Amid severe political controversies and blame-game; Pakistan’s General Election 2018 was conducted on 25th of July. The results were astonishing; Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) won more seats than expected. PTI led the election results with around 115 general seats of the National Assembly (NA) along with marking an absolute victory in the KPK Province. Second to the PTI was Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) which secured around 80 NA seats thus witnessing its decades-long rule eroding in the country. Next to PML-N was Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) which won over 60 NA seats - mostly from Sindh Province. However, the election proved to be a nightmare for the political alliances like Muthida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GAD).
Following the results, the runner-up parties kept the undesired tradition of blame-game alive. Both, PML-N & PPP started accusing PTI of winning election through rigging engineered by the country’s military and judicial establishment. PML-N maintained a particular rhetoric as well; it blamed the winning side for shelving Mian Nawaz Sharif through judicial persecution which in fact was an outcome of proper trial conducted in the courts of law. Further, PTI not only remained calm and satisfied with the results but, it also focused on government formation by aligning the independent candidates and small political parties on its side with the help of extremely influential Jahangir Khan Tareen. Fortunately, PTI remained successful in this regard. It established not only Federal Government but also Provincial Governments in Punjab, KPK and Baluchistan. That proved a major blow for the other two mainstream parties and specifically for PML-N whose majority in the Punjab Assembly was reduced to minority during secret ballot for Speaker and Chief Minister.
Overall, the victory speech and preceding addresses of PTI’s Prime Minister Imran Khan proved quite attractive for the masses. They were comprehensive and target-oriented. They were based on real issues rather than political victimization. But, beyond these addresses, the nation is yet to witness how PM Khan pulls the country out of economic and socio-political crisis.
Speaking about the transparency of elections, the watchdogs from the United Nations and the European Union have branded the ballot transparent and free from rigging. However, certain local and international observers differ a bit on the account that Nawaz Sharif’s party was not given equal chance to compete. That’s a separate debate. But, the fact remains undeniable that the election 2018 were far better and far transparent than those conducted in the year 2008.
To conclude this overview, it is worth mentioning the views of Henry Kissinger about elections in Pakistan. Former ambassador of Pakistan Mr. Jamsheid Marker noted in his book ‘Quiet Diplomacy’ that: “I met Henry Kissinger after the election of 1970. He said that all across the world, elections are conducted to solve problems but, in Pakistan elections actually create problems.” Well, that point is true but seeing the recent elections of Pakistan it stands unconvincing. Now, Pakistan has joined the path whereby elections will really solve its challenges and problems in a democratic way. Gradually, the nation will witness next General Election even more transparent, more democratic and more popular than the election 2018.