani Siasat' started by A.Rafay, Oct 28, 2012.

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  1. A.Rafay
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    A.Rafay RESEARCH & DEV

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    Despite the fact of ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) facing criticism from all angles; even its own members, section of political analysts are predicting the party to retain power during the 2013 general election under the dual leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. On the other hand many are skeptical of leadership quality of Mian Nawaz Sharif, as since the election of 2008, he has been under the impression that it is only a matter of time before he comes back to power. He thinks all he has to do is wait five years and when the next elections take place he will be swept in to power once again, due to the super bad performance of the PPP government. What Mian Nawaz Sharif has not factored into this plan is the fact that, in 1997, when he last won, he was supported by his own party, PML-Q and the 'like minded' group. This gave him better coverage across the country, in areas where he is traditionally not strong, such as Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. Since the division of the PML, PML-N holds Punjab and nothing else. They do not have enough strong candidates to make an impact in Balochistan and Sindh, while they can't seem to even keep their seats in Abbottabad and Haripur. In addition to this, they have taken a serious beating in southern Punjab courtesy PML-Q and PPP, while their influence on the GT Road cities (Gujranwala to Jehlum) has also been waning. As it stands, PML-N is having trouble holding down Punjab even though they currently have the majority. The whole good governance bit has fizzled out and the gigantic government expenditures have exposed the failings of the PML-N government. While back in 2008, they had serious support across the province, they now have to deal with the problems that come with being the incumbent party. So, to say that PML-N can win the majority at the federal level is a bit far-fetched at this point. The best case scenario is to add about five more seats in the National Assembly and hold Punjab for another five years; even this seems hard for them to be honest.

    In the last two weeks, there had been a flurry of political activity across Pakistan. Be it the rally in Karachi or the jalsa in Lahore, the political temperature of the country seems to be finally heating up after slowly simmering for the last two years. The reason is the impending elections that are expected to be held in 2013. It is natural that alliances are being formed, seat adjustments are being negotiated, and parties are becoming more aggressive in their rhetoric. Unlike the last elections in 2008, where there were numerous parties contesting, the upcoming elections present a fairly different picture. Over the last few years the election battle has created two groups of political parties that will battle it out in the next general elections.

    In the last one year it has become clear that the PPP, PML-Q, ANP and MQM will stay together. In order to understand why they will stay together, it is important to take a closer look onto each of the parties involved.

    There is a wrong perception in the minds of the anti-PPP voter in Pakistan, who believes that everyone in Pakistan hates Pakistan People's Party because that is what is being seen or shown on the media. However, political analysts feel, the reality is totally different. Those pro-PPP think-tanks argue saying, with 121 seats in the National Assembly, the Pakistan People's Party managed to stay in power for almost four years without any major hiccups. There were times when everyone thought that the government of President Asif Ali Zardari would collapse but it held through, scoring a stronger majority than the party started out with (by bringing PML-Q on board to rebuke any further pressure from MQM).

    The analysts said, "If they (PPP) managed all this while the economy was in a free fall and with everyone hating them, then you have to give them credit and know that they are not going to be unprepared for the next elections. Plus their power base is Sindh, especially the rural areas, while they still maintain pockets of influence in Punjab. So, anyone who thinks that PPP will be wiped out is kidding themselves."

    The Pakistan Muslim League –Qawmi (PML-Q) factor:

    Like the People's Party, the PML-Q league is hated by the general public. But what no one gives them credit for is that the party is probably the smartest political party in Pakistan. Once the PPP called the PML-Q league the "Murderer League", but now they manage to share a government. The same people who called them names have been forced to sit with them for the political well-being of both parties. The political survival of both the PPP and PML-Q is dependent on each other; on their own they will have a tough fight in Punjab and Balochistan, but together they can maintain a majority. Moreover, the PML-Q league is made up of politicians who are constituency politicians i.e. they have a strong presence in their areas and are virtually guaranteed a seat. In the last elections the PML-Q league got lost out due to a vote split as well as a strong showing by the PML-N but this time around, with the new seat adjustment deal they are assured one on one fights in most areas with the added support of PPP voters. So while people might not be giving them credit right now, the PML-Q league has a genuine shot at coming back with 50 odd seats in the next general elections.

    The ANP factor:

    While Pakistan's media does not give ANP much importance, the fact is that ANP is crucial to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Pakistan. Without ANP, the PPP would not be able to rule KP. Since the last elections, ANP has been accused of corruption and bad governance. Under their government the province has suffered economically to the point where the people have started praising the days of JUI-F. So while ANP will likely not get many votes in the next election, it will probably lose a maximum of five seats out of the 13 NA seats they currently have. Most of the damage would be at the provincial level, but given that they are part of the alliance with the PPP, PML-Q and MQM, they will be part of any future government.

    The MQM factor:

    MQM has 25 seats and they will get these 25 seats again. It is absolutely pointless to even dwell on the election results of MQM because their vote bank is rock solid plus every time they are not in government, things just do not work out for Karachi. So as part of their uneasy alliance with the PPP, they are staying put and will remain part of any future government in the future.

    So while these four parties clearly form one side, the other side is a bit tricky to outline. The fact that the PPP, PML-Q league, MQM and ANP are already allies will only help them to further consolidate their election year positions by negotiating seat adjustments and forming closer ties. The other side, however, is still in disarray but will eventually come together. For the sake of the argument let's just call them the challengers.

    The Pakistan Mulims League – Nawaz (PML-N) has consolidated its influence over their existing constituency. They have often slammed the government; however, their own governance in Punjab has not been above reproach. Currently the PML-N is lonely but fairly popular as far as national politics are concerned. The party understands that it cannot govern without an alliance with other parties and has started talking to the like minded group as well as others who deserted the party after Musharraf created the PML-Q league. Chances are that these deserters would probably return as they need to belong to a party to continue their political career. In addition to this, the PML-N wants to assimilate the forward block in Punjab to field winning candidates in the next elections. But the party has a long way to go. It is likely that the PML-N will form an alliance with centre-right and regional parties such as JI, PPP Sherpao, PTI, BNP, JWP, SNP and so on, as thy are ideologically more comfortable with these parties as compared to the MQM or ANP.

    After boycotting the last elections, the Jammat-e-Islami has been out of active politics for a while. They do not have members in any assembly. So while many are quick to dismiss them straight away, the party is out to prove its critics wrong. They have been working hard in the KP region to regain their popularity that they had lost as part of the MMA with JUI-F. Add to this the inept governance of ANP, the JI is mending fences in their former strongholds of Swat, Bajaur, Upper and Lower Dir, Mardan and Kohat. In addition to this, the party has a loyal following in southern Punjab where they held a few provincial seats during 2002 to 2007 and have been investing time and effort in those areas.

    Given that Jamaat-e-Islami has ideological differences with the PPP, MQM and ANP, their logical choice is to work with a centre right or ideally a rightist party. So expect the JI to sit down with the PML-N and the PTI either before or after the elections to form a coalition as simply put, they have nowhere else to go.

    Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf:

    Having been around for 15 years, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) can finally say that it is their time now. They say that they can sweep the elections, but fact of the matter is that they can't and they won't. Their primary presence is in Punjab, and that is their area of focus. I am not going to speculate how many seats they will win, but whatever they win, they will have to sit down with others to form a coalition. And while many suggest they will gain a majority, they will not as they do not have enough constituency candidates right now. However, with the inclusion of Shah Mahmood Qureshi, they will gain a decent number so that they can at least negotiate a good deal for themselves.

    Now the thing is, ideologically the PTI is on the same wavelength as PML-N and Jamaat-e-Islami, and while their supporters might not like it, the PTI will eventually have to sit down with these parties as just like JI they have nowhere else to go. So what seems to be an unholy alliance between the PTI, PML-N and Jamaat-e-Islami, to a lot of people right now is it an election reality that will eventually happen.

    There are a lot of other parties, which would simply side with the group that holds the majority. Parties like JUI-F, Jehangir Tareen's Clean Party and PML-F have guaranteed seats, and they do not like to sit in the opposition. The fact is the next election is going to be the most divisive election ever seen in Pakistan. The two sides that are pointed out above are not random thoughts; they are the political realities of Pakistan.

    The PML-N dirty card:

    During the 2013 election, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) will surely play the dirty card of maligning the ruling Pakistan People's Party by bringing the cases of nepotism and corruption. On the other hand, they surely will use the Hina-Bilawal card in putting PPP into huge humiliation. It is learnt from dependable sources within PML-N that right before the 2013 election, PML-N will distribute hundreds and thousands of posters within the conservative provinces in the country showing photographs of PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari kissing his western girlfriend or wearing Halloween costumes. They also will publish the letter written by Hina Rabbani Khar's hubby Feroze Gulzar to Federal Investigating Agency seeking mobile phone call records of his wife. Most of such posters in Urdu will be titled 'Vote for Adultery for entering hellfire'. Conservative voters in Pakistan will not appreciate their leaders kissing in public or wearing costumes of another religion, while the illicit romance between Hina Rabbani Khar and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will not be welcomed by most of the voters in the country – even those hardcore supporters of the Pakistan People's Party.

    There is already a general perception in Pakistan that the silence of the government and the ruling party on the issue of romance between Hina Rabbani Khar and Bilawal Bhutto has already been "well established" and people are whispering each time, when they see Hina or Bilawal separately or together, thinking, they are tarnishing the image of the Islamic republic by engaging into forbidden relationship. On the other hand, Pakistani diplomacy got sufficiently dented when foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar suddenly called-off her Dhaka tour, which was scheduled to take place on October 25, 2012. Many believe, the Pak foreign minister might have decided to drop her Bangladesh tour at the fear of being attacked by local and international media, who would be madly asking her comments on her alleged romance with Bilawal. It may be mentioned here that, the scoop of romance between Hina Rabbani Khar and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was leaked by the Bangladeshi tabloid Weekly Blitz, which created huge media buzz in the Indian sub-continent, mostly because of huge coverage given to this news by the Indian print and electronic media.

    But, whatever the fraction of voters or anti-PPP critics may think on the "consequence" of Hina-Bilawal romance rumor, political analysts in Islamabad are not seeing this issue with minimal seriousness as they feel, the majority of Pakistanis are already convinced that the "news" was cooked with the ulterior motive of dampening the huge image of Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who has already proved to be one of the most successful female foreign ministers in the Muslim world. They feel, the rumor was intentionally spread by the jealous segment of pro-Indian media outlets, which are unhappy seeing Hina Rabbani Khar's series of diplomatic victories in world affairs, especially on issues related to the interest of Pakistan.

    The fate of election 2013 in Pakistan :: Weekly Blitz
  2. darkinsky
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    darkinsky BANNED

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    i suspect PPP will win again with PMLN being the second winner

    ALLAH na kare aisa ho, but it is very likely, as a hard core MQM supporter im opting for PTI, if there is any hope for better future i think PTI has to win

    this is my ideal forecast

    punjab - PMLN 1st/PTI close second
    KPK - PTI distant 1st/ jamaat islami second
    Balochistan - PTI/PML or PPP close second
    GB - PPP/PMLN/MQM/PTI/Musharraf(tough to decide)
    karachi - MQM distant 1st with some pashtun seats going to PTI and jamaat, one liyari seat to PMLN(considering uzair baloch opts which party)
    sindh - PPP 1st with PTI distant second(or PMLN considering marvi memon influence)

    so my ideal favourites to win elections is PTI, jamaat(although mullahs but still better than PPP and PMLN) musharraf, MQM and distant PMLQ
  3. darkinsky
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    darkinsky BANNED

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    i fear if this time the change doesnt come then pakistan is not in the condition to sustain another 5 years period of lawlessness

    so i hope if PPP comes to power again, military takes over for good