For many parties, understanding what caused them to lose in the 2018 elections should be more important than protesting rigging.Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) secured 6,913,410 votes in this election, whereas Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Mutahhida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Mutahhida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) got 1,193,444, 731,794, 2,569,971 and 2,234,338 votes, respectively. Some parties got fewer votes because they had the misconception that more people would turn up to vote. As per Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s official stats, within Sindh, PPP had a significant number of more votes than the GDA.GDA’s defeat can be traced to its own voters. It had the support of “spiritual followers” of certain candidates and was expecting strength in numbers through supporters of different political allies. It is the political allies that backed PPP instead. The question is why our political leaders seem unfamiliar with the mindset and needs of the masses? When the masses rose the last time, they stood up against Ayub Khan’s regime. They did not show up or raise their voice for Z.A. Bhutto, except in places like Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan and Lahore. This nation couldn’t organise itself even against its worst enemies, including Zia and Musharraf.Every party that lost has been saying that the elections were not free or fair. No one is willing to concede defeat. However, the one thing that is sure is that the man that has won will not give up to anyone. He will rule the country one way or the otherMany of our voters align with one party and then hop to another as and when they please. With all the political shuffling that keeps taking place, how our politicians expect voters to remain sincere is anyone’s guess. What motivated Nawaz Sharif to bring back the same people that had attached themselves to Musharraf? And what caused Imran Khan to repeat Sharif’s mistakes? Jahangir Tareen has been disqualified by the Supreme Court and has no legitimate political space to play in. Despite this, he can be seen buying political loyalties around the country to bring Khan into power.Imran Khan needs to learn from Pakistan’s political history. Anyone that comes into power must let go of those closest to them. Tareen is a capitalist and is well aware of the benefits he gains from helping Khan onto the throne. There is wisdom in caution.Meanwhile, the parties that have lost have themselves to blame. MQM has completely misplaced its identity and mandate because of its internal rifts, and that’s the prime reason why this party has faced defeat. MQM may be well on its way to working with PTI, but it will never get the benefits that its leadership wants. PTI too is in the race to win the hearts of Karachiittes. Why would PTI give the credit of their work in Karachi to MQM, especially if the party is to earn the sympathies of the people for the next election.Parties such as the MQM and MMA did not even attempt to meet the people of their constituencies. It’s their lack of interest that has lead to their defeat. And this election should have given them a lot to think about, especially if they plan to bounce back in 2023.Every party that lost has been saying that the elections were not free or fair. No one is willing to concede defeat. However, the one thing that is sure is that the man that has won will not give up to anyone. He will rule the country one way or the other. This will remain true whether the parties accept defeat and prepare for the next term or if they instead choose to keep crying till the next election.The writer is a freelance columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished in Daily Times, August 11th 2018.