Progressive Aspect of GE 2018: Pakistan Brutally Rejects Religious Parties

The elections 2018 results show that Pakistan has wholeheartedly rejected religious parties.

Apart from MMA, the new religious political parties have failed to gauge any significant and impressive electoral success.

Both apparently popular religious entities, TLP (Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan) lead by Khadim Rizvi and political front of Hafiz Saeed, Pakistani Islamist militant, MML (Milli Muslim League) failed to field candidates to all 14 National seats along with 30 Punjab Assembly seats in the provincial capital.

The five-party religious alliance, MMA (Muttahida Majlis Amal), which previously governed Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) from 2002 to 2007, also failed to cover all the constituencies.

Using Khatam e Nabuwwat issue and Mumtaz Qadri’s punishment for electioneering, the extreme-right political outfit TLP prior to elections successfully made their presence felt in NA 132 (Lahore-X), NA 125 (Lahore III) and NA 135 (Lahore XIII). However, the elections results rejected the previously built image as they failed to cast any major impression on PMLN’s vote bank.

Their presence was only restricted to banners but the absence of polling agents and polling camps told a story otherwise.

Back in 2016, during the by-polls against ailing Kulsoom Nawaz in NA 120, both TLP and MML ran significantly impactful campaigns and garnered 7000 & 5000 votes respectively. However, they miscalculated for the general elections.

Wishing to stay anonymous, TLP leader expressed his views to the local news source saying that the dynamics for general elections and by-polls are different and they have learnt it the hard way.

“In a by-poll, you may gather the whole country and amass all resources in a constituency but in the general vote all your workforce and resources are scattered throughout the country.”

Very few of the right-wing leaders were successful in impressing the public and gained a decent amount of votes. Among them is Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi, whose assets were unfrozen and his name was removed from the Fourth Schedule ahead of elections.  According to another news source, Ludhianvi got 45000 votes but lost.

Prior to elections, a general resentment was witnessed among the public for mainstream parties approaching terrorist outfits for support and direct participation of hardline Islamist groups. However, the nation has rejected them by their votes.

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