Pakistan Heading For Rigged Polls?

Developing Just Leadership

Zia Sarhadi

Muharram 14, 1445 2023-08-01

News & Analysis

by Zia Sarhadi (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 6, Muharram, 1445)

Image Source - Pixbay Free Content

Were it not for the fact that the lives of 230 million people are at stake, Pakistani politics would be truly farcical. The latest developments relate to the forthcoming elections that must be held, according to the constitution, by October. There are already grave doubts being expressed about whether elections would be held on time.

But what is the constitution? It is a piece of paper with some articles written on it. This is the collective wisdom of the men in khaki who claim that they alone know what is best for the country. Elections will be held when they decide it is appropriate to do so. These semi-literate morons are a breed apart. The bone-headed creatures from the darkest crevices of history have messed up Pakistan since its creation in 1947.

If they are not ruling directly—as they have done for 35 years of Pakistan’s tortuous history—they are breathing down the necks of politicians periodically “allowed” to occupy the seat of power. The latest situation is no different; in fact, it is much worse than what has gone on before.

An odd assortment of criminals, rapists, murderers and thieves has been imposed on the country since April 2022. They would be drinking each other’s blood were it not for their shared hatred of former prime minister Imran Khan.

Pakistan’s economy has been run aground amid growing political uncertainty engineered by the men in khaki because Imran Khan refused to obey their orders. What was their main beef? Imran Khan was not showing sufficient deference to the generals or Pakistan’s godfather, America. The coterie of generals cannot imagine life without American patronage that brings in largesse even if the Washington warlords have undisguised contempt for them.

The world learnt through Wikileaks that successive American ambassadors in Islamabad sent extremely derogatory messages to the State Department about the Pakistani elite. One message in particular said the Pakistanis will sell their mothers for a few dollars. Others were equally insulting.

Pakistani journalists can be made to write anything for a mere invitation to a function at the US embassy. Most politicians are willing to betray their country if their son, nephew or relative is granted a visa to the US.

The same applies to the generals. The vast majority have properties in the US, Britain, Europe etc. Most of their family members are US green card holders.

Let us, however, return to the question of elections in Pakistan. The alliance of 13 political parties, the army and the new parties of lotas that the latter has created are nervous that Imran Khan will sweep the polls if he is allowed to contest them. Hence, the desperate attempts to remove him from the scene, physically if necessary.

The former prime minister faces a raft of charges—running into 180 cases or more so far—to keep him tied down in courts. All charges are bogus. Despite being aware of the situation, the judges, whether of the High Court bench or the Supreme Court, refuse to put an end to this farce.

The reason is simple. Judges do not deliver justice; they get their orders from the army, or a coterie of generals and their immediate subordinates in the intelligence agencies.

Imran Khan has faced—and miraculously survived—two assassination attempts. The entire leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) is either in jail or have gone underground to escape arrest. Those in jail are being pressured to abandon the party. Failure to comply with this demand results in incarceration and torture. Such PTI stalwarts as Umar Cheema, Ali Muhammad Khan (recently released), Shehryar Afridi and Pervez Elahi among others have faced the wrath of the modern-day pharaohs.

There are more than 10,000 PTI workers in jail. Horrific videos of their torture have emerged on social media platforms. The most depressing part is the kidnapping, torture and rape of women. The moral degeneration of the elite, whether in civvies or uniform, has hit an all-time low.

Many leading journalists have either been imprisoned (Imran Riaz Khan whose fate is unknown), forced to leave the country (Dr Moeed Pirzada, Sabir Shakir, Shaheen Sehbai, Waqar Malik) or murdered (Arshad Sharif, after being forced into exile in Kenya). Reporters Without Borders, the journalists’ organization, has spoken out against such victimization.

Independent vloggers like Adil Raja and Haider Mehdi, both residing outside Pakistan, are accused of ‘treason’ because they speak out against the military’s excesses. Their family members in Pakistan have been threatened. Such Gestapo tactics have failed to intimidate the intrepid vloggers both of whom are former military officers.

Similarly, the worst kind of political engineering is underway in Pakistan. First came the announcement that Jahangir Tareen had formed a new party comprising breaking away members of PTI. They were coerced or lured by the intelligence agencies into doing so. Such persons as Aleem Khan, Imran Ismail, Amir Kiani, Ali Zaidi, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Saeed Akbar Nawani, Nauman Langrial and Fawad Chaudhry were in the forefront. All of them had abandoned other political parties in the past and joined the PTI bandwagon to ride to power.

The ‘lotas’, as they are called, have done what is expected of them: obey the orders of their masters in uniform and join the king’s new party. The aim is to weaken Imran Khan’s PTI. Recent developments indicate that Tareen’s attempt has failed. Another party, this one led by another lota, Pervez Khattak, has emerged.

Even the pro-establishment Dawn newspaper in its editorial of July 19 wrote, “It is sorry a farce.”

Khattak named his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf-Parliamentarians (PTI-P). The former chief minister of KPK and later defence minister in Imran Khan’s cabinet has also corralled opportunist elements of the PTI, at the behest of the intelligence agencies, again with the aim of undermining PTI.

Khattak’s attempt seems destined to the same fate as Tareen’s party. Following the July 17 meeting that he convened in Peshawar, it has since transpired that many members were lured to the meeting through misleading information. They were told that party leaders were meeting to “discuss important issues” without clarifying. Several participants have since distanced themselves from Khattak and clarified that they remain loyal to Imran Khan.

All these political machinations are being undertaken to prevent Imran Khan from contesting elections. The generals are terrified that if he is back in power with a big majority, he will amend the constitution and trim the powers of the overbearing military. He has also vowed to go after the crooks, no matter what their hue.

The generals and their civilian puppets would rather run the country to the ground, as they have done, than respect the wishes of the people. There is clear evidence that the overwhelming majority of people support Imran Khan. Whoso ever gets his party ticket will easily win.

This is the scenario the generals and their civilian puppets want to avoid at all costs. Should they persist in their folly, there are grave risks for the very survival of Pakistan. They do not seem to care.

Related Articles

Pakistan at 72: Challenges and Prospects

Waseem Shehzad
Dhu al-Qa'dah 29, 1440 2019-08-01

Pakistan Trapped in Endless Crises

Waseem Shehzad
Rabi' al-Thani 26, 1443 2021-12-01
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use
Copyrights © 1436 AH
Sign In
Forgot Password?
Not a Member? Signup