Rajat Sharma


AKB30 The voters of Pakistan have shown tremendous tenacity and courage this time. Almost everyone had assumed that the Army was trying to prop up Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister after Imran Khan was thrown behind bars and he was disqualified from contesting elections. Imran’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s symbol ‘bat’ was frozen, those supporting PTI and its leaders were intimidated, and yet, in the face of Himalayan obstacles, voters turned up in large numbers to make Imran’s candidates victorious. All these candidates, due to lack of recognized party symbol, had to contest as ‘independents’. The victory of these ‘independent’ candidates proves one thing: Had Imran Khan been allowed to come out of jail and campaign for his party, his party PTI could have scored a landslide victory in the elections. The very fact that the common people in Pakistan, despite stringent restrictions and atrocities, came out in large numbers and voted for Imran’s candidates, reflects the mood of the nation. The mood of the Pakistani people is against the Army. This election was a direct fight between the people, who were pro-Imran and the Army, which was anti-Imran. The people displayed their might with the ballots at the polling booths. Everything happened silently. It went so smoothly that the ‘Establishment’ and the army could not gauge what was happening on the ground. Soon after early trends started trickling in and showed ‘independent’ candidates as leading in most of the constituencies, did the ‘Establishment’ sit up and take notice. The Election Commission stopped announcing the results after midnight, even though counting was over in most of the constituencies. There was massive manipulation and rigging during the counting process. And yet, ‘independent’ candidates (read Imran supporters) won in large numbers. The army and the police in Pakistan were facing a big problem: Common people were using their smart phones to record videos of rigging that was going on inside the election booths. They were not only recording, but also uploading video clips on social media. The common man has exposed the entire electoral system. There is now widespread anger among the people across Pakistan, but past history tells us how the Establishment and Army never bothered about what the people really desired. This time, too, the Army is the arbiter. The Army will decide who will become the Prime Minister, through whom it will run the country. A sad state, indeed.

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