Home News Analysis Opposition parties stage protest in Islamabad; defeated Maulana Fazlur Rehman bashes at...

Opposition parties stage protest in Islamabad; defeated Maulana Fazlur Rehman bashes at ECP

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, President of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, has threatened to disrupt the political process in the country if the results of General Elections 2018 are not declared “null and void”.

News Analysis |

The political parties which could not perform well in the General Elections 2018 staged a protest in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday. These parties allege that the general elections were neither fair nor transparent. The ECP has failed to perform its duties, leaders of vanquished political parties alleged.

The decision to hold the protest was made by the newly formed 11-party grand opposition alliance, named ‘Pakistan Alliance for Free and Fair Elections’, at a multi-party conference held in Islamabad on last Friday.

The real loser is Maulana and his allies in the KPK who have no other option except to protest and disrupt the political process in the country

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the opposition alliance comprises Awami National Party (ANP), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), National Party (NP) and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) participated in the protest. PPP’s Sherry Rehman, Khursheed Shah and Farhatullah Babar, former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, and PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal were among the leaders who took part in the protest.

Read more: Grand opposition alliance ready to thwart PTI’s government in-waiting

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and president of the MMA, who arrived after the protest had been going on for a few hours, said: “The only reason why all political parties have joined hands today is that the ECP failed to conduct free and fair elections.” Interestingly, the opposition leaders have also decided to register a strong protest inside and outside parliament during the first sitting of the National Assembly

Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s threats to disrupt the system

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, President of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), has recently threatened to disrupt the political process in the country if the results of General Elections 2018 are not declared “null and void”. The MMA president chaired a Multi-party conference (MPC) along with the president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad.

Pakistan’s mainstream political parties, PPP and PML-N, have reservations about the outcomes of the General Elections 2018 but both parties have taken different paths to voice against the alleged rigging

The MPC was called by the MMA president who lost the elections two days back. Maulana seemed angry and frustrated due to his electoral defeat in his constituency. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf got a simple majority in KPK. MPC rejected the General Election 2018 and demanded ‘free and fair’ re-election across the country.

“The All Parties Conference has completely rejected the July 25, 2018 elections with consensus,” announced Rehman while addressing the media after the PML-N-hosted conference concluded. “We do not consider this election to be the mandate of the public,” said defeated MMA president.

Read more: Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman to head revived MMA: What does it mean?

A “divided MPC”

Pakistan’s mainstream political parties, PPP and PML-N, have reservations about the outcomes of the General Elections 2018 but both parties have taken different paths to voice against the alleged rigging. The PPP has said that it does not reject the complete results outright rather it has questions about the electoral process.

Later on, the PPP Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that his party rejects election results but, at the same time, the PPP is going to play a role of an exemplary opposition in the national assembly. Since the PPP has managed to get a simple majority in Sindh and it is interested to form a government in the province. Hence, PPP can’t afford to boycott the National Assembly.

The political parties which could not perform well in the General Elections 2018 staged a protest in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)

Similarly, PML-N has gotten 129 seats in Punjab. And it is interested to form a government in the province. “In Punjab, PML-N has 127 [129] seats, PTI has 118, while 27, who are independent, share our ideology. Our people are in touch with them,” said Hamza Shahbaz, son of PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif.

This clearly indicates that the PML-N is putting pressure on PTI to let it form the government in the province. Since the PTI leader, Naeemul Haq has said “We have required numbers to form the government in Punjab. We are also in touch with the independent candidates, with whom we will form the government.” This is unacceptable for PML-N at the moment.

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The real loser is Maulana and his allies in the KPK who have no other option except to protest and disrupt the political process in the country. It is, however, evident that the divided MPC won’t make any difference since the elections were ‘free and fair’ as declared by many Pakistani commentators and observers and Imran Khan has had popular acceptance. Meanwhile, PPP has decided to form the government in Sindh and play a role of opposition in the National Assembly.