Pakistan poll results: In 1985, the entire Parliament was made up of independents, is Imran Khan going to repeat history in Pakistan?

Pakistan poll results: In 1985, the entire Parliament was made up of independents, is Imran Khan going to repeat history in Pakistan?

Pakistan’s general election results have surprised many people. He rejected predictions by political pundits of a two-way contest between Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Despite facing hurdles, an independent candidate backed by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is leading the race. PTI-backed candidates have won 92 out of 253 seats in the National Assembly. According to Dawn, Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N has got 71 seats, while PPP is at third place with 54 seats. The results of more than a dozen seats have not come yet. There is an atmosphere of uncertainty in Pakistan as no party is touching the majority mark of 133, paving the way for a coalition government. According to the Free and Fair Election Network, a non-profit election watchdog, about 100 of the winning candidates are independents, 92 of whom are supported by PTI, Reuters reported. This is not the first time that such a large number of independents have been elected to the Parliament of Pakistan. In 1985, non-party general elections were held in the country in which each contender contested the election in his or her individual capacity.

Will PTI-backed independents form the next government?

Khan claimed in an AI-generated speech that his affiliated candidates had secured a two-thirds majority and were winning more than 150 seats before the rigging began. PTI leader Barrister Gauhar Khan told the media that PTI had won 170 out of the 265 National Assembly seats where the elections were held. We confidently claim that at present, PTI has gained lead on 170 seats in the National Assembly. Gohar said that of these, there are 94 which are being accepted by ECP and Form-47 (provisional result) has been issued. He also said that Imran Khan will take a decision regarding the Prime Minister. He said the party is yet to decide on alliance partners.

A look at Pakistan’s non-party elections in 1985

Pakistan saw its second military coup on 5 July 1977 when General Zia-ul Haq launched a coup against then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of the Pakistan Peoples Party. While the military leader had vowed to the nation to hold general elections within 90 days, it was only in 1985 that General Zia fulfilled that promise. Elections were held in Pakistan but no political party was allowed to participate. For this, Zia amended the Constitution of 1973 and changed the governance of the country from parliamentary democracy to semi-presidential system. According to the Indian Express, he also gave himself the powers to overthrow the elected government through the 8th Amendment. Pakistan held elections on 25 February 1985 on a non-party basis. According to the Indian Express report, Zia believed that this would help build a popular support base for him and make it easier for him to control Parliament without political parties influencing the delegates. Some political parties allowed their leaders to contest as independent candidates. According to Dawn report, after the elections, some parties claimed victory in many seats because candidates supported by them had won. The report said that the 1985 elections saw the entry of new faces of landlords and business magnates into Parliament. Speaking to Dawn, journalist Wusatullah Khan said that during the time of General Ziaul Haq, the entire Parliament was made up of independents. These non-partisan elections were important for two reasons. One, Parliament was allowed to form political parties after the results, giving rise to a two-party parliamentary system. Pakistan’s political landscape flourished from 1985 onwards as the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League were able to accommodate large sections of the Pakistani electorate under their banners. Pakistan’s powerful military realized that it does not always need to carry out a coup to influence the political environment of the country. They seem to have come to the conclusion that ‘surveillance’ is better than domination.

What do critics say about the 1985 elections?

‘Partyless’ elections are highly criticized by observers. Senior journalist Tahir Mehdi told Dawn: The 1985 elections were elections that corrupted and damaged the entire electoral system of parliamentary democracy, parties, administration etc. Even today, this practice of independent candidates joining political parties after the elections… the root cause of this evil is that it happened in the 1985 elections. Dr. Hasan Zafar, in his analysis for The Friday Times, wrote that the political parties that arose after 1985 were “devoid of any democratic culture.” Those that existed earlier – PPP, PML, JI and ANP – also could not remain clean. Inter-party elections – it is well known – became a joke. Conversely, dynasties emerged within political parties, making their modus operandi more akin to family, if not political cliques. In the face of all this, democracy faltered and the economy began to collapse.

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