Bas ho chuki namaz musalla uthaiye

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

Bas ho chuki namaz musalla uthaiye

The Pakistan National Assembly elections were held on 8th February,

The counting of votes started early morning on 9th February. Unofficial early count results showed former Prime Minister Imran Khan's PTI ( contesting as independents ) leading in 148 constituencies, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's PMLN in 43, and Zardari-Bhutto's PPP in 47.

Thus, PTI was leading by a significant margin, sparking victory celebrations among PTI supporters across Pakistan.

However, the situation took a drastic and dramatic turn when the Election Commission mysteriously halted the vote count for an extended period. During this interval, there was massive rigging, apparently under the direction of the Pakistani Establishment.

Compounding the controversy, international observers were barred from witnessing the polls, and mobile services were suspended.

After considerable delay, the results were declared. Out of the 266 seats in the National Assembly for which elections were held, Imran Khan's PTI ( contesting as independents ) won 93, Nawaz Sharif's PMLN won 73, Zardari-Bhutto's PPP won 54, MQM won 17, and smaller parties also won a few seats

The Pakistan army, the real ruler of Pakistan, has succeeded in its goal, by massive rigging.

No party will have a majority in the House, and a weak PMLN-PPP coalition govt, controlled from behind the scene by the army, will be formed (the army will not permit a coalition, of which PTI is a part, to come to power, as it is extremely hostile to the PTI)

Despite all the enthusiasm of its supporters, the PTI has been left in the lurch. PTI supporters may keep howling and screaming as much as they like, but the new government will be another version of the erstwhile PDM govt.

PTI leaders ( i.e. those not in jail ) have announced agitations all over Pakistan on Sunday, but what can that achieve? Sooner or later the protesters will get tired, and go home. And those who get aggressive beyond a certain point will be promptly arrested and locked up in jail. And if things get worse, there may be another Vendemiarie as in Paris in October 1795.

PTI workers and supporters foolishly thought that the PTI will sweep the polls, as Imran Khan had support of 80-90% of Pakistan's population. They forget that what is relevant is not what goes into the ballot box, but what comes out of it.

And they also forgot that ultimately power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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