Polls Not Possible Amid Confrontation

By Siddiq Baluch

As general elections are coming closer, confrontation and polarization among the institutions and the political parties is rising with every passing day.
The level and heat of confrontation creates doubts that the free, fair and transparent elections will ever be held in near future. The PML-N and TI is using the demand merely to put pressure on the Government only.
The Government is coming under constant attacks from all directions, including State institutions, opposition political parties and corporate media, making the situation tense and totally uncertain for holding any elections.
The Government, on its parts, is observing restraint as advised by its coalition partners and allies in the Government since the Supreme Court was determined to topple down the elected Government on the controversy of different perceptions or interpretation of law.
It seems that the Government is loosing patience and it will mobilize and muster support to fight back three major elements—the Supreme Court, the opposition political parties and the corporate media—that had joined hands to topple the Government before the elections. Or force the Government to opt for ahead of schedule elections.
There are indications that millions of PPP supporters and sympathizers were found firm to fight back the gang up against their Government and take to streets of Pakistan to counter the political onslaught on their government.
It depends on the party chief, President Asif Ali Zardari and his top PPP aides, to give a call to fight back once the superior judiciary, the corporate media and opposition had not changed their stance on representative democracy.
At the moment, the representative democracy, headed by the PPP, is enjoying the support of its major political allies—the ANP, the MQM and the PML-Q on the political front with no indication that any one of them defect at the present crucial juncture.
If any of the allies defect to the side of opposition at this crucial moment, then democracy is doomed and the representative democracy will collapse with no chances to come back on the rail in decades. Political leadership lacked the capability to bring the representative democracy back on the rail once it’s effectively and permanently derailed and dislodged.
It will be a golden chance for the Establishment to impose its rule of technocrats of its own choice as a stop gap arrangement which can be dragged for a decade as was done by past Referees in military uniform in 1950s, in 1960s, in 1980s and finally in 2000.
Will the PPP give in? This time no. It is our guess. The world community is supporting representative democracy and once it is derailed, Pakistan will be further isolated and feel the international pressure in its real sense.
Frequent reiteration of support to representative democracy by the US, the European Union and their allies from all over the world is nothing but a warning against any adventurism to dislodge the representative Government or take over the Government on clumsy ground.
This is true through another Supreme Court verdict to send another elected Prime Minister of Pakistan home.
To this date, the Pakistan People’s Party is the largest political party of the country in any sense.
The PML-N and TI of Mr. Tsunami Khan is no match to popularity of the PPP even today. The PPP workers will sit back and will not participate in the political process in protest but he will never support the PML-N and any other rightwing party.
There is no question of millions of PPP workers changing sides opposing their own party or the Government. It is not the political culture of the PPP activists.
Balochistan enjoys a peculiar situation in the present political climate or the security environment around Pakistan.
To most of the seasoned political observers, it is impossible to hold elections in Balochistan. No party and leader will dare to hold public meetings or corner meetings for election purposes as the security environment within the Province is not fit for it.
There was a classic incident in Kuchlak, a suburb of Quetta city, where the public meeting of the Awami National Party was attacked with a time device.
A score of people were killed in cycle bomb blast and many other injured, including the Provincial ANP Chief and his wife who is also a political activist.
It was an attack on ANP and also the political process in Balochistan warning all non-conformist political parties, mainly those who are not in the good book of the establishment, should not dare to mobilize public opinion or prepare for future elections in Balochistan. The message was loud and clear to some political observers. In a way, the political process in Balochistan is closed with the Kuchlak bomb attack.
Thus Balochistan is effectively out of picture in the projected election scenario. Earlier, millions of Baloch voters were disfranchised as their names were removed from the voters’ lists as the voters had no Computerized National Identity Cards. It is not fault of the people or the voters.
It was the fault of the Government and its machinery that failed to provide them CNIC to the millions of Baloch voters.
In any case, both the state machinery and the genuine political leaders of the broad masses seem to be not willing to participate in the electoral process. Most of them believed that there is no chances of holding elections in Pakistan thus participating in the electoral process in Balochistan will be meaningless.
The genuine political leadership is more interested in restoring peace and finding an amicable solution to the Balochistan imbroglio and not in the elections under the adverse security environment. (Courtesy: Balochistan Express)

Republished in The Baloch Hal on August 5, 2012