Sindh, PTI, Election 2018

The bitterly-contested 11th general elections of Pakistan resulted in the triumph of cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan, who is globally recognized as a World Cup winning captain for Pakistani cricket team and a philanthropist. This triumph of Imran Khan is considered as the culmination of his 22-year long struggle on chronic issues of corruption, lack of institutional empowerment, stranglehold of politics by powerful cohort of people and maladjustment in economic functioning.

Pakistan is blessed to have a youth bulge amounting to 64 per cent. Being a young country, it is supposed to have new ideas to resolve the socio-economic and political crises. A positive step in the right direction is evident in the current scenario as majority of young voters have hinged their hope on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Imran Khan for resolution of these multi-dimensional crises of Pakistan.

Anti-corruption efforts, a slogan for which PTI so vigorously electioneered upon, may cause friction between the center and the provincial government of Sindh.

As per the official result announced by the election commission of Pakistan, PTI led by Imran Khan is likely to form a coalition government in the center whilst also forming governments in three provinces of the country; Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), and Balochistan respectively. But this delicate composition of varied parties in formation of government will be a strenuous task for the PTI to hold up and cope with critical national challenges stretching from foreign affairs, border management, internal security, and energy crises, and stagnating economy.

PTI is going to form coalition Government with Mutahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) in center with 180 members. In the Province of Punjab, with electoral support of PML-Q, PTI is likely to form its government in the crucial province. The province of KPK elected PTI with a clear majority to govern the province once again, which is a sign of PTI’s positive performance during its previous five-year rule in the province. In the insurgency-fraught province of Balochistan, PTI may become a part of the coalition government with Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). Meanwhile, only in the province of Sindh will the PTI sit in the opposition benches and have its own leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly.

Dealing with Sindh will be an arduous political task for PTI owing to various political issues. In particular, with regards to the political setup that emerged in the aftermath of 18th amendment, setting delicate jurisdictions for the federal government role in provincial affairs will be a challenge. Anti-corruption efforts, a slogan for which PTI so vigorously electioneered upon, may cause friction between the center and the provincial government of Sindh.

Furthermore, there are also concerns of rolling back the 18th amendment which were voiced by the former Chairman of Senate Mian Raza Rabbani. PTI have to scrupulously trend the muddied waters in the province of Sindh. MQM and Grand Democratic Alliance (an alliance of nationalist parties of Sindh) will be with PTI in Sindh opposition. This composition of opposition, if handled properly, can take the provincial government of Sindh to the task, which will be once again led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). More so, Imran Khan and PTI recognize the fact that if the protracted issues of governance, economics, infrastructure and security of the cosmopolitan city of Karachi persist, then PTI may face the similar fate as the MQM did in 2018 elections.

Currently, MQM has the local government of the cosmopolitan with little-to-no powers to wield. The delegation of powers to local governments was one of the key point in the PTI’s manifesto for Karachi and this is where PTI and MQM can build a healthy relationship to work together for the betterment of the city and of the province. Furthermore, in correspondence with 18th amendment, the mayor of the city and federal government cannot appoint the chief of police and local magistrates. For an effective campaign of anti-corruption, eradicating terrorism and extremism, promoting an atmosphere for thriving of businesses and infrastructural development, the PTI with GDA and MQM need to work with PPP-led Sindh government. The pre-election rhetoric cannot overcome contemporary political realities manifested in the 18th amendment.

More so, Imran Khan and PTI recognize the fact that if the protracted issues of governance, economics, infrastructure and security of the cosmopolitan city of Karachi persist, then PTI may face the similar fate as the MQM did in 2018 elections.

For resolving this intra-provincial jurisdiction complexity, PTI can look towards reinstating the ‘Council of Common Interests (CCI)’ by holding its sessions every 90 days. This body was severely neglected by previous government to resolve the emergent intra-provincial issues politically. Particularly, for the prevention of any political conflagration with regards to the Sindh government, this body can be optimally utilized for the greater benefit of the province.

In conclusion, the next government of PTI will be very strong. This strong position of the incoming government in Centre and all provinces except Sindh may create a degree of arrogance in Imran Khan and his henchmen. This arrogance can be asserted as a bane for not only the PTI, but for the people of Sindh as well, especially for the Karachiites. Now, Karachi cannot bear any riot and more ignorance. It needs water, infrastructure, and institutions; and for the solution of these problems, a high degree of political maturity is a prerequisite. Only those who show this maturity and strive to solve the problems in limits mentioned by the Pakistani Constitution can survive in political arena of Sindh.

Bilal Ahmed

has done his Masters in Public Administration with Specialization in Human Rights, and Human Resource Management. His areas of interest are local politics, urban governance, human development, constitutional and administrative law, and human rights.

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