Democracy is still the best revenge

PTI may have won big in this election but it is looking at a tough road ahead. It needs big parties such as the PPP

The All Parties Conference (APC) was recently held in Islamabad, under the chairmanship of Moulana Fazlur Rehman. Apart from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which refused to attend and held a meeting of its own, the conference was attended by all major parties that were a part of the recent elections.

The APC reached a consensus that there the recent elections were peppered with instances of rigging, and have decided to start a movement against election results. The body demanded re-election.

Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif said that his party would play its role in the opposition. While Mutahhida Qaumi Movement (MQM) distanced itself from Dr Farooq Sattar’s attendance and clarified that he was present in his own capacity.

PPP, in its own meeting, also rejected the results. Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also said that his party would form the opposition.

One cannot discount PPP’s significance even now. Their performance has improved since 2013, and it won more seats at both the national and provincial level. This time around, PPP has given an opportunity to minorities and women to contest the elections as well.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has to look towards Independent candidates, MQM-P, PML-Q, the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). While PTI will easily form the federal government, it is looking at 5 years of tough opposition.

Chairman Bilawal has said that his party will not leave the parliamentary forum and will raise the issue in the assembly. He also asked the head of the ECP to resign. With elections now over, Sindh is under the control of the PPP, KP is with PTI, whereas we are waiting to see what becomes of Punjab. Meanwhile, PTI will form the government in coalition with BAP.

One cannot discount PPP’s significance even now. Their performance has improved since 2013, it won more seats at both the national and provincial level. This time around, PPP has given an opportunity to minorities and women to contest the elections. On the other hand, they have lost key areas where they normally won, including Lyari.

While PTI is still eyeing Punjab, Hamza Shehbaz has announced that his party will form the government. The only way to move forward is to continue to opt for democracy.

The APC was attended mostly by losers, with the exception of Shehbaz Sharif. On the other hand, the European Union Election Observer mission team issued a report saying that the elections were more peaceful, transparent and comparatively better than 2013. The same has been said by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN). Although both have pointed out that some irregularities were found.

In this situation, we may continue the process of democracy and hope that each party plays a positive role in the run up to the 2023 elections. The movement against the results is illogical.

The writer is a retired doctor of the Sindh Health Department

Published in Daily Times, July 31st 2018.