Friday, May 17, 2013

Pakistan Elections 2013 Results; Rigging Charges; New Government's Challenges

Pakistanis defied threats of violence by the Taliban and turned out in large numbers to vote in general elections on May 11, 2013. It was massive exercise with 60% of 86 million registered voters casting their ballots all across the country to choose members of national and provincial legislatures.

Results Summary:

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) emerged as the big winners with over 124 seats in a house of 272 directly-elected members at the national level. Pakistan Peoples' Party suffered heavy losses everywhere except in rural Sindh province. Imran Khan's forecast of PTI tsunami did not quite materialize but his party still emerged as a strong challenger with 27 seats, almost as many National Assembly seats as the much older and better established Pakistan Peoples' Party.

 There are some who argue that PTI and PPP are now irrelevant in the National Assembly. There could be nothing further from the truth! The fact is that PTI in particular is far more relevant now and poses the biggest challenge to Nawaz Sharif. I fully expect Imran Khan to pounce on Sharif if he falls short in solving the many serious crises of security, energy and economy that Pakistan faces today.

Rigging Charges:

There have been rigging charges by losing candidates and parties in a number of constituencies. However, international observers all agree that the elections were by and large 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’.

In my view, the fact that the Taliban violence selectively prevented ANP, MQM and PPP from campaigning freely raises more serious questions about the freeness and fairness of the elections than what happened at a few polling stations on polling day. But I believe that elections are never 100% fair anywhere-much less in Pakistan. There were serious questions about President John F. Kennedy's win in Chicago Illinois and George W. Bush's win in Florida but in each case the opponents chose to back down in the larger interest of the country. Unlike Pakistan's May 11 elections in disputed constituencies, the 1960 and the 2000 general elections were very close with the difference of  just a few thousand votes.

I hope the rigging claims 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.

Expectations of Nawaz Sharif's Government:

In his prior stints in government, Mr. Nawaz Sharif managed the economy poorly. Pakistan was nearly bankrupt with about a billion dollars in reserves in 1999. He ran afoul of the powerful military as well as the media and the judges.

Pakistan has changed a lot since 1999 when Mr. Sharif was removed from power by General Pervez Musharraf and few tears were shed for him. Pakistan has since gone from a low-income to a middle-income country and its economy is now almost 4 times larger. The country has nearly $12 billion in reserves. New power centers have emerged in the form of powerful mass media and highly assertive judiciary.

Pakistan now faces huge challenges. The state must fight a fierce Taliban insurgency and address crippling energy shortages. It must also revive the economy and increase tax revenues to invest in education, health care and infrastructure.

Pakistan's Macro-economic Indicators (Source: State Bank of Pakistan)


I congratulate the incoming Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif and his PML (N) party on their victory and I welcome the emergence of PTI as a third powerful force in Pakistani politics. I hope PML leadership is now more experienced and mature and up to the challenge of leading Pakistan out of its current crises of security, energy and economy.

As to Imran Khan's PTI, it has come from nowhere to become almost the second largest party in the 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.

Here's a video discussion related to this post:

Pakistan Elections 2013 results, Rigging charges, what to expect from the new government from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Who Will Win Pak Elections 2013 and Form Next Government

Musharraf's Coup Revived Pak Economy

Judicial Coup in Pakistan

Media and Telecom Revolution in Pakistan

Impact of Youth Vote and Taliban Violence on Elections 2013

Taliban vs. Pakistan in 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 


Hopewins said...

The New Dawn. The Golden Dawn.
Naya Daur. Naya Pakistan.

May 18, 2013: Here it is, at last..

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "The New Dawn. The Golden Dawn.
Naya Daur. Naya Pakistan."

PTI has already denied giving KP education ministry to JI.

Here's an excerpt of ET report:

Senior leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) denied reports that the PTI would hand over the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa education ministry to its new coalition partner, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), though they confirmed that the JI would be getting the provincial finance ministry.
“There is no ideological difference between the PTI and the JI as far as the finance ministry is concerned,” Asad Umar, a senior vice president of the PTI, told The Express Tribune. “When it comes to matters relating to taxation, the PTI and JI see eye to eye.”
Umar, considered to be the party’s main leader on economic policy, confirmed reports that JI’s Sirajul Haq, elected to the K-P Assembly from Lower Dir, would be the provincial finance minister. It is not yet known who the PTI will be nominating to lead the education ministry, though the party leadership has made it clear that it will be one of their own.
The rumour that JI had been given three ministries – finance, education, and zakat – in exchange for joining the coalition with PTI caused a stir among the party’s supporters, who expressed their disappointment on social media. Particularly distressing to most PTI supporters was the fact that their party’s education plan was among the highlights of the policy agenda on the strength of which the PTI ran its election campaign.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "Pakistan now faces huge challenges. The state must fight a fierce Taliban insurgency and address crippling energy shortages. It must also revive the economy and increase tax revenues to invest in education, health care and infrastructure"

True, true. All true.

But you forgot to add: "..and boost its abysmal domestic savings rate to match those of other South Asian countries".

Zafar said...

Economy under NS was bad because of atomic blasts in 1998.

Riaz Haq said...

Zafar: "Economy under NS was bad because of atomic blasts in 1998."

Excuses! Excuses!! The fact is that the entire decade 1990s was a lost decade for Pakistan with very low economic and human development.

Vikram said...

Mr. Haq, Pakistan's economy needs immediate attention. The next generation of Pakistanis, who will be much larger in number than the current one, and will have far higher expectations, present both an opportunity and a challenge. Meeting the infrastructural needs of the new generation will require significant investment, and I hope that the new government in Pakistan will focus raising Pakistan's investment rate, for Pakistan's sake and the entire region's sake.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News report on SBP sounding an alarm:

KARACHI: Pakistan is likely to hit a macroeconomic crisis if much-needed fiscal reforms are not implemented, according to a State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) report.

Early warning indicators specific to the fiscal and debt sustainability of the country present a gloomy picture, the SBP report said, citing a survey conducted on advanced and emerging countries.

The survey, which said domestic debt accounted for almost two-thirds of total public debt for a sample of 64 emerging and advanced countries during the period 1914-2007, advocated stringent fiscal discipline to avoid sovereign defaults on domestic debt.

Pakistan’s fiscal deficit is above the threshold level and the servicing of public debt eats a significant chunk of growing revenue shares when compared to a benchmark level set by international institutions.

According to the benchmark, the fiscal deficit should hold at 3 percent of the gross domestic product, while Pakistan’s budget deficit stood at 8.6 percent of GDP in the fiscal year 2011-2012. Meanwhile, the ratio of public debt servicing to government revenues should hold at 15 percent, while Pakistan sharply breached this benchmark to reach 45 percent during the same fiscal year.

Furthermore, the ratio of public domestic debt to government revenues should hold at 200 percent, while Pakistan’s stood at 275 percent. Finally, domestic debt, calculated as banks’ and other depository institution’s claims on the government, is also above the benchmark in Pakistan. Excessive reliance on the banking system for budgetary borrowing has reached the level where the growth distorting effects of domestic debt in the form of crowding out of private sector, debt sustainability issues and inflation start to emerge, the report notes. A sharp increase in the fiscal deficit, coupled with the unavailability of external financing, has led to a rising domestic debt burden over the past few years.

In particular, the share of domestic debt in total public debt has risen from 49.3 percent in FY09 to 59.1 percent in FY12.

Riaz Haq said...

Take a look at this video showing Altaf Husain threatening to put a journalist in a "bori" (body bag).

Riaz Haq said...

Here is Election Commission's final tally in Pak elections as reported by Express Tribune:

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that overall voter turnout in the 2013 general elections was recorded at 55.02% — a much higher percentage than elections since the 80s.

1988 1990 1993 1997 2002 2008 2013
Turnout 43.07% 45.46% 40.28% 35.42% 41.08% 44.23% 55.02%

According to the ECP, the lowest turnout was recorded in NA-42 South Waziristan, where only 11.57% of registered voters came out to vote.
The highest turnout was recorded at 84.77% in NA-191 Bahawalnagar.
This year, over 46.2 million people exercised their right to vote in the elections.
The PML-N got the majority of votes (14.8 million) followed by the PTI (7.5 million), the PPP (6.8 million) and the MQM (2.4 million).
Independent candidates picked up 5.8 million votes.

Name of Political Parties
Number of Seats Won
Total Votes Polled
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians
Muttahidda Qaumi Movement
Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (F)
Pakistan Muslim League
Pakistan Muslim League (F)
Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan
Awami National Party
Pukhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party
National Peoples Party
Pakistan Muslim League(Z)
Bahawalpur National Awami Party
Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Nazryati Pakistan
Awami Muslim League Pakistan
Sindh United Party
Tehreek-e-Tahaffuze Pakistan
Awami Jamhuri Ittehad Pakistan
Pakistan Muslim League (J)
Jamiat Ulma-e-Pakistan (Noorani)
Balochistan National Party
National Party
All Pakistan Muslim League

Riaz Haq said...

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.

Riaz Haq said... The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Youth Wing President Abrarul Haq regarding rigging in his constituency, NA-117, Narowal-III, during the general election...Meanwhile, the SC also dismissed a petition filed by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi Ameer Muhammad Hussain Mehnati against rigging in the city. .. The CJP remarked that how a political party, which did not take part in the election, could raise finger on its results.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Xinhua report on transfer of power in Pakistan:

Pakistan's interim government will transfer power to the new government on June 5, a cabinet minister said Monday.

Information Minister Arif Nizami said that the interim government will relinquish responsibilities on the same day.

Talking to newsmen in Islamabad, Nizami said the members-elect of the National Assembly will take oath on June 1.

Caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso has sent an advice to the president to summon the Assembly on Saturday, the prime minister office said.

The elections for the Speaker of National Assembly and Deputy Speaker will be held on June 3 through secret ballot. Nizami said outgoing Speaker Dr. Fehmida Mirza will chair these sessions till the oath of the new Speaker of the House.

He said the new Speaker may reschedule the further program but most probably the elections for the Leader of the House will be held on June 4.

It is for the first time that a caretaker set-up conducted free, fair and transparent elections, he said.

According to the constitution, the caretaker government is bound to summon the house up to June 2 in which newly elected members will take oath.

The house after completing this process will elect new prime minister.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which won a landslide victory in the May 11 elections has nominated Nawaz Sharif as candidate for the leader of the house while Pakistan Tehrik-e- Insaf or PTI has nominated Javed Hashmi for the slot.

Pakistan Peoples Party has decided to sit on opposition benches. It has not yet decided to take part in the race for the leader of the house.

Riaz Haq said...

The key to solving the electricity load shedding problem is to renegotiate the old IPP contracts with new terms that reward lower fuel costs and higher efficiency. In addition to that, Pakistan's incoming government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's has to explore multiple fuel options to meet the nation's growing energy needs. Some of the fuel options are as follows:

1. Developing its shale gas reserves estimated 51 trillion cubic feet near Karachi in southern Sindh province. The US experience has shown that investment in shale gas can increase production quite rapidly and prices brought down from about $12 per mmBTU in 2008 to under $2 per mmBTU recently. Pursuing this option requires US technical expertise and significant foreign investment on an accelerated schedule.

2. Increasing production of gas from nearly 30 trillion cubic feet of remaining conventional gas reserves. This, too, requires significant investment on an accelerated schedule.

3. Converting some of the idle power generation capacity from oil and gas to imported coal to make electricity more available and affordable.

4. Utilizing Pakistan's vast coal reserves in Sindh's Thar desert.

5. Hydroelectric and other renewables including wind and solar. Several of these projects are funded and underway but it'll take a while to bring them online to make a difference.

In my view, the newly-elected government should pursue all of the above options with options 1, 2 and 3 as a priority for now. Its best interests will be served by developing its own cheap domestic shale gas on an accelerated schedule with Saudi investment and US tech know-how.

Riaz Haq said...

Is Nawaz Sharif a graceful victor? Does this have echoes of Jaag Punjabi Jaag?

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif says people of Punjab have voted on rational basis while of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa have voted on emotional basis.

He was addressing his party workers in a ceremony to commemorate atomic explosions carried out by Pakistan on May 28, 1998 during Sharif’s previous tenure....