Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pakistan Elections 2018 Predictions; Nawaz Sharif's Future

What will be the impact of tragic terror attacks with mass casualties on Pakistan's July 25, 2018 general elections? How does the current situation compare with the situation in 2013 elections? Will the elections proceed as scheduled?

Pakistan Elections 2018 Forecast by  Intermarket and Exotix Investment Firms

Which party is likely to get the most votes and parliamentary seats in Pakistan's July 25, 2018 general elections? Will one party get a clear majority? Who will form the new government? Is PTI Chief Imran Khan likely to be the next prime minister of Pakistan? Will it be a coalition government? How can a weak coalition government implement a radical reform agenda proposed by Imran Khan?

Why did former prime minister of Pakistan Mr. Nawaz Sharif, convicted recently by a Pakistani court on charges of having assets beyond income, come back to Lahore to face certain arrest? What is his strategy? What is Nawaz Sharif's future in Pakistani politics after his conviction and arrest? How will PMLN fare in 2018 and future elections? Will the disgraced Sharif be able to rehabilitate himself and reclaim the mantle of national leadership? Will future judges of Pakistan Supreme Court set aide his conviction to clear the way for him to become Pakistan's prime minister for the fourth time?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (

Here's Urdu version streamed live on Facebook:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Nawaz Sharif's Report Card 2013-18

CPEC Transforming Pakistan's Least Developed Regions

Pakistan: The Other 99% of the Pakistan Story

How Pakistan's Corrupt Elite Siphon Off Public Funds

Bumper Crops and Soaring Credit Drive Tractor Sales

Panama Leaks

How West Enables Corruption in Developing Countries

Declining Terror Toll in Pakistan

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel


Rashid A. said...

My problem with NS narrative is that he has been himself Ladlaa all his life, till Mush toppled him. In 1997-199, he got 2/3 majority, and wanted to become Ameerul Momineen. He gaged the press. He coerced the judges.

Then after Mush toppled him, he tried to become independent. His populism started to show in 2013 election. I expected that he would change his conduct towards more inspirational, more example setting, more simpler life style, showing strong values of leadership. He promised that during 2013 campaign.(I will not stay in PM house, it is too lofty for a poor country).

Alas after becoming PM, he descended into same imperial style. Visiting the parliament only rarely. Flying off to Raiwind almost weekly. Too much international travel.

And worse, he did not show steel to the military, which kept on claiming more turf. One would see pictures of his meetings with Raheel Sharif, where one could not tell who is the boss! Raheel would be sitting almost like an equal to him, like a visiting head of state.

Clearly, if all this narrative about respect the vote is from the heart, if he really believes that he should stay in ordinary jail, not B class jail, if respect of vote, civilian supremacy is his real agenda, he needs to make dramatic and revolutionary changes in his thinking, his acts, and the way he would organize his party, his governance, ditch the dynastic politics. Otherwise these would be just election season campaigning!

You can be either a rich man, or leader of the nation! The later is the stuff of history, the former mere coins!

Riaz Haq said...

Rashid: "And worse, he did not show steel to the military, which kept on claiming more turf. One would see pictures of his meetings with Raheel Sharif, where one could not tell who is the boss! Raheel would be sitting almost like an equal to him, like a visiting head of state."

People as compromised and corrupt as Sharif and Zardari have no backbone nor do they get the support of the people as Erdogan did when the military tried to overthrow him.

Imad K. said...

This scenario is also very likely, but depends on how many seats PTI and PMLN get.

PMLN + PPP + MMA + MQM-P + ANP + PkMAP + Independents (including Nisar group)

Ahmad F. said...

And then there was Z. A. Bhutto, a man with plenty of backbone. In the end, it did not matter.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "And then there was Z. A. Bhutto, a man with plenty of backbone. In the end, it did not matter."

Bhutto created the ISI political cell to manipulate 1977 elections. It backfired on him.

Rashid A. said...

Financial corruption is just one albeit more common manifestation of corruption. Human character dissolves in three corrosive agents: Money, Power and Sex. Corruption among all those who seek to rule, (elected or unelected) whose character is dissolving in which corrosive agent, I don’t know for a fact, although I have heard stories, or read book about it. Not everybody’s weakness is money. And to make it more complex, some form of corruption is institutionalized, it is made legal.

But Riaz Sahib spoke a fundamental truth.

A corrupt person is a compromised person. When time comes to stand up for ones values, he finds he has none, and has no steel!

For any of these charlatans (Agriculture Department, Dam builders, or old or new politicians) to claim he is a man of principles is of no use.

To borrow from Margaret Thatcher, “To say I am powerful, is like saying “I am a lady”. If you have to say it, you aren’t!

Anonymous said...

Riaz Sb., you wrote ,,"
Bhutto created the ISI political cell to manipulate 1977 elections. It backfired on him. ". Any proof of that. From what I understand it was the other leaders and beuracts who manipulated the elections. See Kausar Niazi's aur line kat gai.


Riaz Haq said...

Zamir: "Any proof of that. From what I understand it was the other leaders and beuracts who manipulated the elections. See Kausar Niazi's aur line kat gai."

There are several articles and books that say that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto signed an executive order in 1975 that created a political cell in ISI.

For example, a recently published book titled "Faith, Unity, Discipline: The Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan"
by Hein Kiessling says this:

"in 1975, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) through an executive order , created a political cell within the ISI, and by virtue of this change in the ISI in the working of the ISI, it came directly under the control of the Chief Executive, particularly on political matters, and for all the security matters concerning the armed forces, the ISI reported to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee."

Others such as Ardeshir Kwasjee in Dawn article "One Bhutto Legacy" on January 6, 2008 said the same thing.

In Asghar Khan case in 2012, Ex Army Chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg also confirmed the creation of the ISI political cell by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1975.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's the link to #BBC's Hardtalk's Stephen Sackur challenging #Pakistan's Dawn Group CEO Hameed Haroon for evidence of his allegations against "Deep State": #PakistanElection2018 #media #PTI #PMLN

How BBC’s HARDtalk exposed Dawn’s anti-establishment narrative
In the latest interview with BBC hard talk, Hameed Haroon- Chief Executive Officer of Dawn Group of Publication, said, “Pakistani media was facing the worst kind of intimidation at the hands of ‘deep state’ which would not be good for the future of democratic institutions in the country.” Rather than providing concrete evidence, he put forward a rather lame reply that there exists a strong perception that military was behind all this.

Despite the allegations of ‘rigging’ in sumo wrestling in Japan, “the mere utterance of the words “sumo” and “rigged” in the same sentence can cause a national furor,” argues ‎Steven D. Levitt‎ and ‎Stephen J. Dubner in their book Freakonomics. It’s a rarity that such allegations find their way into Japanese media and any occasional reporting may stir a media storm to measure the possible corruption in sumo.

“Media scrutiny, after all, creates a powerful incentive…..” say the writers. In Pakistan, few media houses take credit and liberty to discredit and loathe political parties, and military establishment for rigging credentials in favor of holy cow of their liking.

The dubious reality of the world media is up for debate. Media stories may at times alter your conclusion of the real events. The presentation of the story and carefully chosen words can make a lot of difference. Dawn leaks II is a prime example of this. It meddles with the mind of the audience. It hides the reality behind the scenes. What one sees may not be the factual position of a person, an institution, and/or a country.

The questions regarding the control of international media are not something new. It’s a known fact how powerful cronies, capitalists, and neoliberals control media to safeguard their own national, regional and global interests.

Relying on any particular media house in the domestic circuit or in the international domain challenges your intelligence and rationality. The wisdom to join the dots to reach a conclusion which makes sense requires extensive reading of newspapers from Europe to the Atlantic. One of Pakistan’s oldest and credible media houses-Dawn decided to take its case to international media over hurdles in distributions, blocking of television broadcast, and threats it received from allegedly rogue elements/deep state in the country.

Pakistan’s media group dawn is making waves across the world. It is making efforts to gather international sympathy. From Washington post to BBC studio, Dawn is busy ridiculing Pakistan’s Military establishment. But in the process, it has exposed itself. Dawn has shown its real intent. The intent is to malign Pakistan’s security establishment and to gather support in favor of Nawaz.

Ever since the Panama revelations, which troubled Nawaz, Dawn has been busy defending him profoundly through its different forums—news analysis, op-eds, and videos podcasts.

Riaz Haq said...

SATIRE on "Pakistan Deep State" or "Khalai Makhlooq" :

I know how the conspiracy was hatched and unfolded :-)

1. Pakistan Army and ISI colluded with the international consortium of investigative journalists to hack and leak Panama Papers.

2. They made sure that Nawaz Sharif's family's undeclared assets are part of the leak.

3. Pakistan Army chief and ISI ordered NAB to investigate Panama leak and Nawaz Sharif family's assets.

4. Pakistan Army Chief and ISI chief called a meeting of the top Supreme Court judges to hear the case, remove Nawaz Sharif and transfer trial to a NAB court.

5. Pakistan Army Chief and ISI ordered NAB court to render a guilty verdict.

I know it's true. I don't need any evidence for it.

It's for the Army Chief, the ISI chief and the judges to prove their innocence :-)

PML-N supporter said...

Nawaz has been validated. The Army has made a coupless coup and that will be longlasting.

The world (except Pakistan) knows it well now!

F.M.Shakil said...

Mr. Riaz I am a freelancer and would like to have your feedback on the elections 2018 prospects for my piece in the Asia Times likely to publish on 24 July. What impact you see of the recent wave of terror-related violence on the turnover of elections? do you see any role of the establishment in manipulating the elections. Don't you agree that the chain of events ever since the Panama leaks indicate that the establishment managed to create pressure groups in Punjab and Sindh-GDA and Jeep Group- to help shape the future political dispensation. I will appreciate an early response in view of the deadline. My email address is
Thanks and regards

Riaz Haq said...

#Feudal landlords may hold balance of power in nuclear #Pakistan. #Elections2018 #electables #PTI #PMLN #PPP #GDA via @bpolitics

Near the rural town of Badin in southern Pakistan, about a four-hour drive from the financial capital of Karachi, dozens of men wait through the night for a chance to meet with Zulfiqar Mirza.

The landowner’s family holds sway in a part of Sindh province the size of the U.S. state of Delaware, and villagers go to Mirza for everything from employment to education to settling disputes. One of them, 69-year-old Khalid Hussain, said this month he needed help after being abandoned by his children.

The Mirzas “help people out,” Hussain said while waiting at the family’s 700-acre estate. “I just want a job to feed my stomach.”

Local power brokers like the Mirzas may end up as kingmakers in the nuclear-armed nation after a July 25 election, with polls showing that no single party is likely to win a majority in Pakistan’s parliament. For national politicians, courting large rural landholders known as “electables” is a Catch 22: Their support is essential to win elections in Pakistan, but many also tend to oppose measures like modernizing the country’s labor and tax laws that would boost economic growth in the cash-strapped nation.

For a Quicktake on Pakistan, click here

Known as biradiri, the rural patronage system helps explain why Pakistan scores the lowest in Asia on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index after Afghanistan, North Korea and Cambodia. While urbanization and redistricting has steadily eroded the power of rural politicians, in many areas they still can provide favors, administer justice and even pressure villagers into voting for a certain candidate.

Feudalism is still “very strong” in the countryside, said Mustafa Kamal, the former mayor of Karachi, who heads the urban-focused Pak Sarzameen Party. “The common man does not have that much strength to stand up to the feudal lord -- he will just squeeze him like anything.”

That power structure has come under attack in the election campaign. Imran Khan, a former cricket star who has seen his popularity surge, has sought to rally younger, urban voters by denouncing feudalistic and dynastic parties that still dominate Pakistan’s political scene. Since the 1970s, the country has alternately been ruled by the military, the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League led by Nawaz Sharif, a three-time prime minister serving a jail sentence for corruption.

Protests against landlords and their families have also taken place in cities. During a rally this month in Karachi, the convoy of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari -- head of the Pakistan Peoples Party and son of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto -- was pelted with stones.

“People are tired of the old guard,” said Ayesha Siddiqa, a research associate at the SOAS South Asia Institute in London. Voters aged 18 to 35 comprise 44 percent of the electorate, she said, and many will likely vote for Khan.

Khan, whose anti-corruption campaign helped spur Sharif’s arrest, has pledged to widen Pakistan’s low tax base and strengthen government institutions. Yet even while railing against feudalism Khan has found it necessary to court key rural politicians, particularly in the breadbasket province of Punjab, which provides more than half the nation’s federal seats.

The Mirza family in Badin is running with the Grand Democratic Alliance, a minority party that hasn’t said who it will back for prime minister after the election. Hasnain Mirza, the 34-year-old son of Zulfiqar, acknowledged his family’s political lineage but also denied it was feudal.

Riaz Haq said...

#Hope still trumps #despair in #Pakistan's democracy
#ElectionPakistan2018 campaign shows there are countless of people trying to bring about change in Pakistan, indicating better days ahead for the country.

Pakistan's election on Wednesday has made headlines for pre-poll rigging, political engineering and the turf wars between the military, the judiciary and the politicians.

But the catchy negativity has clouded the energy and political awareness which can be felt from the streets of Karachi through the bazaars of Lahore to the tea stalls of Peshawar and Quetta.

I've covered Pakistan's elections for nearly two decades and each time witnessed much room for improvement.

This time though people seem a bit more aware, a bit more cognisant of the reality regardless of who they support.

That awareness and maturity seems like a sign for better days ahead for the nuclear-powered, Muslim-majority state, home to more than 200 million people.

Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's former prime minister, has been found guilty by an accountability court and Imran Khan, his main opponent, wants to claim credit for it.

The battle for narratives which ensued was vicious, personal and uncouth. But when all the attention was focused on verbal attacks by point-scoring politicians, the youngest leader from the three main parties - Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and controversial President Asif Zardari, appeared to keep his cool.

To the surprise of many political boffins, he managed to pull crowds at rallies in Punjab and Sindh. But the biggest difference was his focus on substance, turning his attention to policies and remaining detached from personal attacks.

Although his party has been in power in southern Pakistan for decades and has a dismal record of providing the basics, but Bilawal's message seems to be of a new man taking charge with the will to improve things.

Another young candidate, in a political arena of seasoned politicians, is Jibran Nasir, who has been courageous in challenging bigotry upfront.

His campaign has been attacked by religious zealots but he seems to have maintained his composure and stuck to his message of promises to improve things for his constituents.

He is a rare breed of young politicians who entered the arena without any financial muscle, family or political backing.

Pakistan also saw a 12-year-old standing up to campaign after his father was implicated in corruption.

The young man and his sister became a symbol of resistance for the Nawaz league as they campaigned on behalf of their father Pakistan Muslim league Nawaz accused the national accountability bureau of being used as a tool to implicate politicians.

Qamar-Ul Islam Raja's father was arrested on corruption charges just one day after he became the challenger against the disgruntled former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar - who left Nawaz's party after the PML-N supremo insisted on challenging the judiciary and the military establishment.

In his speeches, the 12-year old dodged tricky questions and insisted on following the party line - not a small feat for someone his age.

Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal areas (FATA) will vote for the first time as a governed area - after seven decades of independence, this is no longer just an administered tribal belt.

This region witnessed unprecedented political campaigning. People can now vote for provincial representatives and elect their own local bodies. The biggest change has been in the security situation.

Even before the so-called US war on terror, this area was considered home to Taliban, al-Qaeda and fighters from Uzbekistan to Chechnya.

But after years of military operations, people have a semblance of a normal life.

Why is this significant? Because now tribal elders, drug lords, smugglers and all those who used to exercise immense control know the people can challenge them with the power of the vote.