The waves in electronic and print media propagate mixed signals about Imran Khan’s ability and strategy succeeding from the continuing containerised agitation interspersed with crowd-pulling events in major cities of Pakistan. Though created with an intended spin and twist, there is no denying that Imran Khan has used this period to arouse political awareness to a massive scale in all corners of Pakistan. According to Justice (R) Tariq Mahmud, households are divided. Within the opposition ranks, every family is showing cracks and pro PTI feelings. The media, eager for breaking news, ignores the reality that all political movements are a long haul; a seed once sown has to germinate and propagate with the wind. Though Imran Khan may appear falling short of some tactical objectives, the movement set alight by him with multiple pincers will ultimately achieve grand objectives; “The creation of an egalitarian Pakistan within a systems approach in which all elements of the state function with optimum efficiency.”

Cynics and critics must view and analyse the process of the Azadi March in the broader framework of egalitarianism, sanctity of the ballot and good governance. The best generals lost battles but won wars. In Islamic history, the Battle of Uhud is a defeat the Holy Prophet had to face before a series of Muslim conquests. In the larger context, the Azadi March is more likely to succeed on the basis of cognition, not short term cost-benefit analysis. This process is vindicated on the streets of major cities. While waves created by PTI and PAT surge, a deck of cards steadily crumbles. This attrition makes the status quo edgy and provokes them to knee jerk reactions. The Interior Minister blows democracy to smitten by stating that state power always prevails. Power lies with the people and not the state.

Indeed there was salvation; elections 2013 mark the starting point of a mass movement. Massive electoral mismanagement and fraud gave victory to the status quo but also mobilised people towards awareness and the power of the ballot. The precursors in sit-ins at Karachi and Lahore were set by civil society. Imran Khan and Dr. Tahir Ul Qadri provided the leadership to harmonise and channelize these emotions. Marches, dharnas and public gatherings are mere way points towards coup de grace: a ‘Naya Pakistan.’

Though the opposition may cry foul, the fact is that ripples through their spines cause nightmares. Election tribunals appointed by an overshadowed ECP rejected some PTI appeals on technical grounds but could not indemnify fraud. This diversion tactic constantly loses steam. As constituency after constituency opens, electoral mismanagement and fraud point to a familiar pattern. The pandora’s box speaks for itself; massive irregularities have been deliberately committed against PTI candidates in Punjab. So far, 18 seats of the National and Provincial Assemblies in Punjab have been sampled. They all point to violating the sanctity and manipulation of the ballot. A sampling of only 4 of the 18 constituencies means shutters down for PMLN. In all cases, ballot boxes are stuffed with fake papers, wrong thumb impressions, fraudulent stamping, bogus voting, stuffing of wastepaper and questionable Form 14s. Results announced by ROs do not match the recounting. Irrefutable evidence of rigging floats on the surface. Loss of national assembly seats means that corresponding provincial assembly seats would also be lost. In the ultimate conclusion, this spells a fatal blow for ruling elites and ECP.

Massive electoral frauds have surfaced in NA 110 of Sialkot. In the initial results, PTI candidate Usman Dar lost by a narrow margin to Khawaja Asif of PMLN. Asif is the present Water, Power and Defense Minister and a key member of the PMLN kitchen cabinet. His agitation with PTI needs no explanation.

NA-118 in which Hamid Zaman of PTI contested against Muhamad Riaz Malik of PMLN is a test case in all dimensions. Hamid Zaman has gone through the entire process at high financial cost. Rigging in this case is beyond doubt. The special judicial commission and NADRA thumb verification declared that 85,000 votes do not exist. The tribunal is imposing an intriguing silence on its decision.  The conclusion is foregone and provides a template for electoral audit.

In NA 122 of Lahore, Imran Khan of PTI lost to Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of PMLN, now Speaker of the National Assembly. Apart from regular features of rigging, the bags of the Provincial Assembly Candidate from PP147 contain ballot papers of NA122. Rigging is established beyond a doubt. Ayaz for some time has been hiding behind Stay Orders from the courts but his disqualification in the face of irrefutable rigging is a foregone conclusion.

NA 125 of Lahore is set to unravel the extremes of electoral rigging and irregularities. Khawaja Saad Rafique, the loud mouth of PMLN, was declared the winner against Hamid Khan of PTI. In addition to modes of rigging exposed in other constituencies, he was seen and recorded carrying ballot boxes and papers. Member ECP Punjab Justice (R) Riaz Kayani was seen looking the other way when material and technical irregularities were exposed to him in real time on polling stations. Ballot bags have been found stuffed with used toilet papers. A few months ago, Lahore police carried out an exercise of collecting National Identity Cards from the slums surrounding NA 125, purportedly on orders for a dubious purpose. Mysteriously, a school used for storing ballot bags was gutted and all evidence reduced to ashes.

Jahangir Tareen’s NA 148 constituency is a case where fraud was committed to benefit his opponent. The evidence of fraud once again floats on the surface.

In the face of compelling evidence, there appears to be no respite for PMLN. Disqualification of four key members of the party is on the cards. Once done, the process will spread to disqualify the remaining fourteen National Assembly and consequently the Provincial Assembly seats. It will discredit the entire electoral process making criminal inquiry and judicial commission a necessity.

Those who rejoice that the dharna plan of the PTI may be huffing, puffing and panting ought to be in awe of the larger strategy. PTI has workable and viable multiple envelopment pincers to question the entire legitimacy of elections 2013 backed by a mass movement.

Questions pertaining to disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have also been raised. The constitution of a larger bench to hear petitions seeking disqualification under Articles 62-63 of the Constitution should not be lost on the opposition and media.  The Shakespearian day of “When the hurly-burly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won,” sounds ominous for the status quo.

Brigadier (Retired) Samson Simon Sharaf is a political economist and a television anchorperson. He can be contacted at