New Analysis |
It was expected that the religious parties will develop a stronghold in the General Elections 2018 in Pakistan. Newspapers and analysts persistently fearing that many radical religious parties were taking part in the election and it might leave a negative impact on Pakistan’s democracy. The unofficial results have shown that no religious party can make a visible presence.
MMA Suffers Large Loses in Polls
Interestingly, the combined strength of contestants of three religious parties, Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party (PRHP), Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) and Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), was more than the candidates fielded by Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).
MMA, an alliance of five Islamic parties – Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Jamaat-e-Islami, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Islami Tehreek and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan –, is leading from a dozen National Assembly constituencies mainly from the traditional stronghold of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan
A new player, Khadim Rizvi, had politicked people of his sect across Pakistan. TLP was hopeful that they will be able to gather a visible presence in the national political discourse but yet again, Pakistan has decided not to vote solely on religious grounds.
MMA had nominated a total of 192 candidates in General Elections 2018 for the 272 directly elected constituencies of the National Assembly, while TLP alone had 178 contenders. However, MMA’s focus lay in the restive regions of K-P and Balochistan, where they enjoy a sizeable vote bank while TLP was eying seats from Punjab where it nominated 141 contestants. TLP had 32 contesters from Sindh, 16 from K-P and 6 from Balochistan.
Problems with TLP
The problem with the TLP was that it remained politically overconfident before the general elections. The party contested its candidates across the country and hoped that it would manage to win the elections. It was naïve, as the results have proved. “In a by-poll, you may gather the whole country and amass all resources in a constituency but in the general vote all your workforce and resources are scattered throughout the country,” TLP member told media persons.
He further said that a seasoned politician from the Jamiat Ulema-i- Pakistan (JUP) had advised them to strike the alliance with any major party, and that focusing energies on the few seats for giving a better parliamentary result. However, the main TLP leadership frowned upon the suggestion, believing that they could get more through the support of the common man and on the issue of finality of Prophethood.
It was expected that the religious parties will develop a stronghold in the General Elections 2018 in Pakistan.
Religious Parties in Pakistan
There is an undeniable role of religion in Pakistan’s political landscape; however religious parties have never been able to form the government at a federal level. According to scholars working on religion and politics in Pakistan, the people of Pakistan do not support the ideas of religious leaders when it comes to politics. The people prefer to cast their votes either on ‘Birdari’ basis or by looking at the respective socio-economic benefits.
A new player, Khadim Rizvi, had politicked people of his sect across Pakistan. TLP was hopeful that they will be able to gather a visible presence in the national political discourse but yet again, Pakistan has decided not to vote solely on religious grounds. PTI has managed to win the general elections. Imran Khan had already promised to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state, so if anyone was inclined towards such an idea – they would have voted for PTI instead of TLP.