The Supreme Court’s Panama case hearing and its consequent formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) invited mixed responses in Pakistan. Where both the ruling and opposition parties were seen sharing sweets and celebrating the decision as their victory, few – including the opposition parties – expected that the same JIT would submit such a robust, damning and detail report against Prime Minister Nawaz and his family. Since the JIT’s report submission, conventional and social media has extensively used expansive words such as ‘morality’ and ‘rule of law’, asking the PM to resign in a dignified manner. Unfortunately, in our social and political culture, these two words carry little – or no – currency.A recent show aired on a private TV channel, gauging views of the local constituents, beautifully summed up the voting trends in Pakistan. In the constituency where the show was taking place, many voters werestill inclined to vote for their current Parliamentarian even with limited development in their constituency. This trend was shocking as the member of the Parliament – barring construction of some roads – had failed to provide any substantial basic facilities to the constituency. Some constituents were of the view that the parliamentarian had provided mulazimats (jobs) to locals, and thus they were still inclined to vote for him.Many Pakistanis are familiar with the common question asked by the bride’s parents during a marriage proposal; ‘lark a sarkari naukar (mulazim) hai?’ which roughly translates to ‘is your son a government servant or on a government job? This question is not based solely on social or marital transactions, rather reflects our deep socio-political culture in Pakistan.Pakistan’s Mualizam at culture has remained the most potent currency for any candidate planning to contest (or recontest) elections in their constituencies. Mulazim at¸ or job should not be understood in a limited definition. The term includes other favours such as posting friends and family on lucrative jobs, approving project contracts, and entertaining local elders, maliks, and khans (or the feudal class) and fulfilling their job requests and references. This is because these local elders, on promise of future sarkari mulazimats (government or long-term jobs), convince locals or those lower in the social chain, to vote for their favoured candidate. Votes are cast not on ‘morality’ or ‘media narratives’— but on promises of mulazimats and on the orders and influence of local feudal classesIn one elaborate and proven example of fulfilment of such promises, both the PPP and the PML N, in their respective tenures, have hired more than 3000 ‘voters’ in the ‘overstaffed’ Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), whose losses are borne by the national exchequer. Interestingly, the PPP, during its time, had openly admitted to favouring their voters for the PIA jobs.A few years back, an angry protestor left a PML N rally claiming that the party had promised to provide a job if the person had attended their political rally.Such is the importance of these jobs in Pakistan that most important headlines in any annual budget presented in Pakistan is the ‘increase in the salaries of sarkarimulazimeen’. Whereas debates in the parliament on limited allocations for health and education are rare.Imran Khan regularly cries foul play during the 2013 elections. His claims – though having some grounds – are still far from reality as he had failed to penetrate Punjab’s voter base along with lacking any grass route contacts in the rural centres. Nor did he – or his MNAs – promised sarkarimulazimatsto their prospective voters.Additionally, his rhetoric on education, anti-corruption and reforms, is a wrong template for a developing country, and thus lacks an effective pitch. No wonder Peoples’ Party’s Roti Kapra aur Makaan (food, cloth and home) – and not insaaf, sehat aur taleem (justice, health and education) – was such a hit among masses for decades.Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that even with such a detailed exposé of the Sharif family, there is still strong support for the ruling family in their voter base as well as on social media. In the current political scenario, media anchors believe that a negative Panama verdict would badly harm and the dent the PM’s reputation and his voter base. Yet, those having observed the politics of Pakistan know such perceptions or opinions are underpinned in gross generalizations of our political dynamics.Any party planning to rule Pakistan should, and has to, acknowledge that a majority of the country’s voter base is – unfortunately – concentrated in Punjab, mainly in the rural pockets. In such centres, votes are cast not on ‘morality’ or ‘media narratives’, but on promises of mulazimats and orders, suggestions and influences of the local feudal class. PML N, among all political parties, acknowledges that in many areas of its voter bases, it has to use all means – either cash or kind – to please its voters; which is a sad reality for a country claiming to be a democracy. This also goes on to show, why, after such damning findings in the JIT report, the PM and his party are confident of holding on to their voters for future elections. The writer is a PhD Candidate from the University of Newcastle. He tweets @faruqyusaf Published in Daily Times, July 19th , 2017.