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ELECTION 2013: REFLECTIONS OF A PROUD PAKISTANI

Pakistanis have finally done the unbelievable. The overwhelming turnover during the election despite the TTP threat is a final blow to the extremist ideology. The people of Pakistan have spoken for democracy. No military action could have delivered a more lethal blow to militancy.

The first ever peaceful transition of a democratically elected government after completing its 5 years term is certainly as extraordinary as it can get.

As the Election Day drew near, the incumbent government transferring power through a transparent ballot and not succumbing to the army jackboots was the most laudable achievement in Pakistan’s 65 years of less than admirable political history.

For this feat alone, a big hand for the outgoing incumbent government comprising PPP, ANP, MQM and no less the PML-N and PTI – despite their rancorous history during the five-year term, did not let it go off the rails and without inviting the wrath of the GHQ high command. The judiciary certainly deserves accolades for not succumbing to pressures from any quarters and leading Pakistan to a functioning democracy one again.

However inept or corrupt one may call the past government let’s give the devil its due. The smooth transfer to an impeachable interim government, the selection of an equally unblemished Election Commission of Pakistan headed by the untarnished Chief Election Commission would in hindsight appear to be a page from some fairy tale and not the violence ridden and scandal riven Pakistani politics that is not less polarized in terms of ethnicity, sectarian divide, social and economic disparities and not least the gender imbalance that makes the entire democratic enterprise quite unsuited to the genes and culture of the sub continental psyche.

It was only mandatory for Pakistan to survive in the changing dynamics of the world that has little patience for dictatorships or military takeovers. The media, however, sensationalist, did allow an even playing field in not only sensitizing a largely ignorant population about their basic rights in a globalized world but giving an insight into the disparities and divisions of the blighted Pakistani state. With this knowledge it seems Pakistan is destined for a positive change.

Less than sounding a spokesman of the PTI, the “game changer” effect of Imran Khan, however controversial and politically incorrect many may adjudge him, in terms of being soft on the militancy and GHQ factor – cannot be gainsaid.

Had it not been PTI’s electrifying election campaign with the denouement of Imran Khan’s equally sensational fall, his larger than life persona, shall remain an enigma for this most memorable election campaign in recent history.

Imagine a drab and uneventful election, with the two main parties the PPP and PML-N – plus three small regional players like MQM, ANP, JUI and like, both rehashing the trite rhetoric in terms of promising the moon while defending their past tract record of poor governance. Add to this political jamboree, PTI’s unconventional entry – the thrill of a most unpredictable tie ever – breathtaking!

It’s not the question of whether or not this or that party wins. Whether any of the forerunners will get an absolute majority, or they will form another hung parliament and an equally dysfunctional and demoralizing government.

The simple fact that the democratic train has finally arrived Pakistan after a long tedious and long wait and it’s never going to be the same again 5 years hence.

The taste of being out of power is going to be more painful for those left behind. For those who shall reap the rewards of robust electioneering; they shall have to show better governance rather than simply passing the buck until election time in 2018.

The future government hopefully would be more democratic and participatory for a promising country that never got a chance to deliver as all attempts for a peaceful transfer of power were stymied by undemocratic forces until now.

Let the change to a more responsive government sound a new beginning for Pakistan.

P S: PTI and PML-N shall have to prove its leadership when confronted with the militancy nibbling away at the state of Pakistan. The jihadi witch’s brew shall not stop on Pakistan’s border after the NATO withdrawal post 2014. How both right of the center parties take up this challenge after the secular, liberal parties have been vanquished during the elections shall be something that should make or unmake Pakistan.

Adil Zareef 11th May 2013

[email protected]

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