OPINION

Can we draw any lessons from Pak elections?

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By: TOUSEEF RAINA

One can’t help but congratulate the masses of Pakistan for giving such a historic mandate to the cricketer turned politician- Imran Khan- in recently concluded Pakistan general elections.

Being viewed as a mandate against fanaticism, exclusivity and hegemonic rule, the international community seems upbeat at this development in the history of Pakistan.

Such rational mandate would go a long way in strengthening the institutions of Pakistan-Legislature, Executive, Judiciary & the Media apart from other sub-structures that are mandatory in ensuring good governance.

However, what was more exciting about these elections was the fact that majority of religious organizations also contested elections under the banner of democracy.

The religious organizations in Pakistan submitted their will to the public in their tacit acceptance of democracy. Even Hafiz Sayed led Jamat-ud-Dawa participated in the elections, while as the general understanding among masses regarding Sayed and the likes is that they stand against contesting elections or supporting others for the same.

Similarly Jamat-i-Islamia which has been contesting elections in Islamic republic of Pakistan has an entirely different stand when it comes to elections in Kashmir. Ofcourse Kashmir issue has an entirely different connotation and parties like Jamaat have always stood against elections ever since the infamous rigging of 1987 that led to the armed struggle in early 1990’s.

The masses in J&K, particularly the youth, have often accused Kashmiri mainstream leadership of corruption, nepotism, favoritism&above all exclusivity and dynasty rule. One wonders whether people of Kashmir can ever attempt to replace the set-dynasties and encourage people to contest elections for a cause. Can the Pakistan elections be one such motivation for the masses here?

History is witness that even after threats, boycott calls etc, people of Kashmir chose to step-out on election days and cast their votes despite threats to life and risks of social castigation.

Fred Rigg’sthesis that ‘formalism’—phenomena of governance, where there is gap between the stated objective (Constitution, Laws & Rules) & the real application of it, could only be nipped by the right bunch of elected representatives.

Imagine, if all of our MLA’s & Ministers are competent and conscious of people’s aspirations, how drastically the ground scenario can witness change. A lot thought, perhaps we can draw from the recently concluded elections in Pakistan!

(The writer is a social activist from Baramulla, he tweets @touseefraina)

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