Panamagate Circus – Take aways

It has been more than a year that Panama leaks surfaced. Since then, the Circus has been going on first on media, among political opponents and then for the last six month or so in Supreme Court of Pakistan. Who knows how long will it take to resolve and what would be the outcome? As we speak, irrespective of the final verdict by Supreme Court of Pakistan, there are several takeaways from this episode:

  1. A minuscule group, consisting of politicians, intellectuals and media, day in and day out, talk about nothing but corruption in the system. They, naively believe, that corruption, that you can never completely eliminate, is cause root of all our problems.They harp this tune this while sitting in the comfort of their homes, leading a lavish and comfortable life. They refuse to acknowledge that Pakistan is progressing. This Group has little or no sympathy to the people in the lower cadre of the society, except for drawing room discussions and providing some financial assistance to a very select group. Unfortunately, this group has not demonstrated the capacity to look at the big picture and always try and find shortcomings in everything positive that is happening in the country. Some go on tangents and others provide weak arguments to justify their view point. They simply refuse to accept that Pakistan is moving forward. Their motives are questionable.
  2. On the other hand the workers and the less fortunate show  a better perspective of whats happening in the country. They see that development is taking place and pin their dreams and hope in continuation of the present regime for a better future. They take a holistic and more realistic view than our so called minuscule middle, upper middle and the elite class. The have a very straight forward and credible thought process, that is, who is likely to provide better livelihood for them and their future generations. While our politician and intellectuals harp about education, these people want employment. If they see something tangible done, they appreciate it and pin their hopes around that. They are the real voice of masses who have pin their hopes on the present government for better future for themselves and the next generations. And that where vote shall go
  3. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has shown immaturity and seems to be on a predetermined track to disqualify PM, come what may. In the process, it has lost its mandate and legitimacy. There is also some indications of the age old Judiciary-Army nexus to dislodge an elected PM hasn’t died. Never in the 70 years history of Pakistan, an elected Prime Minister is allowed to complete his term. This is no coincidence and one is forced to assume that the history is repeating itself again. The posturing of the army and the judiciary over the last 4 years suggest that they don’t want to see Nawaz Sharif in Power any more. The two Supreme Court Justices have illegally disqualified PM without a trial. The other judges commissioned a joint investigation team (JIT) to conduct an inquiry, the report produced by JIT is nothing more than the piece of paper it is written on. The judiciary did not follow the law that is the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff. Unfortunately, in this case, the Judiciary has become the plaintiff itself by appointing a JIT under the umbrella of judges who are hearing the case. The Supreme Court has become a trial court, that has nullified its justification for existence, which is to be an appeal court with a responsibility to review judgement from lower courts. Furthermore, by becoming a trial court, it usurped the basic right of every individual to a fair hearing of his appeal by not offering him a different court and a forum. Review petition in front of new judges or a larger bench, unfortunately does not meet the criterion for justice.
  4. The army remains ever hungry for publicity, flexing its muscles and appear to subvert democracy and meddling in politics. As a result, it has to publicly re-assert its position as a neutral player in this and other similar episodes. However, its demeanor does not support that posture. Not too distant in the past the COAS met Imran Khan from among all political parties.The COAS has to be meet almost any foreign dignitary who comes into the country. It has never let go of the fact that there is a civilian government running the country and never attributes anything positive to govt, other than itself (Raad ul Fsaad etc.) A large section of the people feel that the army has not fulfilled its job of routing out terrorism from the country, Their intelligence and execution is weak, resulting into continuing deaths of thousands of brave soldiers and innocent civilians. The COAS and the army wants a pat on the back for doing the job they are supposed to do. This is neither fair nor acceptable. Behind the scenes they refer to civilians as “bloody civilians”. On media, they portray themselves to be their saviors. It is too obvious. The COAS, repeatedly claims the army to be a champion of CPEC, while its sole responsibility is to provide security to Chinese and other companies working in remote areas. The army is subservient to the govt and must act on its orders, yet it refuses to acknowledge this fact and portrays as it is the driver of the good work in the country.  It has protected Musharraf and its COAS have minted wealth. The army Generals do not like to salute the civilian Head of State, and do that unwillingly and with the grudge.
  5. Politicians, instead of fighting their battles in the elections like they are supposed to do, are using  other means. the party in the forefront is Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI). It is a bunch of discarded politicians and is likely to lose in the next elections because they have nothing to show, hence it is resorting to these tactics.
  6. The media is playing a destructive roles. They have the same old faces and so called experts, who have nothing but to criticize and pass judgments. They have nothing positive to say and are not worth listening to. They have become the judge and the jurors. In their round the clock transmissions you hardly see or hear anything positive. The anchors are jack of all trades master of none, including their own profession. Their news begins with a bad news and their experts give points as if they are preaching to kindergarten children. Really disgusting. They are among the top of various mafias operating in the country.

So, In a nutshell, one can clearly see that the so called educated group, media, politicians, army and Judiciary does not want to see a powerful Prime Minister, who is always a strength for any country. They fear that they would lose grip on the country if the Prime Minister becomes too powerful. They want to be ahead in the dirty power play game they are playing. They don`t care if the country suffers in the process. They just do not want to let go of illegally usurped power which is out their own mandated spheres. It also appears that some section of educated class, media and so called experts in the media, politicians are also not happy the progress Pakistan is making. They leave no effort to negate it through frivolous arguments. These people do not want to listen to the voice of people or want them to respect their mandate. This is in justice of the highest lot. In the end, but not least, they want to kill peoples hopes and dreams by removing the present government, simply because the present govt has its own way of operating and want every institution to work within their sphere of responsibility.

Was there Rigging in 2013 Elections?

I am surprised at the so called educated and intelligent class of Pakistan, which includes lawyers politicians, professionals students, anchors, experts at their rhetoric on the poll rigging. I am even more concerned at their callousness and deceitfulness in misleading people of Pakistan in an attempt to dislodge the legitimate government.

Rigging can only take place either with negligence or with connivance of the Parties Representatives (PRs) at the polling booth. Let’s re-enact the polling day at a Polling Booth.

  • It’s about 8 or so in the morning. The Polling Stations (PS) are open for the (PRs) and the Returning Officers (ROs) to settle in.
  • Each PR is handed over the voters list
  • The empty ballot boxes, which are also transparent, arrive. The empty boxes are shown to all PRs and sealed.
  • The ballot papers are then unsealed and show to each PR to ensure that their party’s candidate name is there.
  • The polling begins. Each voter proves his identity. All parties ensure his name is in the voters list. She/he votes and goes away with an ink mark on the thumb and a finger print on the ballot paper. The PRs object to any suspicious voter or those who cannot prove his or hers identity.
  • At the official closing time the polling booths are closed for new voters and those already in the PS are allowed to vote.
  • The counting begins immediately after the closing of the polling time.
  • The votes are counted in front of party’s representative. Final tally is done for each contestant.
  • The results are signed by all PAs.
  • The returning officer takes the tally for final compilation at Election omission of Pakistan’s (ECP’s) designated office(s)
  • The PRs do their own tally at their parties offices based on the results at each polling station.

The above substantially describes the polling process. It can be clearly seen that unless the all PRs collude with each other or are negligent, the rigging cannot take place in the polling booths. I believe, it is unlikely that poling agents of all contestants wre either negligent, or colluded to enable one candidate to win in election 2013

Now let’s step back and try and reason out Imran Khan’s main allegations:

  • Ex-Chief Justice manufactured elections and instructed RO’s to change the results. There is no case, which point towards RO’s changing the results. How can they? For argument sake let’s accept the insinuation. This can be easily challenged and proven in the tribunal by presenting the tallying sheets signed by all party’s PRs at the Polling Booth. It is no rocket science. Why is this not done as the allegations continue? As per the cases handled by Election Tribunal, where there was a doubt, a recounting was done and a decision was given on the basis of facts.
  • Ballot papers were printed in Urdu bazaar. Fine let’s accept they were, so what? Were these used to cast fake votes? All votes casted in the polling booths.
  • Ballot boxes were replaced with new one with fake votes. Possible. This was done where and when and by whom? Is it the army who transported them or by ECP. The results tallies of the PA’s matched the ECP’s count, hence nullify this insinuation.
  • Statement by Afzal Khan as the conclusive proof of rigging. Really does not hold any water. He timing, his demeanor etc., creates doubt on his credibility.

Though may be simplistic, the whole objective of this piece is to give us all a perspective of the election process, which most of the critiques don’t know,  and  arrive at an educated decision whether the rigging allegations are true or not. Allah has given us ability to assess and then make a judgement. Please step back and reflect. You may still reach the same conclusion, but then you would have thought it through.

My personal assessment is that the rigging was not done as claimed by PTI. FAFEN, UNDP and other Neutral Agencies have endorsed this view. Even the internal report of PTI says that PTI lost due to nominating wrong candidates & their own negligence.