According to PML-N Punjab President Shahbaz Sharif, his party will wipe out all other parties in the next election. Hopefully it will be done through votes and not the traditional Muslim League Wipers also termed “Jhurlu”. The track record of this party and its leaders is very poor. In the famous Asghar Khan case most of them have been convicted for stealing elections. The Nasir-ul-Mulk commission pointed out serious irregularities in the electoral process which have not been corrected.

Out of the four constituencies pointed out by Chairman PTI, three of the PML-N candidates were un-seated by the Election Tribunal while in the fourth one, Khawaja Asif’s NA110, angels came to his rescue and the petition was dismissed on technical grounds due to sold out lawyers, however serious infringement of the process were reported.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq the Speaker was able to win back his seat with the help of the local administrative machinery. Punjab Police was seen hoisting his election banners while NADRA was tasked to manipulate the voter lists. Saad Rafiq got stay from the Supreme Court while PTI was able to win back the Lodhran seat after a dirty and lavish election campaign PML-N style. Without major electoral reforms there will be a PML-N wipe out in Punjab, that is why the Chief Minister (CM) is so confident. Another farce electoral process will bring back the rogues into power. Since 1977 it will be an eleventh manipulated exercise called “Positive Results” by its initiator and tormentor of democracy Zia-ul-Haq.

Pakistan was the first democratic state of the Islamic World followed by Iran where Muhammad Mossediq was the first elected Prime Minister (PM). We were born by the ballot and only it can sustain us. The will of the people must prevail. Democracy has its own dynamics. “Positive Results” through manipulated ballots are disastrous for the country. After ten failures between 1977 to 2013 some lessons should have been learnt. A credible election is the only way forward.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) the first truly elected PM of Pakistan talked about the deep political understanding of the people of the sub-continent. To challenge the colonial rulers freedom movements started all over India. Traditions of democracy run deep. As a child growing up in Lahore I was exposed to the ‘Jalsas’ of Mochi Gate and politics of ‘Thara’ on one end and the intellectual exchanges in the Cheney’s Lunch home, Coffee House, Pak Tea House Shezan and Lords restaurant. Lahore has always been alive and vibrant till it came under the control of the “ Sharif’s Takht’.

The GHQ founded political parties have no roots in the masses such they rely on ballot manipulation. In fact they are the enemy of democracy who then took control of the democratic order and used it for personal or party gains. After signing the “Charter of Democracy” (COD) between Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif a new status-quo force has emerged. That is why no one is interested in electoral reforms to determine the will of the people as was done in the 1970 elections. The Khakis, Qazis and Baboos have always worked in unison to thwart change while they now have another “Siasi” Status-quo partner.

Decision of the Panama case is anxiously awaited. In the words of Sheikh Rashid a coffin will emerge from this case either it will be of democracy or judiciary. Without justice no society can survive. Like other institutions of the state the track record of the “Qazis” has also been very poor. Service to the people has not been on their agenda. Even then when the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) was removed by the ‘Khaki Dictator’ the civil society came on the streets for his restoration. Once restored he was unable to reform his institution and instead got involved in cheap stunts.

For a credible ballot to take place the Khakis, Qazis and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) have to work together with no interference of the local administration. NADRA voter lists have to be updated and corrected. I have been told that there are small 2 to 3 Marla flats in Gawal Mandi Lahore which have hundred’s of registered voters courtesy of PML-N as it is their home ground. No dirty hand should touch the ballot box. Support staff should be brought in from other provinces and then flown out for safety. ‘Thana’ and ‘Patwar khana’ should have no role.

Only a credible ballot can establish democracy in the country which has been repeatedly derailed either by the Khakis and Qazis or their created ‘Siasis’ like the Sharif’s of Lahore or the Chaudri’s of Gujrat. Altaf Hussain seems to have fallen on hard times. Even his name is being removed from universities. Some mistakes have been realised and corrected while others remain. In the sixties we came on the streets to force an honest ballot. Then again our protests in 2007 resulted in the fall of the fourth Khaki usurper who is under trial these days. Unfortunately our movement for change was unable to produce the desired results. CJP was restored, Zardari ousted Musharraf and became President, PML-N took control of Punjab and then Pakistan. Status-quo got a ten year reprieve (2007 – 2017). Another PML-N wipe out calls for in depth thinking and strategy. The next election and decade will be crucial. The democratic forces are in disarray while the forces of status-quo are all set for another “Jhurlu”. It is time to redraw the battle lines. Comrades of change, wake up and organise before being wiped out by the political goons.