Election or selection: After all, no one knows rigging like Imran Khan does

Published: July 26, 2018

For the betterment of Pakistan, this needs to be a clean victory, one that his supporters and his party can be truly proud of, one that is not tainted. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ PTI OFFICIAL

Our electoral process is far from perfect. A great democracy would have middle class and lower class representatives, performance-based elections, and sustainable policies on the manifesto. We have none of that. But arguably, we can still call our system a democracy. And that is why we need to salvage what we can.

This was probably the worst possible outcome of the election. The worst. Not because Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) couldn’t get a majority, or Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) did so poorly, but because a total of six parties rejected the result. If we are to convert those figures in votes, then perhaps around half of the population has rejected this election. People and leaders are calling this a selection rather than an election.

Now, Imran Khan was expected to win; his media management, performance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), ambitious campaign and Nawaz Sharif’s conviction perhaps sealed that win. So why can’t half the population accept the results?

There are two narratives that seek to answer this question.

First, that Imran has delivered such a knockout blow to status quo candidates in Karachi, Punjab and K-P, that it is simply not acceptable to them that they have lost. And no one wants to admit defeat. It’s like boxing, where fighters even in the most lopsided matches rarely concede defeat.

The second narrative is that these parties have reasonable grounds to complain and allege rigging. If the votes are being counted without the presence of polling agents, then it certainly does not point towards transparency and a free and fair election.

This narrative also rejects the election outright.

The truth probably lies in the middle, that there may have been inaccuracies in the vote count, but not to the extent that opposition alleges; it probably made a marginal difference in a select few seats. But that is just my opinion, the truth could be anywhere on this spectrum.

So what should Imran do?

Well, he’s certainly familiar with the art of appeasement. That’s what he should do. Right after the 2013 General Elections, Imran alleged rigging and asked for re-verification of votes in four constituencies. His opponents did not grant him this minor wish, but that was a mistake. After all, no one knows rigging claims like Imran does. Since he’s all about fair elections, he should grant his opponents’ request to show he won fair and square.


Because he is the prime minister select of this country, and needs to act like it. If he really has won the elections, and has won it fairly, then there should be no cause for concern for him.

However, the matter is a bit different this time around. He needs to appease six different parties. Some, however, are a bit more relevant than others. Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) are unlikely to cook up a storm. The PML-N along with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Milli Muslim League (MML), certainly hurts the elections’ credibility. So he might need to do more for the opposition-to-be.

One reasonable remedy could be that he opens up two constituencies for each party. And before doing that, they agree upon a few rules. For instance, at what extent an inaccuracy will be deemed to have made the elections tainted? Perhaps, these are questions for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) or the judiciary to answer, but there needs to be prior agreement on them.

Imran fought a brilliant campaign, but he needs to stop fighting now. Accusations such as the ones levelled against him go into history books. For the betterment of Pakistan, this needs to be a clean victory, one that his supporters and party can be truly proud of, one that is not tainted. Concessions, after a brilliant victory might seem unfair, but it’s what is perhaps needed for Imran to proudly claim that that the country chose him, it is the people who chose him, and no one else.

Ibrahim Mahmood

Ibrahim Mahmood

The author is a law student at LUMS and hopes to pursue social justice in the courts one day.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sheraz Khalid

    Owian Owain….Recommend

  • Sleepless

    Let the people who are crying about unfair elections take the legal route, file cases and fight them like PTI did the past four years.Recommend

  • Sane

    All who are crying are the real losers. They were not able to ‘set’ polling. Or they were living in fools paradise. No more to corruption and mismanagement. After all we and our children have to live in this country. To open eyes it is enough that Indians are crying upon losing PML N. Why?Recommend

  • Muhammad Athar Shah

    you wasted 10 mins of my life.Recommend

  • Ayesha Tariq

    So? What’s new? Every loser party cried about rigging in 2013 too. Asan hal ha yeh sharmindagi se bachne ka.Recommend

  • sterry

    I think everyone needs to accept the results and move on. Stability is most important thing but the PTI gave a bad example of doing dharnas for over 100 days and trying to bring in army when they rejected polls. If all the other parties do the same time of dharnas like PTI it will be bad for the country. This time the army won’t come in. Most important is for the country to continue with development and stability and I hope that PTI continues the CPEC economic policies which will make the country better.Recommend

  • Patwari

    ‘…PTI won…everyone needs to move on,,, PTI gave a bad example of dharnas…’ sounds false, fake, feeble and fishy, coming from a Nawaz supporter. Gibberish.
    Humza, you write one thing then countermand it! You are a hypocrite.
    If Imran Khan’s dharna had succeeded Pakland would not have to suffer 4 more
    years of looting and plundering by Nawaz and his cabal. We don’t know what Zardari looted and plundered in Sindh during last 4 years. He just got caught
    laundering Rs.35 billions!! Never mind the what the small fish stole.
    Pakland would not be on it’s knees now, begging IMF for loans!!
    Thanks to absconder Ishaq Dar, and his fake magic numbers, the economy is in bad shape.The former finance minister and money launderer for Nawaz, now hiding in London. [he has dual citizenship. UK]. It would be hard to extradite him. He removed all his money abroad, before absconding. Left behind one Land Cruiser, and Rs.12,000 in a local bank!! All dineros gone offshore!!
    Number One Son of the Soil, Nawaz is in Adiala Jail along with his mealy mouthed daughter and his son in law. The son in law hid in a cave for two days near Malakand, before surrendering to authorities.
    Your comment is generic, partly ridiculous and FAKE. Everyone knows you
    support your provincial, ethnic, master and Son of the Soil flagholder, Nawaz.
    Who is the main reason for all the problems Pakland is facing, currently.
    Your flaky comments are good but pathetic entertainment.Recommend

  • sterry

    People like you who are obsessed with personalities will never understand that first loyalty is to the country and not any party. Whoever takes the country forward should be given a chance to prove his mandate and the stability in the system should rule supreme. So yes, I did not support PTIs manifesto since I believe that PML N did a good job with CPEC and infrastructure as well as energy so I want more of that. If you can’t understand that democracy is about tolerating different views, then that’s your challege. So whether a son of the soil from PTI like Imran or a son of the soil like Bilawal from PPP or a son of the soil like Shahbaz wins, people like me care about whether Pakistan wins. Try to understand that concept and things will be easier for you. Do I think that PTI was given unfair advantage by the system – yes and do I have concerns – sure. To me what is most important is that we respect the system and mandate given by the people in the vote. In civilized societies, people fight for their side before elections and then accept the results and move on since we are part of the same society. Ever heard of Labour and Conservatives in UK who still love their country despite disagreeing about parties? Anyhow this son of the soil’s loyalty is to Pakistan before any party. Like in India, your loyalty will be to India before Modi or Gandhi.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Great joke! Your twisted sense of humor is still clouding your message.
    See, you are a die hard, provincial. You only support The Punjabi Mafia
    from Jati Umra. Don Sharif is in Adiala Jail marking days on the wall with
    a nail. He got terrible advice from his consigliere, Maryam the Mouth.
    The rest of what you dished out is pablum, even a two year old will puke and vomit it out. Only the Punjabi peons indentured to Sharif Mafia Family
    will swallow it…..after you pay them 100 rupees.
    Second in command, Don Munna Shabaz failed badly, lost the elections.
    He is history. Need to go on Hajj and never return. Ask for Saudi asylum.
    NAB is building cases against him. Bad, bad mojo is coming his way.
    Say, you plagiarized your comment off the internet? Some Western politician’s speech? From Manchester, the Second Punjab? Comment sounds Vilayati, and fake. So beating your chest, singing the anthem…?
    Here is what you fail to understand. There are no Sons of the Soil. It is a
    derogatory epithet. It describes and denotes people who are provincial, ethnic, racist, supremacists and bigots. And treat anyone who does not looks like them, sounds like them or speaks their language, with discrimination. Understand, Muhajjirs sacrificed everything for Pakland.
    Did you get it? Nope you “ain’t” never getting it.Recommend

  • Muhammad Moaazam

    The Parties crying for Election rig they were responsible for election reforms in past 5 years to make the system transparent.Recommend