The Legal Gamble of PTI Didn't Payoff: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Isaf Petition
12 August 2015
By Saeed Qureshi
The petition of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Isaf to the Judicial Commission to
determine if the 2013 general elections in Pakistan were rigged, ought to be
viewed not an aimless or self-damaging fluke but an earnest initiative for
the attainment of a right objective. The verdict of the Judicial Commission
constituted at the persistent behest of PTI may be utterly repugnant to the
party's top brass but there is no need or justification for them to criticize
this legal decision.
The lower rank party echelons of PTI were seen bursting out in various
manners on TV channels over the judicial commission's decision and alleging
its presumed complicity with the ruling party. Yet the party chairman has
done well to accept this decision which he, at the outset, had categorically
committed to abide by.
Admittedly, in the backdrop of a culture of manipulation and rigging
elections, the demand of PTI sets a new justified tradition for sifting the
corn from the hay. It augurs well for the future elections and indeed kicks
off a healthy and fruitful tradition and paves way for holding of fair and
free elections which could be again challenged if they would be deemed as
tainted or controversial.
The formation of the judicial commission to determine the fairness of
elections is a monumental milestone and serves as a check on the political
parties and individual contestants to refrain from using underhand tactics to
win their respective seats either for the provincial or federal assemblies.
The ruling PMLN that was actually in the eye of the storm and mainly on the
hit list of the PTI, has been vindicated and therefore can complete their
constitutional term ending in 2018. It could be taken for granted that had
the verdict been in consonance with the petition of the PTI, the ruling party
was left with no option but to resign. That would have a devastating blow to
the future image and standing of PMLN and only time would have determined
when its stalwarts could stage a comeback in the power corridors of Pakistan.
Nevertheless, a report favorable to the claim of PTI could have opened a
Pandora box of further legal intricacies including a review appeal by the
government. The country would have lurched back into a spell of new elections
thus stalling or hampering the nation building development projects started
by the PMLN government and are presently underway. Apart from holding
mid-term elections, the interim set up could not be in a position to take
vital decisions with regard to socio economic domains, foreign affairs and so
How far the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a giant plan could have
been hampered is only a matter of conjecture. The ongoing full blown and
highly successful army's anti-crime onslaught could be postponed or slowed
down. In such muddled up situation there could have been a sneaking chance
for the army to take over the reins of the government.
Yet intentions matter if translated into concrete realities on the ground. It
would be naïve to believe or expect that in the fresh elections only sinless
angels in the grab of humans would have been elected. It would be fallacious
to believe that PTI consists of the people with blotless profiles or all of
them are not prone to making mistakes.
We have seen the PTI's government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province lurching
from one debacle to another despite their best intentions. The sacking of
some of the ministers in PTI's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on corruption
and graft charges reflects the internal lacunae bedeviling this new party
otherwise commanding sizeable popular support particularly the disgruntled
yet zealous youth of Pakistan.
It can be expected that the elections Commission of Pakistan would give
serious consideration to improve its working by weeding out the 9 loop holes
indicated by the commission in its 237 pages report finalized in 85 days.(
April 9 to July 3)
Besides the chief justice of the supreme court of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk who
headed the judicial commission, the other two members were Justice Amir Hani
Muslim and Justice Ejaz Afzal.
In the aftermath of this verdict, a better and more reasonable course for the
political parties in Pakistan is to prepare and wait for the next elections
due in 2018. They should start forthwith, canvassing and presenting their
goals and programs to the people of Pakistan.
They should galvanize the people of Pakistan and the electorate by dishing
out their future plans and manifestoes. There is a plenty of time for the
political parties to play a constructive role in the national as well as
provincial assemblies. They should focus on the passage of laws and decisions
that can go lead to good governance, inject oversight, accountability into a
mauled system, ameliorate abysmal living conditions, bring about improvement
in the working of the national institutions like judiciary, police local
bodies, election commission of Pakistan and rooting out abominable feudalism
The Commission in it's the 237 pages enquiry report admonished the Election
Commission of Pakistan for the poor planning of the 2013 elections and
pointed out nine major lapses and flaws committed by the ECP. The ECP should
earnestly heed this observation of the Judicial Commission and rectify those
lapses in order to make the 2018 elections foolproof, transparent and free
from administrative glitches.
That would be a redeeming outcome of this entire distasteful hullabaloo. Let
us also watch how the elected representatives behave when the government
presents the report before the parliament.
The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a
former diplomat.This and other articles by the writer can also be read at his