Pakistan to mark Independence Day amid political row

Analysts fear growing political tensions stemmed from July 25 elections, which are tainted by allegations of ‘rigging’

Pakistan to mark Independence Day amid political row

World Bulletin / News Desk

Pakistan is going to celebrate its 71st Independence Day on Aug. 14 amid political tensions in the country stemmed from July 25 elections, which are tainted by allegations of “rigging” and “manipulation.”

The South Asian nuclear nation, according to local analysts, is currently grappling with a deepening political crisis that may exacerbate the existing polarization in coming months following the opposition parties’ campaign against alleged rigging.

So much so, Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, the president of Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA), a five-party religious alliance, announced last week: “We will not celebrate the Independence Day this year, but will launch a struggle for real independence.”

He was referring to the country’s powerful military establishment, which according to opposition parties, have “engineered” the elections in favor of one party -- the center-right Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

“We are celebrating our Independence Day when the country is passing through a post-truth era. The July 25 elections have further deepened the political divide instead of settling it down,” Sajjad Mir, a Lahore-based political commentator said.

“This political divide, which will take time to settle, may fan the existing polarization in the country,” Mir said.

Mubashir Zaidi -- a Karachi-based political analyst -- also sees a rise in political tensions in days to come.

“There is so much polarization, mainly on the political front, which I think is going to mount if some serious steps are not taken to address the opposition’s rigging allegations. Some of them are legitimate,” Zaidi, who is also a famous TV host, told Anadolu Agency.

The PTI, led by former cricket star Imran Khan, is all set to form the government for the next five years with the help of several smaller parties after it emerged as the single largest party in the last month’s elections by securing 116 out of 272 general seats of the lower house -- the National Assembly.

The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) of the jailed ex-premier Nawaz Sharif trailed in second with 64 seats, whereas the center-left Pakistan People’s party (PPP) and the MMA could grab 43 and 11 seats, respectively.

The opposition parties have already formed an eleven-party “Grand Opposition Alliance,” which has rejected the election results and vowed to continue their protests across the country, apart from demanding of the election commission officials to step down.

However, the election commission has rejected the opposition’s demand, calling the elections “free and fair.”

Not only the opposition parties but several international media outlets and observers -- such as European Union Observers Mission -- have found “irregularities” in pre- and post-election process, including non-provision of “level-playing field to all the participants”.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Ağustos 2018, 10:33