News Analysis |
In what seems to be a reverse déjà vu of the 2013 general elections, incumbent – and apparently, outgoing – party; PML-N leaders took to social media to denounce the unofficial polling results. Under the watch of over 370,000 army personnel, the counting of votes is still underway with only half of the polling stations have been covered all over the country.
The necessity was validated when three attacks in the week before elections over 150 were martyred in suicide attacks targeting rallies where at least 2 candidates also lost their lives.
Already it is clear that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf is taking the lead, something which the ruling party; Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) simply cannot stomach. In the run-up to the elections, PML-N has been mostly caught up in corruption litigations spearheaded by the Pakistan Supreme Court. Ranging from appeals, retaliatory threats, social media tweets and protests, the incumbent party stubbornly stuck to its guns. In the meantime, PTI proceeded to create one of the first manifestos submitted by a political party in Pakistan and consolidate its position in constituencies all over the country.
In the wake of the high profile arrests of party leader Nawaz Sharif and his daughter who represented the party’s descent into dynastic politics, PML-N’s popularity began to crumble. Alienation of loyalists like Ghulam Sardar and Chaudhry Nisar further cemented their fate. However, the PML-N paid no heed to these mishaps and instead piled the blame on the establishment citing allegations of interference.
Fast forward to Election Day, all parties, observers and even many voters already knew Imran Khan’s Tsunami would engulf the North as the unofficial results proved his clean sweep. Of note was PML-N former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s defeat in his home constituency. It was obvious that the main struggle would remain in Punjab’s sought after constituencies. Despite throwing their level best in their Punjab constituencies, PML-N lost ground in major districts such as Multan, Faisalabad and even trailed with 4 seats in Lahore.
However, unofficial results were sufficient for the PML-N leaders to throw up their hands in cries of rigging and favoritism by the establishment. Earlier the caretaker government in agreement with all contesting parties supported the deployment of armed forces within polling stations. The necessity was validated when three attacks in the week before elections over 150 were martyred in suicide attacks targeting rallies where at least 2 candidates also lost their lives. Moreover, on the morning of polling day, another blast took away the lives of 30 people at a polling station in Quetta.
As the polling results continue rolling in, it is safe to say this would be Pakistan’s most transparent elections so far. But this did not stop the PML-N leaders from crying foul over the presence of army officers within polling stations. Upon the eve of their historic win in 2013, it was the same leaders who snubbed PTI claims of widespread rigging and demanded the party to face defeat with a forthright attitude.
12 May 2013: Golden words of Legendary Maryam Nawaz Sharif. Replace PTI with PMLN and this tweet will still hold true. pic.twitter.com/SWvFK9hllQ
— SIR .. (@SirJohnRoe) July 25, 2018
Yet, even as results continue to pour in, PTI’s prospects seem brighter than ever. It is expected that by the time the official results are announced PTI might enjoy a parliamentary majority unprecedented in around 40 years. It would be admirable of PML-N to courteously accept defeat and realize their tantrums are ill-founded given the transparency of elections 2018.