Highlights of Pakistan Election 2018

This week, over 50 million Pakistanis went to vote. This was the fifth largest election in the world. There were goods and bads but some highlights for us to retrospect.

Disabled and old brave the heat to vote in Pakistani Elections 2018

Pakistanis continue to show their interest and participation in democratic process — old and frail, able and disabled brave the heat and distance to vote. The turnout was around 55% with some areas recording close to a remarkable 80% including Tharparkar.

Colorful Kurtas are back in fashion.

Pakistan dresses up all over the country, as if attending a shaadi — but there was no Qorma or Kulfa, this was to go out and vote. Social media was also stuffed with images of people boasting about their first ever vote with awkward photos of colorful thumbs.

First ever Hindu members of Pakistani parliament elected on general seats through popular vote

Pakistan elects its first ever Hindu member of the National Assembly, as well as two Hindu members in provincial assembly. Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani of centre-left Pakistan Peoples Party gets over 100,000 votes from NA-222 general seat in Tharparkar. Gyanchand Esrani in PS-81 and Hari Ram Kishori Lal in PS-47 (both from PPP) were also successful in their bids. Great milestone of interfaith harmony and kudos to PPP.

Jhang’s usual battle continues…

Irony shines as anti-Shia misogynist cleric, Ahmed Ludhianvi of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (previously Sipah Sahaba) is defeated by a margin of more than 30,000 votes by a woman!

Abrar ul Haq may be going back to billo de ghar!

Abrar ul Haq losing with a shameful margin of more than 50%. In this particular case, Punjabis rejected the politics of fake religiosity and blasphemy accusations. If you have any shame left Abrar, quit this and go back to Billo de ghar and start all over again. You have been a total disappointment!

Pakistan People’s Party makes history by electing Tanzeela Kamrani as a parliamentarian - a woman of African descent hailing from a society that still endures discrimination. Tanzeela has struggled through time to fight prejudice at the hands of the feudal class in her community. Additionally, PPP allocated more party tickets to women than any other party in the country.

Karachi — Red for PTI, black for PPP, Green for PMLN, Orange for MQM.

Electoral trends in Karachi, after decades, have aligned with national electoral patterns. While there are questions on credibility of polling in the metropolitan, this is a good omen for Karachi. Karachi needs political leadership which also leads the centre to give it stability and funds it desperately needs. Lets see how this transpires as the mega city gets a break from MQM-PPP catfight!

A policeman in Quetta on Election day.

Pakistan continues to show its resilience and will to move on. A terrorist attack in Baluchistan killed 35 but electoral process continues with widespread participation from masses — rejecting threats and intimidation of terrorists. Kudos to Pakistan Police and security forces for exemplary participation on election day.

Nayab Ali, one of the transgender candidates for Election 2018 in Pakistan.

For the first time in Pakistan’s history — five transgender candidates contested for National Assembly seats. Great milestone for an inclusive Pakistan.

A startup working with Pakistan media make history!

Pakistani media airs uninterrupted transmission covering Elections 2018 targeting hearing-impaired people. Another first! Read more.

ECP moving in right direction by enabling postal ballots.

Election Comission of Pakistan offered postal ballot facilities for people with disabilities and also tried to improve facilities on polling stations including ramps.

From brave slogans to National Assembly — quite a move!

Mohsin Javed Dawar wins from NA 48 and Ali Wazir from NA 50 as independent candidates on back of ‘yeh jo dehshatgardi hay, iske pechay wardi hay!

A result which is not so surprising but goes on to challenge the narrative of those who believe the security establishment messed up the election is this! Pashtun Tahafuz Movement led a country wide movement of protests and rallies and there is no question about their popularity in their home of FATA — so their success is not surprising but such blatant critics of military going into National Assembly is definitely breaking news material.

More non Muslims to vote this time.

Courtesy drives by political parties like PPP and efficient registration mechanisms, the number of registered voters in non Muslim population increased significantly by 30% — giving them better representation in electoral process. Kudos Pakistan!

Vaheguru ji ka khalsa!

Pakistan saw its first Sikh candidate for National Assembly, and the better news is that he received enormous support from Muslim constituents in his area. Up and above Pakistan!

Jibran Nasir — #HumMainSeAik

Jibran Nasir, an independent candidate from NA-247 Karachi emerged as as a breath of fresh air. He ran a positive campaign and had years of struggle as a socio political activist working on the ground on issues as wide ranging as anti-terrorism, fighting against false blasphemy charges, civil-military relationship and more. He wasn’t able to win many votes but won hearts!

Ammar Kazmi contests on Punjabi nationalism.

Ammar Kazmi, an independent candidate for a national assembly constituency in Kasur contested, probably for the first time in Pakistan’s history, on agenda of Punjabi nationalism. The core manifesto item was official recognition of Punjabi language, primary education in Punjabi language and promotion of Punjabi mainstream media channels.

Rigging allegations dent credibility of elections

Rigging allegations by multiple political parties dent the credibility of elections. Key points raised were (a) pre poll rigging by judicial attack on PMLN (b) delimitations targeting certain vote bank (c ) delay in announcement of results for some constituencies (d) polling agents were asked to leave polling stations during counting and (e) number of rejected votes in some constituencies were found way more than win margin. Only time will tell what is true — or may be not.

And the moment Insafians had been waiting for…

And finally, Fawad Chaudry of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf becomes the first party official to announce Imran Khan as potential next Prime Minister of the country late in the night post elections when it became apparent that PTI had gained most number of seats in NA.

blogger, technologist, foodie, vagabond, avid reader, cricket-lover, and an activist focused on human rights and the case for the environment.

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