Articles International Politics Politics

Intro to Third-World Democracy

Jalil Javed-

Constitutionally, Pakistan is a Democratic Parliamentary Republic. Ever since Z.A Bhutto passes the constitution of 1973 where Pakistan Started its transition into a Liberal democracy. However, that transition has been hampered in previous years due to a series of coups. The latest of which took place in 1999.

After that, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan remained under a dictatorship until 2008, when general elections were finally announced. The country was in a state of ecstasy as Benazir Bhutto, the daughter of the aforementioned Z.A Bhutto, who was also the first woman to become the Head of State of an Islamic nation and was by far the most progressive leader of the country, returned home. She was the Prime Minister of Pakistan until the military coup of 1995.

Nawaz-Sharif

Nawaz Sharif was Disqualified on 28th July 2017 after being found guilty of corruption

Her return to the nation would also lead to her doom, as she was assassinated on the 27th of December. Benazir left a deeply polarizing legacy: her career has been celebrated as a triumph for women in the Muslim world and for the global fight against Islamic extremism. However, in the elections that followed, her party won with a Majority and her Husband became the President of Pakistan in 2008. He is most often known for being the man who turned Pakistan People’s Party (The Party of his wife Bhutto) from a Liberal Socialist Party into a cesspool of Neo Liberalism.

PAKISTAN-BHUTTO
Headshot of Pakistani People’s Party leader (PPP), Benazir Bhutto, taken during a press conference, 07 November 1985, at Carlton’s Hotel in Cannes. Born in 1953 in Karachi and eldest daughter of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, she studied at Harvard University. In 1979 her father is hanged and she becomes leader of Pakistan People’s Party. Benazir Bhutto spends seven years in exile or under house arrest. In 1986 Bhutto returns to Pakistan and on April 1987 becomes Prime Minister of Pakistan. On December 2, 1988 Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islamic State. She was re-elected in 1993 but was dismissed three years later accused of corruption scandals concerning contracts awarded to Swiss companies during her regime. In 1996 Bhutto removed from government and lived in exile in UK. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, spent eight years in jail until he was released in November 2004.
Benazir Bhutto was the first Female Prime Minister in the Muslim world

Nonetheless, her husband’s term was the first government in the history of Pakistan to complete their five-year tenure. Afterwards, the election of 2013 saw the rise of a new player in the politics of Pakistan. I.e. Imran Khan and the PTI. The party took the country by storm in 2013 when they won the second most votes in the country. the party that won the Election was Pakistan Muslim League(N), who are the countries center right party.

The elections did come with their controversy though, as Imran Khan accused PML of tampering the election’s and the governments darkest moment came in August 2013, when Imran Khan led a Long March against government injustice which helped sky rocket his popularity even more.

In 2016, the Imran Khan hit a gold mine when the Panama Paper leaks led to the Prime Minister of the country being exposed as having many offshore accounts. And Imran Khan’s 3-year long struggle bore its fruit when on July 28th, when Nawaz Sharif was charged with several counts of corruption which led to the Supreme Court disqualifying him for Life. This is a bigger deal than we think. As this is the first time in the History of the country when an independent judiciary has been able to oust the Leader of a party who is also the Chief Executive of the country. Although the last Prime Minister of the country (Yusuf Raza Gillani) was also disqualified, that didn’t make a difference of such magnitude as this verdict also find 3 of the other members of his family with major roles in the party as well as other major Ministers.

Moving on, looking to the future, the country will hold general elections in June 2018. The three main contenders in the election will be Pakistan People’s Party (Which is currently lead by Bilawal Bhutto the son of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto) The Peoples Party is historically known for their Democratic Socialist policies being the main Left Wing party in the country. The other contender is obviously the current ruling party of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif who will not be able to run in the election. Still, his party hold’s a majority of seats in Parliament as well as having major strongholds where they have won seats for decades. Finally, there is the party of Imran Khan, who is without a doubt the most popular politician in the country. His party made major strides in the last election winning the second popular vote as well as winning a majority in KPK, the north western province of Pakistan.

Considering the turmoil, it is too early to make predictions. But the most probable predictions could be made by this year’s end as by then we will have a better idea of where each party stands in terms of the coming election.

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