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Voters voted for political stability


Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal |

Pakistan is at the threshold of a prosperous prospect. The people of Pakistan have given a chance to a political party promising for a benign change to steward the country out of various internal and external crises. They also voted out a few old political stalwarts and ‘electables’ who were viewed as the guardian of status quo. The optimistic outcome of the July 25 polling is that despite having a multiparty system, there is no hung parliament.

In the last week general elections, 122 parties fielded their candidates for the Provincial and National assemblies’ seats. Interestingly, they had more or less identical election manifestos in which they promised jobs, social welfare, housing plans, sovereign defense and independent foreign policy. Nevertheless, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its allies constitute the simple majority in the National Assembly.

The PPPP Chairman Bilawal Zardari Bhutto announced to formulate government in Sind under the leadership of formal Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah

Moreover, instead of being a party of one province, the PTI is everywhere in Pakistan. Another thought-provoking development was the mushrooming of religious political parties in the recent elections. Some of the jihadists and sectarian outfits managed to participate in the elections. They were entirely rejected by the electors. It manifests that Pakistani society is neither radicalized nor is in favor of Islamic fanaticism.

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Within three weeks, the National Assembly members will elect the new Prime Minister of the country. According to the Article 91(2) of the 1973 Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, “The National Assembly shall meet on the twenty-first day following the day on which a general election to the Assembly is held unless sooner summoned by the President.” Article 91 (3) necessitates that “after the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, the National Assembly shall, to the exclusion of any other business, proceed to elect without debate one of its Muslim members to be the Prime Minister.”

Imran Khan’s PTI won enough seats of the National Assembly to form a government without ‘unwanted’ allies. The caretaker government transfers the responsibility of governance to the newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet. It transferred power from one civilian government to another for only the second time in the nation’s 70-year history. With the transfer of power, Khan government will start executing its agenda, which he reiterated on July 26.

Read more: Why will I vote for Imran Khan?

Indeed, it’s difficult to profess whether the new government will be able to steward country, successfully. Nevertheless, Khan’s victory speech fosters governance optimism and pacifies the mantra of ‘large-scale’ rigging in an election,’ and calm-down Mian Nawaz Sharif’s combative narrative. The daunting challenge for Khan government will be to settle the political tension among the political parties and continue impartially the accountability process.

The National Assembly shall meet on the twenty-first day following the day on which a general election to the Assembly is held unless sooner summoned by the President.

The voters went to the polls against a background of heightened political tension. The losing political parties have been questioning the neutrality of the Election Commission of Pakistan and a few losers in the elections are demanding for rejecting the election results. On Friday, the Multi-Party Conference convened by the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) leader and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman alarms about the probability of political turmoil.

The PML-N and PPPP leadership are rhetorically supporting the demand of rejectionists and practically planning to play their vibrant opposition role in the parliament. The PPPP Chairman Bilawal Zardari Bhutto announced to formulate government in Sind under the leadership of formal Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. The PML-N mustered majority seats in Punjab assembly but lacks the simple majority. Like PTI, PML-N leadership has started contacting leaders of different parties and independent elected members of Punjab assembly.

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The encouraging development is that country will be having strong federal and provincial governments with clear electoral mandates to combat the menace of terrorism, to appreciate the Pakistani rupee, harmonize working among the state institutions, steward balanced and independent foreign and strategic policy. Khan will be having a government without difficult allies in the center. Neither he nor his chief ministers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab (provided PTI win the support of independent members) will be encountering internal frictions.

The Herculean task for Khan is to select competent people for the ministerial jobs. The review of PTI members of the National Assembly list reveals that he has an opportunity to select professionals and seasoned politicians to address the political, economic, security and social challenges.

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To conclude, Mr Khan mustered the support of the voters by positioned himself as a fighter against corruption, denouncing the dynastic politics, and nepotism of parties like the PML-N, PPP, AWL, JUI, etc. Nonetheless, his performance as the leader of the House and chief executive of the country will determine the common man trust in the political system, attract foreign investment, and improve image of Pakistan in the international community.

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He is also an advisor on Non-Proliferation to SASSI, London and a course coordinator at Foreign Services Academy for the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Email: jaspal_99@hotmail.com. This piece was first published in Pakistan Observer. It has been reprinted with permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

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