Did 'establishment' rig elections? All these facts beg to differ
Though the role of the military establishment in the country was being decried ever since the former premier Nawaz Sharif was shown the door in the Panama Papers Case, the calls for non-political role of army rose to a crescendo as the elections approached.
- The landslide defeat of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is important. He contested elections from two provincial and National Assembly seats, however, managed to win only a single seat, from PP-10.
- Another evidence of military's trivial role in the elections is the victory of Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, who contested the elections from the tribal areas and despite having sided with forces raising anti-Army slogans, won their seats.
- Mustafa Kamal, the chairman of Pak Sarzameen Party, who was labelled to be the player of establishment did not gain a single seat.
- The Pakistan faction of Muttahida Qaumi Movement also secured 16 seats in the Sindh Assembly, while it also gained 6 seats of the National Assembly. The anti-Pakistan speech of MQM founder Altaf Hussain did not convince the military to push the party against the wall.
- Sarfraz Bugti, the former home minister of Balochistan, who is considered to have 'danced to the tunes' of the military establishment, also failed to win his seat.
- The rejection of pleas submitted by Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed regarding the postponement of elections in NA-60 by the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court give a strong message. Rasheed is labelled as the 'Pindi Boy', however, the rejection of his petition confirm that neither the judiciary nor the establishment played any decisive part in elections
- The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and Milli Muslim league, which were earlier termed as the brainchild of the military establishment and were said to have been mainstreamed by the military, failed to bag seats.
- Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the former foreign minister, who was chided for blaming internal policies for terrorism in the country, also secured his seat by a slight margin. Khawaja had also made a venomous speech on the floor of the National Assembly but this did not affect the all-powerful military establishment.
The international media and a few of the political commentators cast aspirations over the role of the military in politics, however, the above-stated facts (to mention a few) somewhat bolster the impression that the military did not have its fingerprints over the elections.
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