Home Contact Us  
   

Peace & Conflict Database - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5411, 27 December 2017
 
Election Year in Pakistan: Key Dynamics and Prospects
Rana Banerji
Member, Governing Council, IPCS, & former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India
 

Despite several hiccups, on 19 December, the Senate of Pakistan passed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2017 - resulting in the amendment to Article 51 (5) of the Pakistani constitution - which will enable elections to the National Assembly (NA) to be held on the basis of the 2017 provisional census results. 

Under the newly demarcated constituencies, of the 342 NA seats, Punjab will have 141 General seats and 33 Women seats (7 General and 2 Women seats fewer); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will have 39 General and 9 Women seats (4 General and 1 Women seat added); Baluchistan will have 16 General and 4 Women seats (2 General and 1 Women seat added); and the Federal Capital Area will have 3 General seats (1 General seat added). The existing 61 General and 14 Women seats in Sindh and 12 General seats in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) remain unchanged. The term of the present parliament ends on 31 May 2018. After the Election Commission implements these changes, elections could be held, after Ramadan, sometime in mid-August 2018.

Coincidentally (?), Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Bajwa addressed Senators a few hours earlier on the same day. This `in-camera’ briefing, leaked soon enough to media, laid to rest speculation about a government of technocrats prematurely replacing Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s team. It did not dispel persisting doubts about the Army’s interventionist clout, which re-emerged after photographs of the Director General (DG) Punjab Rangers, Maj Gen Azhar Naveed Hayat Khan, distributing cheques to Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) volunteers went viral on social media on 07 Dec 2017.

This could be tested afresh in January 2018 when Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) leader, Tahir-ul-Qadri resumes street agitation, asking for the sacking of Punjab Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah, as a price for the heavy handed police action during the August 2014 demonstration in Model Town, Lahore. The Justice Baqar Najfi judicial enquiry findings, which were made public on 5 December 2017, places the already beleaguered Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML(N)) regime on a weak wicket in this regard. How it counters this agitation may impinge on the prospects of Shahbaz Sharif's prime ministerial candidacy.

Senate Elections
The next important landmark would be the Senate elections, scheduled for 2 March 2018. This poll would enhance the PML (N)'s strength, though not by enough to give it two-thirds majority. At present, the 104-member Upper House has 27 PML (N) Senators; 26 Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senators; and 7 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senators. After the election, PML (N) will have 37 seats, PPP, 16; and PTI, 13.

Caretaker Governments
As per the 20th constitutional amendment passed in February 2012, caretaker governments have to be formed to conduct free and fair elections at the national and provincial levels. These are to be chosen through a consultative process between legislators of the ruling party and the opposition under Article 224A of Pakistan's constitution. Though some wrangling on names can occur, fear of the Army’s `Damocles sword’ will possibly ensure that consensus is reached soon enough. This time, PTI Chief Imran Khan may try to get a toe-hold in, to get one or two `Caretakers’ of his choice in the interim set ups in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, also at the national level.

The elections may see a fragmentation of the right of centre vote bank, especially in Punjab, between the PML (N), PTI and the new mainstream contenders of the Islamic parties – Hafiz Saeed's Milli Muslim League (MML) and the Barelvi factions of the TLYR and Mumtaz Qadri adherents, some possibly in the garb of Independents. The PPP and Mohajirs may hold on, respectively, to their bastions in rural and urban Sindh, though the latter may be split into various contending factions. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa may see how Imran Khan’s party copes with the twin threats of anti- incumbency and a rival ganging up of right radical Islamists led by Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F)'s (JUI-F) Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman. The FATA merger issue could be a thorn in several throats.

Presently, there is much speculation in the Pakistani media about possible `course corrections’ which a defensive Army leadership makes to cope with the mainstreaming of Islamists. A `divided’ judiciary is seen trying to ameliorate injured civil society sentiment about the biased handling of the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif and the lease of life given to Imran Khan. Though Nawaz Sharif’s charisma and `victim’ narrative remains the prime `vote-catcher’ for PML(N), Imran has not done anything too controversial since his `disqualification survival’ and currently, seems slightly ahead of Shahbaz Sharif in the prime ministerial race.

Role of the Army
Gen Bajwa seems well in control now of his collegiate leadership group. 2018 will see retirements of only five lieutenant generals in October. These vacancies may enable slotting of some aspirants as corps commanders. How the Army manages to balance or control emerging political equations will be of greater interest. Overall, it may be content to let political permutations evolve as long as a democratic facade is maintained and the new political leadership at the centre does not question its control of security, neighbourhood and nuclear policy.

Indo-Pak Relations
On relations with India, much will depend on the International Court of Justice’s verdict in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. Pakistan’s latest going back on assurances on how to treat his mother and wife does not provide any ground for optimism. Neither should one expect any change of heart on the Mumbai 26/11 terror accused trials or generally, in how the Army keeps cocooning favoured `non-State’ actors.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Pakistan: Census Complexities

Trump's Afghanistan Strategy

Pakistan: The Nawaz Ouster

The ISI and Kulbhushan Jadhav's Second ‚ÄúConfession‚ÄĚ

India-Pakistan: Three Years of Wasted Effort?

Pakistan and the Panama Papers Verdict

In Context: Pakistan's New Army Chief Gen Bajwa

Fragility in Pakistan

Book Review: "Much Ado About Nothing"

Pakistan: Kamalís Dramatic Return and the Fate of MQM-A

Has Peshawar Changed Pakistanís Approach to Tackle Terrorism?

Pakistan: MQM Under Siege

The Military Reshuffle in Pakistan: Is the Army Chief firming up his control?

Pakistan: A Hyper-national Security State

Talks with the Taliban: Endgame for the Military

Pakistan 2013: Civil-Military Relations

Pakistan: The Military Shuffle and Consolidation under the New Chief

Pakistan: The Hakimullah Mehsud Killing

Intrusions along LoC/IB in J&K: Pakistanís Objectives

Pakistan: Who will be the next Army Chief?

Pakistan: Civil-Military Relations and the Instrumentalisation of Political Power

Pakistan: The Abbottabad Commission of Enquiry

B. Raman (1936-2013)

Special Commentary: The Military and Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan

Pakistan Elections 2013: Caretaker Prime Minister & the Election Scenario

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.