“Cleverness is serviceable for

everything, sufficient for nothing.”

– Amiel

Pakistan has achieved a remarkable milestone in its checkered history where democracy has finally won. The transition from one civilian set up to the other is no mean achievement, in spite of the fact that there were serious concerns over the impartiality of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the caretaker setup. The PML-N, which has been voted to power as the single largest party at the centre and in its base, Punjab, will, in fact, be walking a tightrope that requires great caution.

Having said that, the serious charges of manipulation in at least 50 to 60 constituencies, if proved, would have normally resulted in a re-election. However, there is a simple way to find out what the truth is. Only if the ECP would conduct an inquiry by matching the thumb impressions on the ballot papers with the record available with Nadra.

According to some media reports, several prospective candidates had purchased original ID cards from poor people before the May 11 polling and then, in collaboration with corrupt electoral officials, managed to increase the number of votes. Consequently, this has led the leaders of several political parties and members of civil society to stage protests in various parts of the country.

All this, however, does not imply that the ECP should scrap the entire electoral process. In fact, it must put in place a system where such malpractices do not occur in future.

More so, it is necessary that the political parties must respect democratic norms by accepting the mandate of the parties that have been voted to power in all the four provinces. Any attempt to defeat the people’s resolve will have serious consequences not only for the continuation of the democratic process, but also for the politicians, who encourage political manipulation of any kind.

The new government is yet to be sworn in, but even before that one could hear the talk of desertions in the Senate either by choice or through coercive methods. If this is true, then the incoming government, instead of serving the interests of people, is more likely to be bogged down by intrigues and counter-intrigues that will adversely affect the country.

The best possible way to move forward would be to create consensus on all outstanding issues and challenges faced by Pakistan, so that the government can work to alleviate the sufferings of the poor.

It is good that Pakistan is about to witness an experiment where three different political parties are expected to form the government in three provinces – PML-N in Punjab, PPP in Sindh and PTI in KPK. But a coalition government is likely to emerge in Balochistan. In case the federal and provincial governments remain within the orbit of the constitution, there will be no serious problems. But if they try to encroach on each others’ domain, it will not augur well for the country and people.

One hopes that the politicians would demonstrate political maturity and tolerance, and cooperate with each other to deal with the serious challenges facing Pakistan. For example, there are serious differences between the parties on the issue of terrorism. Failure to reach a consensus on it will damage the country’s economy and jeopardise its relations with the international community.

It is, therefore, of utmost importance that all major stakeholders, especially those who will be in power at the centre and in the provinces, should work in harmony with one another to restore the people’s confidence in them.

In the days and weeks to come, hopefully, the PML-N would create an atmosphere where major problems, which have a direct bearing on the economy, side by side with the law and order situation, will be resolved through consensus for the prosperity of Pakistan.

The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist. At present, he hosts a political programme on Pakistan Television.