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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Apolitical role of Pakistan Army in elections and political fiasco

The blame game is spreading like a virus in the politics of Pakistan and seems to be a new normal. In any political unrest or any election in the politics of Pakistan, the party which loose, instead of learning from its performance or mistakes puts all the responsibility on the army and other security institutions.

In the age of social media and the internet of things, the world has become a global village with the positive as well as negative impacts of social media emerging. Some anarchist leaders residing abroad incite their country and people against their own army. In the same way, some media personalities who are journalists living abroad and are good at proliferating foreign agendas, such people are busy spreading propaganda against Pakistan’s prestigious institutions and country among innocent people through fake information.

The blame game is spreading like a virus in the politics of Pakistan and seems to be a new normal. In any political unrest or any election in the politics of Pakistan, the party which loose, instead of learning from its performance or mistakes puts all the responsibility on the army and other security institutions. In this situation, the politicians gain their political advantage, but due to the strong efforts to create misunderstandings between the army and the people, the enemies of the country take full advantage of these situations. Remember that Pakistan Army is not the name of a single individual, Pakistan Army is a unity of the people of the country and different people belonging to different classes.

Read more: Shahbaz Gill predicts general elections may be announced before October

Did the army interfere in the elections?

Accusations of interference in politics on the Pakistani army came to a head when in 2014 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek staged a sit-in in the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad. At the time Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s stance was against the Rigging in General Elections 2014, according to PTI officials PML N govt was involved in rigging and they demanded to open 4 constituencies. This allegation is made by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz that the hand of the Pakistan Army and the head of Pakistan’s Secret ServiceISI, Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam, was behind this sit-in.

Blaming the military is not a new trend in Pakistan’s politics, from General Ayub’s tenure to the present, anti-military and anti-establishment narratives have been floated in various political contexts just to gain political advantage and raise the issue. What will be the impact of the behavior of the political parties in keeping a niche in the institutions like the Pakistan Army and the people?

Similarly, in 2017, in “Asia Bibi Blasphemy Case”, after the decision to release Asia Bibi, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan staged a Sit-in in Faizabad Chowk, against which again Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz made this allegation, that “The establishment is behind the sit-in and these people have been brought in to weaken our government.”

After the 2018 general elections, Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, and other political parties accused Army is behind rigging to get results of their own will and it was said that the army has changed the election results through the failure of Result Transmission System (RTS) and our members have been threatened and harassed to refrain from taking our tickets.

In the same way, this claim was also made that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf got full support from the establishment to form the government and to run the government throughout the government tenure. As proof of this, there are the statements of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the statements of Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s member Chaudhry Fawad Hussain available on record.

Read more: Why free and fair elections is the only solution for Pakistan?

On 08 March 2022, Joint Opposition also named as Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) moved the No Confidence Vote against the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran. Till 25th March 2022, PTI Officials remained calm on their stance as they have the required number in parliament, Establishment, and Government on the same page. But during the 28th of March 2022 Tehreek-e-Insaaf rally “Amar Bilmaroof”, the political situation of Pakistan took a new turn when Imran Khan during the political rally accused opposition parties that they are working on foreign agenda and presented a “Cypher Letter” from the United States as proof.

On 3rd April 2022, Qasim Suri Deputy Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan dismissed the Vote of No Confidence (VNC) as it is based on foreign conspiracy, at the same day President dissolved the assemblies on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Supreme Court took notice of Qasim Suri’s action and dissolution of assembly contrary to law and constitution on April 7 and ordered to reinstate counting on Vote of No Confidence on 9th April 2022. On 9th April 2022 Vote of No Confidence remained successful and all PTI members resigned from National Assembly in protest.

After their resignation from National Assembly Chairman Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf started a defamation campaign against the Pakistan Army especially the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed. As per Imran Khan’s statement, Pakistan Army was neutral in all this process they need to support the present government. Although, during all this political fiasco stance of Imran Khan and the whole PTI’s leadership remain ambiguous, and that is on record first Imran Khan claimed that I told Army to stop this regime change conspiracy and after that, he started his propaganda as Army was behind the regime change. The army is a state institution that works according to the constitution, and the constitution demands from Army to stay away from political matters but Imran Khan’s demand from Army is to indulge in politics.

Read more: Shahid Afridi responds to by-elections results in Punjab

In Punjab during the Chief Minister election, 20 members of PTI were deserted due to violation of the Party regulations by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Before By-Elections, PTI again started the blame game by introducing new actors like Mr. And Mr. Y. COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and DG ISI instructed military personnel not to indulge in any political activity in Punjab By-Elections. However, PTI was just proliferating their propaganda against Armed Forces and didn’t provide a single piece of evidence regarding an attempt to rig the Punjab Elections.

A clean sweep by PTI

Now after the successful conduct of the free and fair election, Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf secured 15 seats out of 20.  Election Commission of Pakistan in its press brief only-Elections Punjab “endorsed the role of the Pakistan Army, other security institutions, and administration in their role of a free and fair election.”Pakistan Army provided its services as third-tier security, with no involvement in Elections or in the transportation of material just to provide security at High-Risk Polling Stations declared by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Ruling party Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz soon after the results accepted the defeat.

Still, after PTI wins By-Election Punjab Important questions arise, Did the establishment support PMLN to form/sustain govt? Did Mr. X or Y rig elections? Did the election commission rig elections? Was IK lying all the way? Will IK & Co apologize? Will the public be fooled always like this? Chairman PTI Imran Khan and other leaders of PTI including Fawad Chaudhry, and Shireen Mazar must answer these serious questions because the nation wants to know the reality of PTI’s allegation. This kind of Propaganda must be stopped now, political issues must be resolved through dialogues no need to blame Army for political issues.



The Author has done his MPhil in Strategic Studies from National Defence University and worked as a Visiting Faculty member in the Department of International University, Muslim Youth University, Islamabad. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.