Naveed Aman Khan
THE upcoming general election 2018 is just around the corner and political atmosphere is gaining tremendous momentum the across country. However, what’s new this time is that the public is more interested in the political affair as compared to the past. Especially the younger age bracket or the privileged class, who previously were n’t very active in the entire electoral process, are more educated, aware and participatory this time, which we certainly owe to social media. Social media has helped bridge the gap and sketch out common grounds where the public can see that the election is significant for them no matter which class or social status they belong to.
Dominant part of media has stayed focused on the objective it started with on day one – ie to increase public interest, participation and supporting discussions on political and social affairs. But unfortunately part of media sometime has been seen manipulating the realities becoming party to pro-democracy and anti-democracy otherwise. The media platform has provided people with an opportunity to voice their opinions, so each and every individual feels included as it acts as a significant catalyst for the change we ultimately want to see. Media is determined voice of masses’ opinions so that they feel empowered in their own capacity because public participation, along with being a vital part of democratic governance, is universally recognized right as well. Following and believing in that, media took itself to the streets to hear out and provide perspectives about the upcoming platforms a bigger and engaging platform. The conducted public shows by the politicians are designed to convey whom people think and see as the future of Pakistan between the only two biggest rivals at the moment the PML-N and the PTI. Factually PPP has lost its even bleak popularity in the ever deciding province of Punjab.
General election 2018 should be evaluated on overall performance and deliverance basis. In 2013 PML-N won general election with comfortable simple majority having 166 seats while PPP remained second largest with 42 members of National Assembly and PTI with 35 numbers. After completion of five-year term of rule PML-N has many landmarks in its jackpot. Right from assuming government in 2013 power shortage forced PML-N to meet this need first of all. The then Premier Nawaz Sharif pulled up his socks and started steering the sinking sectors of energy, power and economy of the country. In 2013 law and order situation in the entire country was not as satisfactory as it is now. Operation Zarb-e-Azb in the then FATA and operation Radd ul Fasaad in Karachi were initiated to combat terrorism which very successfully met esteemed objectives.
Pakistan-China political and diplomatic bilateral relationship were given priority. China initiated its OBOR design of development. This China Pakistan Economic Corridor proved landmark for Pakistan. Meanwhile, as promised pre elections 2013 in its manifesto PMLN government decided to register article 6 high treason case against former dictator General (R) Pervez Musharraf. This was turning point. Musharraf was rescued and the game turned turtle. In response to Musharraf trial sit in like circus of PTI and PAT tried their level best to help roll-back PMLN government in August 2014. Understanding the whole story Nawaz Sharif somehow took his political horse to mid 2017 when controversial decision of Panama cum Aqama turned everything otherwise. On July 28 Nawaz Sharif was declared disqualified.
Amid political turmoil from August 2014 till today several energy and power projects have successfully been completed. This enabled the country in setting up new industries in different parts of the country thus enhancing exports level manifold. Foreign investors started moving towards Pakistan. After nine long years international cricket could be made possible in Pakistan successfully. Return of international cricket in Pakistan is great achievement and acknowledgement of positive indicators on international level. Metro transport and orange train are also credits of PML-N government while in other three provinces not even a single project could get completed. Nothing has been done of remarkable significance there.
It is true that PML-N government could not pay due attention in education and health matters. A lot should have been done in these two sectors. It is true that Nawaz Sharif did not pay attention on his presence in National Assembly and Senate Sessions. Being Premier he should have been regular in the Assembly and Senate. Though too late yet one of the biggest credits of PML-N government is inclusion and merger of FATA in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province at the conclusion of their regime. It would have been far more beneficial if had been done couple of years earlier. This gigantic decision will now give honour, confidence and acknowledgement to our tribal brothers, sisters and children. But as for as performance is concerned overall PML-N 2013-18 regime remained far better than Musharraf 1999-2008 and PPP 2008-2013 regimes.
— The writer is political analyst based in Islamabad.