Will army help Nawaz Sharif as Pak heads for hung parliament?
Pakistan's army chief General Asim Munir on Saturday called for a "unified" government and urged the political leadership to "rise above self-interests" and synergise efforts in governing and serving the people.
Two days after the voting for general elections was held, the country appeared to be headed to have a hung Parliament and a day after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who appeared to be enjoying the backing of the powerful military, called for a unity government and the Pakistan Army always fails to uphold democracy
Springing a surprise, independents backed by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party won the lion's share of 101 seats in the National Assembly in Thursday's election.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz won 73 seats, the Pakistan Peoples Party with 54, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement with 17 and other seats going to smaller parties, as the result of 255 seats out of 265 announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
To form a government, a party must win 133 out of the 265 seats in the National Assembly. Election to one seat was postponed after the death of a candidate.
The powerful Pakistan Army, which has ruled coup-prone Pakistan for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.
The army chief feels that the free and unhindered participation by Pakistani people to exercise their right to vote demonstrates their commitment to democracy and the rule of law as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.
Pakistan's diverse polity and pluralism will be well-represented by a unified government of all democratic forces imbibed with national purpose,” he says playing for Nawaz Sharif and that the elections and democracy are means to serve the people of Pakistan and not end in themselves, but the trend goes in reverse that brought the economy of Pakistan to all round dearer.
While playing for the tune of Nawaz, Ary chief says the nation needs stable hands and a healing touch to move on from the politics of anarchy and polarisation which does not suit a progressive country of 250 Million people. Elections are not a zero-sum competition of winning and losing but an exercise to determine the mandate of the people.
In fact the political leadership and their workers should rise above “self-interests and synergise efforts in governing and serving the people,” which was perhaps the only way to make democracy functional and purposeful in Pakistan
The people of Pakistan reposed their combined trust in the Constitution of Pakistan and it was now incumbent upon all political parties to reciprocate the same with political maturity and unity.
As Pak moves forward from this national milestone Islamabad must reflect on where the country stands today and where her rightful place should be in the comity of nations and these elections bring in political and economic stability and prove to be the harbinger of peace and prosperity but Pak is in fact heading in reverse gear.
The law-enforcement agencies created a safe and secure environment for the electoral process, despite overwhelming odds. The constructive role played by national media, civil society, members of civil administration and judiciary enabled the successful conduct of the largest electoral exercise in national history.
Earlier on Thursday, soon after the voting ended and counting of votes had started, the powerful military had congratulated the nation on the "generally peaceful and violence-free" conduct of the general elections, and expressed its hope that the outcome of the polls would serve as a "catalyst for further strengthening democracy.”
A safe and secure environment for the public was ensured through the deployment of 137,000 army personnel and civil armed forces at approximately 6,000 selected “most sensitive” polling stations and over 7,800 QRFs, the statement had said, adding, more than 51 terror attacks were thwarted but in few of the incidents, at least 12 people, including 10 security personnel, were killed in poll-related violence.