Here we go — yet again. The prelude is coming up on the 8th of August, i.e. the day after tomorrow — the prelude to what may turn out to be a replay of the tumultuous campaign, led by the PTI in the previous tenure, over the allegation of rigging against the PML-N-led government. The game is the same, but the players have swapped roles. The defenders have now turned attackers. The PML-N, the PPP and 10 other opposition parties — who have got united into the Pakistan Alliance for Free and Fair Elections against the forthcoming PTI government — plan to register their rejection of the poll results by protesting outside the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad. It will be followed by similar protests outside the offices of the provincial election commissions the following day.
Apart from this token protest, the grand opposition alliance appears geared-up to pay the PTI back in the same coin. They have devised a plan to lodge ‘strong’ protest inside and outside parliament during the first sitting of the National Assembly, and to stage public rallies all over the country to continue unless and until their not-yet-placed demands are met. A ‘national conference on rigging’ to which civil society, lawyers and journalists would also be invited is also part of the agenda. A 16-member joint action committee has also been formed to prepare a plan for future cooperation and a joint strategy for the protest campaign. And that’s nothing short of a typical Pakistani agitation plan to ‘serve the national interest’.
Traditional political tactic it may well be, but the formation of the Pakistan Alliance for Free and Fair Elections draws justification from the election commission’s performance on the poll day. Nadra’s objection to the ECP’s ‘wrong’ Election Day announcement of the RTS collapse and the Fafen’s recent report — which reveals that 248 constituencies of national and provincial assemblies feature a below 5% victory margin and where 79% candidates are deprived of their legal right to vote recount — are among the fair questions raised on the ECP’s act.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2018.
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