Since then, ANP's chances have significantly diminished but PPP and MQM still remain strong in their respective strongholds. In recent months, Nawaz Sharif's PML (N) has also recovered significant ground vis-a-vis Imran Khan's Tehrik-e-Insaf.
The PPP-MQM-ANP bloc can still prevail and form the next govt because the right-wing (PML N, JI, JUI, and I include PTI in that as well) in Pakistan is deeply divided with each party fielding candidates against others and splitting the traditional conservative vote.
Youth and women vote still remains a wild card which could tip the balance in favor of Imran Khan's Tehrik-e-Insaf if there is significantly higher voter turn-out this time relative to the 44% in 2008 elections.
As Pakistanis begin to vote in General Elections 2013, here's my assessment of how the results will turn out:
PML (N) may end up with the largest number of seats but it probably will not be able to put together a coalition.
This will likely open up an opportunity for the PPP to form the next govt. So there's very little chance of better governance in the next 5 years.
Imran Khan (PTI) will most likely sit in the opposition with 30-40 seats....a substantial number to be able to influence laws and policies.
If the result goes as I predict with PTI getting 30-40 seats (substantial in my view), then I fear that Imran Khan's folks will cry foul. But it'll be a test of IK's leadership to cool tempers and work to improve the system and hope that the next election could make PTI a big winner.
Who will win Pakistan Elections 2013? Who will lose? Who will form the next government at the center and the provinces? How will violence affect the outcome? Who is using the mass media for campaigning? Please watch Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discuss these and other questions with Sabahat Ashraf, Ali Hasan Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq
Who Will Win Pakistan Elections 2013? Imran Khan's Fall and Ali Haider Gilani's abduction. from WBT TV on Vimeo.
Here's the seats summary as of May 15, 2013:
|Source: Pakistan Election Commission via GeoTV|
Here's percentage of votes cast for each party:
|Source: Pakistan Election Commission via Dawn|
Impact of Youth Vote and Taliban Violence on Elections 2013
Detailed Voter Maps for Pakistan Elections 2013
Imran Khan's Social Media Campaign
Pakistan Elections 2013 Predictions
Why is Democracy Failing in Pakistan?
Imran Khan's Social Media Campaign
FMCG Companies Profiting From Pakistan's Rural Consumption Boom
Poll Finds Pakistanis Happier Than Neighbors
Politics of Patronage in Pakistan
Feudal Power Dominates Pakistani Elections
Viewpoint From Overseas-Vimeo
Viewpoint From Overseas-Youtube
60% Voter turnout is the highest since 1977!
Easily beats the 44% turnout of 2008 election.
I congratulate PML (N) on its victory and I welcome the emergence of PTI as a third force in Pakistani politics. It has come from nowhere to become the second largest party in National Assembly and the new governing party in KP. It has the potential to transform the future of Pakistan if PTI does well in governing KP and forces change at the center to bring in much needed reforms. It's a big test of PTI and and a great hope for Pakistan.
^^RH: "It has come from nowhere to become the second largest party in National Assembly and the new governing party in KP.."
This was not because of the ELECTION. This was because of the SELECTION.
USA Today QUOTE: "While other parties relied on online and television campaigning, reluctant to take part in rallies on the ground for fear of terrorists attacks, Sharif and Khan were able to meet with voters — a big advantage in a country with large rural areas where many do not have access to technology...."
I hope it will change the primitive local system of KP. It is even worse than what PML-N came up with in Punjab!
I think true test will be how parties govern in robust local systems, which they can use to as labs for experimental changes. It is safer to try out policies locally before they are rolled out.
HWJ: "This was not because of the ELECTION. This was because of the SELECTION."
Pakistanis defied threats of violence to vote with 60% turn-out, much higher than the 44% in 2008.
If the governance of PPP and ANP had been better, the results would not be so negative for them.
I congratulate brave Pakistanis who defied Taliban's threats of violence to come out ad vote with 60% turn-out, much higher than the 44% in 2008. If the governance of PPP and ANP had been better, the results would not be so negative for them. This should serve as a warning to PML(N) to perform or else...
^^RH: "Pakistanis defied threats of violence to vote with 60% turn-out, much higher than the 44% in 2008.
If the governance of PPP and ANP had been better, the results would not be so negative for them"
That is not true.
Imagine that I go about bad-mouthing you. You would like to respond, but you cannot, because you are locked-up at home.
Given that you do not respond, people will tend to believe what I say.
Simple rural people are like that. They will say where are the other parties? What do they have to say? Where are their lunches & handshakes? They don't care about us, only PML/PTI cares about us.
But the reality is that the others were not ALLOWED to campaign.
This is not a valid election result. The PPP, ANP & MQM will question the process as flawed and the outcome as biased. They will call the PML-PTI government as Taliban-installed and illegitimate.
After all, you cannot have a free and fair elections when terrorist violence is directed toward only one side. In Iraq, this was not the case; there the terrorists were attacking ALL sides and so no one could complain of bias. Unfortunately, we will have to deal with this KEY issue....
I think IK has arrived on the political scene just as PM has faded away. May be a good thing. Anyway, interesting times ahead.
The new army is 'apolitical', 'uninvolved' and 'back-to-the-barracks'. No coups. No direct interventions. No earth-shattering statements or nerve-wracking moves that send stock exchanges tumbling and Indian strike corps deployments rumbling.
Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pakistan-elecions-new-army-general-ashfaq-parvez-kayani/1/269100.html
I knew this was coming....
QUOTE: "...he extended hearty congratulations to the people of Punjab and hoped that as the leader of the biggest province of the country Nawaz Sharif will also treat the non-Punjabi people of the remaining three provinces with equality, justice and honesty.."
'Yay hamara leader nahin, yay tau Punjabiyon ka leader hay'
History tells us that the PPP has had much higher level of tolerance to media criticism than PML (N) or PTI. It'll be interesting to see how NS and IK react to unrestrained negative coverage by Pakistan's freewheeling media born during Musharraf years and bred during Zardari's PPP's rule.
It is not correct that PPP has higher tolerance level.I remember that
when ZAB took over he got tried Altaf Hussain Qureshi
,Mujeeb Shami and Hussain Naqi in Military Courts and sent them to
jail.The declaration of their periodicals were cancelled and they went
through extreme difficulties for years.He also removed Z A Sulehri
from the editorship of Pakistan Times and arrested Altaf Gouhar Editor
of Dawn.Muhammad Salahuddin s/o Muhammad Shabuddin of JASARAT was also
put to Jail ,with instructions to keep him there for the rest of his
Nawaz Shareef is now much more serious and mature person and perhaps
only one to lead country out of the current mess.He did not reply to
continuous baseless allegations of Tsunami Khan in Print Media,and
Public gatherings.In his victory address also NS announced to forget
all who abused him.So hopefully there should not be any problem.
As for Tsunami Khan is concerned I think he is now irrelevant.And if
NS listens to clever Fazlur Rehman(who was also badly abused byTsunami
by calling him Munafiq and Maulana Diesel etc)the dream of forming KP
Government will evaporate quickly,like all other claims e.g.
a)I will not allow NS to take turn now
b)I am expert in breaking partnerships
c)I will use the Bat for Phentey
d)Governer House will be turned to University on 12 May
e)I will not take oath from Zardari.That means he knew that he is
going to loose Elections.
Najam: "It is not correct that PPP has higher tolerance level.I remember that when ZAB took over he got tried Altaf Hussain Qureshi ,Mujeeb Shami and Hussain Naqi in Military Courts and sent them to jail."
With respect to ZAB, you are talking about a very different period in 1970s, right after Ayub Khan's rule and well before the Musharraf era media power and proliferation.
You are forgetting how Nawaz Sharif had journalists like Najam Sethi arrested and beaten when they criticized Nawaz.
You are also forgetting Nawaz's dictatorial tendencies that gave him the idea of anointing himself "amir-ul-momineen" during his last stint in power.
You are also wrong about Imran Khan being irrelevant.
The fact is that PTI is far more relevant now and poses the biggest challenge to Nawaz Sharif.
I fully expect Imran Khan to pounce on Sharif as soon as he stumbles which he will given his corrupt nature and lack of competence and the enormous problems Pakistan faces.
Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf's party on Sunday managed to win a seat each in the National and provincial constituency despite announcing a boycott of the 2013 general elections.
Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) won one seat each for National Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's provincial assembly from Chitral's NA-32 and PK-90 constituency.
The APML had announced a boycott of the general elections 2013 after the rejection of Musharraf's nomination papers from all provinces and the imposition of a lifetime ban.
^^RH: "..Nawaz Sharif had journalists like Najam Sethi arrested and beaten when they criticized Nawaz."
It is not so simple.
Remember that Sharif was an Army protege. He was groomed by the Khakis to fight the PPP in those days. Anyone who criticized him was, in effect, criticizing the Khakis. And it was the Khakis who did all the beating, directly or indirectly.
Of course, once Sharif tried to get rid of the Khakis in 1998, they turned against him and he was kicked out in 1999.
So Sharif's ability to do any more 'beatings' now (i.e. in the post-1999 period) is questionable, as he is no longer a blatant Khaki pawn as he used to be in the 1990s.
^^RH: "I fully expect Imran Khan to pounce on Sharif as soon as he stumbles which he will given his corrupt nature and lack of competence and the enormous problems Pakistan faces."
If Imran pounces on Sharif at the National Level, Sharif will pounce back on Imran at the KPK level.
I guarantee you this: Imran will prove to be no more competent than Sharif, even if he proves to be incorruptible.
There is no chance whatsoever that Imran will be able to govern KPK well-- it is an ungovernable province and will remain so for a long, long time.
Even if Imran is personally incorruptible, all the other elected members will not be so clean. And he can't do much about it, as he needs their support as elected members. Therefore, general corruption will not go away even if Imran were to prove to be the most honest politician in the world. As an example, look at India: Vajpayee, Advani, MMS, Chidabaram, Ansari, Mukherjee etcetera were/are widely regarded as honest, but their general parties are clearly rife with corruption.
So don't get your hopes up too much-- otherwise you will be heartbroken when the harsh realities re-assert themselves.
quite right Riaz Saahab. but competence isn't that big a problem with NS; other things are. I remember the things he did in his first 100 days the first time around; they were inspiring. I mean no other leader in a Muslim country had dared move the Friday holiday back to Sunday.
As to the competence of Nawaz Sharif, let's not forget that the 1990s is still regarded by most independent economists as Pakistan's "lost decade". In the 1990s, economic growth plummeted to between 3% and 4%, poverty rose to 33%, inflation was in double digits and the foreign debt mounted to nearly the entire GDP of Pakistan as the governments of Benazir Bhutto (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif (PML) played musical chairs. Before Sharif was ousted in 1999, the two parties had presided over a decade of corruption and mismanagement. In 1999 Pakistan’s total public debt as percentage of GDP was the highest in South Asia.
does not matter who wins, people will loose regardless
Here's a Bloomberg story on Sharif victory raising investors' hopes:
Pakistan’s stocks climbed the most in two months to a record as unofficial election results showed a party led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif winning the most seats in parliament.
The benchmark KSE 100 Index gained 1.8 percent, the most since March 12, to 20,272.28 as of 2:10 p.m. Karachi time, taking its rally this year to 20 percent. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League will probably lead a government that will support the nation’s business community, said Farrukh Hussain, who oversees about $110 million as chief investment officer at BMA Asset Management Co.
Sharif, who served two terms as Pakistan’s prime minister in the 1990s, will face the challenge of bolstering an economy hampered by a power crisis and quelling a Taliban-led insurgency that has killed 151 people leading up to the elections. The KSE 100 rallied 8.5 percent in February 1997 when Sharif won his second term. The gauge could rise between 3 percent and 5 percent this week, and 15 percent by the end of the year, BMA Asset’s Hussain said.
“With a Nawaz Sharif-led government, we can see a lot of support for the economy,” Hussain said by phone from Karachi yesterday. “Investors would feel much more comfortable with the incoming government.” BMA Asset’s Pakistan Opportunities Fund has beaten 98 percent of its peers this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Sharif’s party had won 127 seats in the lower house of parliament, according to a tally by state-run Pakistan Television. President Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party, which headed the previous administration, took 31 seats, a third of its previous total.
The results set the stage for the longer-term stability of the country’s sovereign rating of B minus, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said in a statement from Singapore today. That’s six levels below investment grade.
Sharif, whose family owns steel and sugar mills, ended state monopolies in shipping, airlines and telecommunications when in office. Pakistan’s $210 billion economy grew an average 3.8 percent each year during Sharif’s terms as prime minister, according to data on the World Bank’s website. Under Zardari’s five-year administration, growth slowed to an average 3 percent, less than half the annual pace of the previous five years.
The KSE 100 Index (KSE100) surged this year as higher commodity prices and consumer spending boosted earnings of the gauge’s companies by 43 percent in the past 12 months, the most among 17 Asian equity indexes, data compiled by Bloomberg showed as of May 9. That profit growth lured $202 million of stock purchases from overseas investors this year, the most since the same period in 2010, the data show.
The stock rally has driven the gauge to trade at 8 times estimated earnings, the most expensive level in almost two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The last time the gauge traded at this level -- in June 2011 -- the measure slumped more than 10 percent in two months. The current valuation is still 44 percent below the MSCI Asia-Pacific Index’s 14.2 multiple.
“Valuations are still attractive,” Muhammad Imran, who oversees about $203 million as chief investment officer at ABL Asset Management Co. in Karachi. “People will take this election positively. Foreign inflows have been driving the market and this will continue.”
Seven stocks advanced in the KSE 100 today for each one that declines. MCB Bank Ltd., the country’s largest by market value, gained 4.9 percent to 261.60 rupees, poised for the highest close since May 2008. Pakistan State Oil Co. jumped 5 percent to 221.86 rupees....
Youth which are with this Khan are primarily mummy daddy,burger type of Defence and Clifton areas. They want fun and hulla gulla,which they find in those gatherings and meetings.Lot of lights and music and songs by Attaullah Khelwi and Abrarul Haq and Salman Ahmed etc.And funny statement by Khan
I will use this bat to hit Tiger(Not arrow or Kite)
I will not let him take fifth term(No mention of 7th term of Altaf Bhai
I will finish corruption of Dengue brothers(Look at the mentality,and no mention of extortion by MQM and corruption of others)
He is a cheat,he is a liar,who jhoota hay,woh bakwas kurta hay
With one ball ,I will disturb stumps of him
O Nawazu,Tsunami is coming
People,young and old were so fed up in listening to this,that they decided to punish him and they did.
Before him ,there was another clown ZA Bhutto,who was also a favourite with the youth and poor and drew much larger crowds,without spending money of Charity given for Hospital.
Now ,the dream is over,but unfortunately ,Khan has no sportsman spirit and no manners at all.He has not yet accepted his collosal defeat and has talked about rigging in Punjab(not any other place)and publishing white paper.
Having passed considerable time in Punjab and with Punjabi people I know that they are very sensitive on social issues,particularly on someone's death.When elder Shareef died ,Khan did not condole and recently when Abbas Shareef died few months ago ,he did not visit grieved family,while being in Lahore.Even Ch Shujaat and Pervez Ellahi behaved like good citizens and good muslims.When he fell from lifter,and was taken to SKM hospital,Shahbaz Shareef went to see him.Salogans were raised against him and he was not allowed to see Khan.Shortly Rehman Malik and MQM delegation arrived and were led straight to his room.
You talk about sharafat and I know how shareef this family is.I was working with Al Tuwairqi Group of Saudi Arabia in a senior position and have first hand experience of these guys as we were buying their Jeddah Steel.Peoples party was corrupt but somehow tolerant and were not cruel to common man.These brothers are equally corrupt and are cruel to the extent that not many will believe.Now you will see what will happen in Karachi.Sharifs dont care about Karachi and the sitiation will be even worse after these stupid statements of AH.
When Nawaz Sharif inaugrated Karachi Airport ,he had no contribution in building it,his first statement was "We should have first this in Lahore".He was jealous of Karachi being the hub of PIA.He created three hubs.One in Lahore and another in Pindi.He just cares for Punjab.Now even before taking oath he announced that Indian PM will be invited for oath taking ceremony.I am sure this will not be taken well in Army.But he has started showing aerogance right from today.He removed two Army Cheifs and one from Navy.But then,there was Makafat-e-Amal.History is going to repeat itself and we will perhaps witness it as well.
There's a book out "Capitalism's Achilles Heel" by Raymond Baker which documents corruption and outright theft by third world leaders. It has several pages devoted to Nawaz Sharif.
It details how the Sharifs siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars on a bunch of deals ranging from motorway construction to wheat imports.
Here's a Google Books link to it:
You can search and read specific pages on Sharif.
The feudal minded seek constant reinforcement to shore up their perceived sense of superiority.
The true hero reaches out to the people with no desire for an elevated status.
First-hand account: During NAWAZ SHARIF's first tenure as Prime Minister, Shahbaz Sharif was admitted into Services Hospital for a minor surgery. My father was serving as MS Services Hospital at the time. He gave Shahbaz Sharif TWO "V-VIP" rooms. That wasn't enough. My father was asked to vacate the entire floor and ask the patients in the surrounding rooms to leave their hospital beds because Shahbaz Sharif's security was going to be threatened. I remember my father being extremely upset and stressed out for his other patients, who had to be dislocated in an already cramped GOVERNMENT hospital. Mind you there was no terrorism back then and Shahbaz Sharif would have been perfectly safe with his army of policeman surrounding the 2 rooms originally given to him.
"Imran Khan is in the ICU ward with 7 other patients in a hospital that HE BUILT HIMSELF with money that you and i collected for him as children.
"That is precisely the difference between him and PML-N. The crazy desire for protocol. The sense of entitlement to government assets. The complete abuse of power. The disregard for the life of the common man ..."
From my personal experience, another comparison between the same mentality....on one hand we have NS's daughter Mariam Nawaz meeting us common folk and campaigning for PML-N, the number of police and official protocol following her around puts the US secret service to shame...and this is a woman who holds no public office what so ever, never has and never will....on the other hand we have IK's sisters campaigning around the same areas as Marium Nawaz, without even one security guard....the only people with them are a handful of tabdelli razakars and children..... that's the difference between 'rulers/master' and leaders...
^^Anon: "The feudal minded seek constant reinforcement to shore up their perceived sense of superiority. The true hero reaches out to the people with no desire for an elevated status......"
I fear you are indulging in romaticism without examing the facts in the light of the harsh reality.
The entourage & security detail you describe of Nawaz Sharif and his family is something that is typically associated with people holding an important government post like Prime Minister, Chief Minister, President.
The lack of entourage & security detail you describe of Imran Khan is something that is typical of someone who has DOES NOT HOLD any important government post.
How will we test if the above is true or not?
We will have to wait until Imran holds a top government post and then see if he remains the 'simple hero of the people' you think he is.
Power corrupts; Vanity is in everyone. Few ascend to the hallways of power and remain untouched. Saints often turn into despots upon wearing the crown. Liberators of the people often become tyrants upon ascending the throne. Imran may well prove to be the exception to all this-- but I would not bet on it.
Let us wait and see. In the meantime, don't get you hopes up too much, otherwise you will be crushed if your god proves to be a false idol.
I guess MQM needs to watch out. PTI, with its broader appeal, could become more effective than JI as a challenger to MQM in its stronghold in Karachi.
Results show PTI has vote bank in MQM strongholds
Here's an ET report on EU Observer Mission's report on Pak Elections 2013:
ISLAMABAD: Despite allegations of vote rigging in certain parts of the country, international election observers on Monday declared that Saturday’s landmark parliamentary polls were free and fair.
In its interim report, the European Union, which deployed the largest foreign election observer mission in Pakistan, said the voting at 90% of the polling stations remained ‘satisfactory’.
However, ‘serious irregularities’ were reported on the remaining 10% polling stations mostly in Sindh, said Chief Observer Michael Gahler while releasing the preliminary findings of EU observers during a news conference.
“Overall, this election in Pakistan was indeed a step forward towards democracy,” added Gahler, who also headed the EU mission in 2002 and 2008 parliamentary elections.
He said the EU mission undertook limited observation in Karachi, where they saw some ‘serious problems’ in polling. Karachi was the focus of most complaints reported by rival political parties.
Responding to a question, Gahler said they took note of threats by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain about ‘detaching’ Karachi from the rest of Pakistan. “Let’s see what action the British government takes against its citizen,” he said.
Over 140 EU observers scrutinised polling, counting and the compilation of results covering in total 679 polling stations in 140 constituencies.....
Elections are never 100% fair anywhere-much less in Pakistan. There were serious questions about JFK's win in Chicago Illinois (1960) and George W. Bush's win in Florida (2000) but in each case the opponents chose to back down in the larger interest of the country.
I think the pre-poll rigging that prevented ANP, PPP and MQM from freely campaigning in three provinces is much more significant than the rigging claims in a small number of polling stations, less than 10% as reported by international observers from EU. But, in spite of this, ANP and PPP have gracefully accepted their defeat.
I hope the rigging claims in Pakistan are peacefully resolved by re-polling in affected polling stations where there is solid evidence of irregularity.
It's not in Pakistan's or any of the political parties' best interest to plunge the country into yet another crisis. I hope sanity prevails here. Leaders like IK need to play a role here to calm the situation.
^^RH: "I think the pre-poll rigging that prevented ANP, PPP and MQM from freely campaigning in three provinces is much more significant than the rigging claims in a small number of polling stations, less than 10% as reported by international observers from EU. But, in spite of this, ANP and PPP have gracefully accepted their defeat."
Such rigging claims become very serious when election results are very close (narrow margin), such as the two US examples you mention.
But this election has a 'landslide' result. This was not a 'neck-to-neck' race. Even if the claimed 10% rigging did occur, the margin is too small to have made any real difference to the final result.
This should not be an serious issue.
Where did your predictions go off the mark?
1) PPP lost the Seraikis to PMLN
2) ANP lost the Pashtuns to PTI
3) PML(Q) was wiped out everywhere
Other than that, you were largely on target. PPP held on to rural Sindh. MQM held on to urban Sindh. The Baloch were scattered as before between separatists, nationalists, autonomists & boycotters.
How do we know that we are not just repeating the musical chairs of the 90s, except with full 5-year terms being completed this time? Could we be in for 5 more years of 'the same'?
Ek bar galti karey voh Naadan,
Do bar galti karey voh Shaitan,
bar bar galti karey Pakistan.
May 14, 2013: Here is Dr. Surcharge Aziz, the former Finance Minister during Sharif's previous PM stint, speaking about how to revive the economy....
Here's a Reuters' report on Templeton and Goldman Sachs bullishness on Pakistan:
After 18 years as a banker at firms such as Citigroup and Nomura, Shaheryar Chishty took a different direction in late 2011, starting an investment firm that, among other things, helped guide Chinese and South Korean money into Pakistan.
While Pakistan is probably not the first place the average investor would choose to park cash, Chishty's timing was spot on. The country's stock market surged 49 percent last year to become one of the five best performing markets in the world.
The victory by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan's general election lifted the stock market to an all-time high on Monday, in a sign that investors, which include Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Mark Mobius of Templeton, are betting on the prospect of further market gains through a stable government.
"I'm not under-estimating the challenges, but we have one party with a simple majority," Chishty, the Pakistan-origin chief executive of Asiapak Investments Ltd, told Reuters in an interview in Hong Kong on Monday. "A lot of the market's rise happened despite the previous government."
Risks, especially violence by Islamic militant groups, remain constant, yet Pakistan's market is up another 21 percent this year, behind only Japan and the Philippines as Asia's top gainers, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Pakistan's uncertain security environment and a deteriorating economy have failed to keep emerging market fund guru Mobius and Goldman Sachs Asset Management out of the country.
Mobius invested 4.6 percent of his $18.5 billion Templeton Asian Growth Fund's assets in Pakistani shares as of the end of March, more than his exposure to shares in Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan, according to data from Thomson Reuters Lipper.
"Pakistan is not a small country and it is strategically significant. However, with the negative press surrounding the country, it has tended to be ignored by investors," said Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group.
Last year, 15 equity funds from Pakistan were among the world's top 100 performers, the Thomson Reuters Lipper data show....
Here's an AFP report on technology used in Pak elections:
ISLAMABAD: It was targeted by the Taliban, women and minorities were vastly under-represented, and videos of irregularities went viral online – yet Pakistan’s 2013 election may still have been its fairest ever.
A much improved voter roll, near-record turnout, and vigilant citizens tweeting alleged rigging all played their part in what former Norwegian PM and election observer Kjell Magne Bondevik called “a credible expression of the will of the people”.
Saturday’s election saw about 50 million Pakistanis vote, with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif emerging the winner nearly 14 years after he was deposed in a coup.
It represented the first time a civilian government was to hand over power to another, in a country where sporadic attempts at democracy have been interrupted by three coups and four military rulers.
Violence in the run-up to polls and on election day itself killed more than 150 people, according to an AFP tally, as the Taliban set their sights in particular on secular parties that made up the outgoing government.
But despite the threat, nearly 60 per cent of the country’s registered 86 million voters went to the polls, moving Pakistani columnist Murtaza Haider to hail his country as “the world’s bravest democracy”.
“The results of May 11 elections prove once again that if given the opportunity, Pakistani masses would embrace democracy against the religious orthodoxy,” he wrote in Dawn newspaper.
The process was far from perfect. Eleven million fewer women voted than men, with militant threats and social conservatism excluding them altogether in parts of the northwest and tribal areas, including the Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan.
Yet overall women’s participation was higher than ever, particularly in urban areas, and almost three times as many women ran for office as in 2008.
“The main thing was serious interest in the election and we have a very heavy participation by women everywhere. So I think this was a good election,” said IA Rehman, a veteran human rights activist.
Some of the credit goes to Pakistan’s database authority, which oversaw an increase in the registration of women from 50 per cent during the last polls to 86 per cent by adding all adults with an ID card to the voter roll.
The agency culled the dead from the electoral roll, and clamped down on ID card fraud that resulted in some people voting dozens of times in the last election.
It put in place measures that allowed polling stations to access would-be voters’ photographs and even check thumb impressions against the national database in cases of suspected fraud.
The agency also allowed voters to SMS their ID card number to instantly find which polling station they should use – a serviced accessed 55 million times.
“Technology has strengthened democracy in Pakistan, enhanced turnout, eroded corruption and enhanced transparency,” Tariq Malik, chairman of the National Database Registration Authority, told AFP.
But he warned that technology can only do so much and poll officials remained susceptible to corruption.
As in previous elections, allegations of fraud were made around the country, with particular focus on claims by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Karachi and Lahore....
Here's a Businessweek story on Nawaz Sharif's win:
Sharif’s election is the first of an expected wave of changes in Pakistan and in the region. The Pakistan Army chief with whom the Americans have been dealing for more than five years is scheduled to retire later this year and Sharif will be responsible, in part, for naming a successor. There are elections on the way in Afghanistan, India, and Iran. As the U.S. looks to withdraw its forces and a decade worth of equipment from Afghanistan next year, Pakistan’s roads and infrastructure are going to be vital. And with Sharif, says Ayaz Amir, a former Noon League parliamentarian, “that stuff”—building, cutting deals—”runs through his blood.”
He is, after all, the scion of a powerful Punjabi family, owners of the Ittefaq steel mills. Several members of the Sharif family have served as elected officials at different levels of government. During two terms as prime minister in the 90s, he oversaw the construction of hundreds of miles of eight-lane highways, initiated a new deep sea port on the Arabian sea and a dam on the Indus river, tested nuclear weapons, built airports, and flooded the streets of Pakistan with yellow taxis. He has also been accused of using these mega-projects to pad his family’s fortunes. But in a country that struggles to get enough electricity, the promise of a candidate who can build is no small thing.
The headquarters of the Pakistan Muslim League (also called just Nawaz, or the Noon League) is in a well-guarded mansion, which takes architectural cues from palaces and monuments of the ancient central and South Asian kings, a cocoon of fine leather and polished wood. Despite the setting, the election didn’t feet like an inheritance. Only days before, Sharif and his family were warding off allegations of corruption again. The most talked about political ad on TV, paid for by a rival party, was a captioned audio clip from what appeared to be a secretly recorded conversation between Mian Shahbaz Sharif—Nawaz’s younger brother—and a high court judge. The two men spoke in clipped sentences about fixing a court judgment in favor of a Noon League loyalist. Around the same time, the interior minister from the previous government called a press conference to present what he said was evidence of money laundering by Nawaz Sharif. The former minister had let a fat stack of evidence land with a heavy thud, claiming that he would quit politics if any of his accusations turned out to be false.
People, it turns out, are ready for an economic explosion, especially if it includes things like decent public transportation. Sharif’s younger brother, Shahbaz, who was the chief minister of the Punjab province for the past five years, inaugurated the Lahore Metro Bus service just in time for the election. It is an elevated bus network that runs some 20 miles along one of the city’s main arteries, connecting Lahore’s Old City to modern residential neighborhoods such as Model Town. Like many of their mega projects, it happens to use a phenomenal amount of steel, the Sharif family specialty: the footbridges are all metal; the twenty mile length of the bus lane is guarded on each side by a six foot high iron grill, encased for good measure by another, taller metal frame. The floor is made of steel.
A few days before the election, a man who works as a clerk at a government office rode the air-conditioned bus. He said that while he felt seduced by promises for sweeping change and a more “just” political system that was being promised by the Movement for Justice, he loved the fact that his commute had been shrunk from multiple hours to less than half an hour. That was reason enough to vote for Sharif. Millions of votes like his, along with millions of other votes cast along patronage lines ....
Here's an FT report on Nawaz Sharif's plans to revive economy:
Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s new prime minister, will appoint private sector managers to run state companies in efforts to revive an economy starved of investment, say leaders of his party.
Mr Sharif, who has been prime minister twice before, launched a similar policy in 1997 when he appointed commercial bankers to run three large public sector banks. All three became profitable and two, Habib Bank and United Bank, were privatised.
The plan faces a backlash from trade unions. Mr Sharif’s aides compared the process to the privatisations in the UK by Margaret Thatcher after she became prime minister in 1979.
Sartaj Aziz, former finance and foreign minister and a leader of Mr Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, told the Financial Times: “The formula is simple. You appoint good people, you allow them to appoint their people and you empower them. The government helps wherever it can.”
Officials said Ishaq Dar, a confidant of Mr Sharif, would take up his former post of finance minister in the new government.
Final results have yet to be declared but business leaders have welcomed a vote that will probably allow Mr Sharif, a wealthy Punjabi steel magnate, to have an absolute majority in parliament without the need for coalition partners.
Investors in Pakistan said they were tired of grappling with power cuts of up to 20 hours a day, widespread corruption in public life and an inefficient public sector. Mr Sharif has identified rescuing the economy as his number one priority.
A central bank official said public sector companies in power, rail transport and aviation run up huge losses each year amounting to more than 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product. “These are clearly white elephants,” he said.
Mian Muhammad Mansha, the Lahore-based owner of a Pakistani conglomerate who is reputed to be the country’s richest man, approvingly quoted a reference to Thatcher as a “modern Joan of Arc” and said Pakistan needed structural reforms similar to hers.
“First you need to get all these public sector companies out of government control,” he said. “This will release so much money that they are losing and it will make politics clean.”
The 1997 bank plan saw Mr Sharif’s government dismiss some 20,000 employees who were all given large redundancy payments. The current reform plan may meet resistance not only from unions but from politicians who are used to arranging contracts for their businesses from public sector companies.
“Mr Sharif will have to keep his own politicians under control if he wants his plan to succeed. In the past, many have thrived on patronage,” said Suhail Jehangir Malik, an economist. “Public sector companies are a huge drain on our national economy. Reforming them must be a primary objective for the new government.”
The plan is likely to win support from international donors, including the International Monetary Fund, which is expecting to begin negotiations shortly on a new $9bn loan to stave off a balance of payments crisis. Pakistan’s foreign reserves are equivalent to the value of two months of imports.
“The problem with Pakistan is both macroeconomic weakness and long-term structural issues,” said one person involved in preliminary talks with the interim government in power over the election period. “Given the severity of the economic problems, we do need to have a government that is going to undertake quite serious economic reforms.”
Under a so-called extended fund facility of up to four years, Pakistan would be expected to cut its budget deficit by increasing tax revenues, directing subsidies more accurately towards the poor and introducing policies to encourage foreign direct investment.
This is the map I was talking about. Distribution of seat in the National Assembly by province....
Please include this in your article. It is very helpful and shows exactly where PMLN, PPP, PTI, MQM etc gots their NATIONAL assembly seats from.
Here's an interesting piece in The Economist on decline of feudal power in Pakistan:
A wrestler’s son overthrows the landed gentry
May 18th 2013 | LAHORE
Jamshed Dasti takes success on the chin
Pakistan’s waning feudalism
A wrestler’s son overthrows the landed gentry
JAMSHED DASTI is tired but triumphant. “This is a revolution,” he says. “These feudals never before considered poor people to be even human.” Speaking on May 13th from Muzaffargarh, in south Punjab, he had much to crow about. The son of an illiterate wrestler had just inflicted a humiliating political defeat on the patriarch of a hitherto unassailable clan of landed gentry.
Ghulam Rabbani Khar is head of a family that owns 600 hectares (1,500 acres) in cotton country and is powerful in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). His daughter, Hina Rabbani Khar, was foreign minister in the last government. She did not stand for election, but her father was thrashed, with less than half Mr Dasti’s 100,000-plus votes.
Mr Dasti, in his 30s, quotes Marxist poetry and rides a donkey cart. He ran as an independent, and Mr Khar was not his only obstacle. In April a court imposed a three-year jail sentence for claiming a fake degree; the sentence was later scrapped. He has faced dozens of criminal cases, speaks no English and is variously described as a “thug” or Pakistan’s answer to Robin Hood.
His victory, he claims, is proof of an “awakening consciousness” against feudal bosses. They used to instruct villagers how to vote. Now voters are more mobile and sometimes better educated. Electronic media, even in rural corners, have helped change attitudes.
In Punjab the PPP is destroyed. Elsewhere the gentry hang on; in Sindh, landed families got out the votes for the PPP. But politics is being reshaped. Ijaz Gilani, a pollster in Islamabad, says populist figures like Mr Dasti fill “vacuums” formed as labour-intensive plantations decline, cotton farming modernises and old families lose clout.
Villagers need someone to help them deal with police, teachers and other bits of the state. The local press makes much of Mr Dasti’s readiness, even at night, to jump on his cart to help troubled constituents. He made his name during floods in 2010. He set up a free ambulance service and a bus that, at times, he drives himself. Deference, he says, is out.
Excerpt of a blog post in New York Times on Burgers (PTI supporters) vs Bun Kababs (MQM supporters) in recent elections in Karachi, Pakistan:
In the run-up to the second vote, the media predicted a showdown between the city’s burgers and bun kebabs. Gastronomic comments ranged from the frivolous to the frightening. Ayesha Tammy Haq, a broadcast journalist, tweeted, “All this burger-bun kebab talk is nonsense. After this election I am foie gras to your chopped liver.” A senior M.Q.M., meanwhile, warned that outright violence between burger and bun kebab could erupt, dividing the city. Such language highlights the continuing relevance of class divisions even after a campaign that focused on gender, youth and ethno-linguistic identity to mobilize voters. It is no laughing matter. On the eve of the second vote on Sunday, Zahra Shahid Hussain, a senior P.T.I. leader, was shot and killed outside her house in Karachi. Although the media reported that her death occurred during a burglary, Khan has said that the leader of M.Q.M., Altaf Hussain, is responsible. The burger vs. bun kebab divide has turned deadly.
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