People have cast
votes with freedom
despite security
challenges; says Kakar


ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has said that the voters in the currently held general elections exercised their constitutional rights, and by and large, they voted for their favourite candidates with freedom despite security challenges.

“It is the beauty of a vibrant democracy, and in Pakistan, it is a transformational democracy, also a brave democracy, considering the security challenges,” he opined during an interview with the Turkish broadcaster TRT.

To a question, he said that the next parliament would decide to hand over the power to that party who would meet the required magical number to form the new government. The prime minister said that their responsibility as a caretaker government was to ensure security, and ahead of the elections, two terrorist incidents in Balochistan province occurred, which reminded the people of the real-time threat. The government always had more responsibility when it came to security, he added.

Responding to a question about the suspension of the mobile services, he said that to face the security challenge, they had to block the communication channels; otherwise, they did not have any political motive whatsoever.

Elaborating his viewpoint, he said that considering that the terrorists would confine themselves to these two provinces would be a fallacy, there might be other potential attacks in other provinces. He said they did their best to secure them. It was only mobile services that were suspended while the internet service was available.

He did not think that this suspension had hindered the huge democratic exercise. The results showed that it was, by and large, a free and fair exercise. The caretaker prime minister said that even though people went out and peacefully exercised their right to vote, for the time being, he didn’t have figures as to how many people had voted.

Probably it would have been a record, which meant that everyone was allowed and their votes were counted. So else was democracy, he added.

Two provinces were badly hit by terrorist attacks, and if it was kept in mind, people came out and bravely voted for their candidates, which was not usual but rather quite unusual, he opined. He said, “The people of Pakistan are quite brave; they came out and voted.”

To a query regarding change in previous governments, he said there were perceptions and realities, and in the last two decades, the change in governments, like in post-2002, happened on the floor of the parliament.

The vote of no confidence against the previous PTI’s government was passed on the floor of the house with 179 votes, he added. “So how can anyone call it an undemocratic exercise and intervention from outside forces?” he said, adding that even when Imran Khan was elected, people called it a product of a so-called selection process.

But the reality was that he (Imran Khan) was elected with the support of 179 members of parliament, he added. The prime minister said that the people were unfair in their criticism of Pakistan’s political system. “Political parties and the parliament are the biggest stakeholders in this whole exercise of statecraft arrangements,” he asserted.

About the issue of PTI’s election symbol, he said it was subjected to a judicial process and related more to the structure of a political party. Prime Minister Kakar said that it was about the democratic exercise and how political parties were governed by the laws of the land.

And in the largest interest of democracy, he saw it in a quite sanguine way, which had set a precedent for all the political parties to go through that process, and in the future, people would be appreciative of this judicial decision, he added. He further said the working and performing democracy in Pakistan would grow and evolve.

The prime minister, to another question, said Pakistan had a transitional and evolving democracy, and it had had three direct military interventions in the past, and no one could deny it.

When there was a transition of power to the civilian government, there had always been pull and push, he said, adding that in his view, they should keep the larger interests of the population in mind while negotiating this power framework structure. One was the reference to the constitution, and the other were the existing pragmatic exercises.

He said so; the ideal was constitutionalism and pragmatic arrangements between institutions. So, you had to evolve from that idealism, but if you leap, jump, and confront the whole structure, the social chaos becomes the risk factor and jeopardy in itself.

The caretaker prime minister also expressed his best wishes and prayed for the political and economic stability of the people of Pakistan. He said that he anticipated a coalition government, but it was up to the political parties to negotiate.