Saturday, June 9, 2012

9 Predictions till next election — Part I

1. Pakistani Rupee (PKR) will further devalue
The rupee will further decline against dollar due to two reasons. The first is Hajj, and the second is elections. 

In the Hajj season many pilgrims carry US$ instead of Pak rupee. An excessive purchase of US$ will decrease its supply in the open market creating a shortage of dollar. This will automatically increase the price tag for the US$, hence further devaluing Pakistani rupee.

Election rallies are going to start from November 2012. Political parties in power will illegally waste the treasury money on their political procession. The government will need a massive amount of money to fulfil such a task. This massive amount of money will come from printing out new notes, hence increasing inflation. This increase in inflation will increase the amount of PKR in the market, further devaluing the currency.

2. Election will not take place this year.
Elections will take place in the first half of 2013. Two basic reasons are Army's mood and the electoral rolls.

The army is in no mood to bring in a martial law in Pakistan. It is fighting a massive war in Waziristan area against terrorism. Its involvement in national politics will bring it bad name, and the will to fight a war will wane. 

Dismantling the democratic setup will open a Pandora's Box in Pakistan. Relationship with United State are at a historic low, the economic growth rate is embarrassing, and terrorism is out of control and sporadic. A martial law would be the last ingredient in this soup of instability.

The electoral roll is the second reason for elections to take place on 2013. These rolls will be completed till the end of October 2012. The process of jotting done all legal voters is difficult and tardy, especially in the flood affected areas of Sindh, and war affected areas of FATA. This makes the process extremely difficult to accomplish. Without a proper electoral count, elections 2013 will be of a theatre show with the same characters.

3. No major change expected in Sindhi constituencies.
Urban and rural Sindh will not face any major constituency change. MQM will remain in power in Karachi, Hyderabad, and parts of Sukkur, while PPP will win in its traditional bastions of power. 

The only spectre haunting PPP is the untied front of all nationalists party combined with PML(N). This spectre might hurt PPP in the banks of Dadu, Nashero Feroz, Khangarh, Khairpur, Thatta and Sangher. An analyst writes:
"The Jatois have a sizable political support and vote bank in Dadu and Naushehro Feroze districts. The Mahars of Khangarh, one of upper Sindh’s most powerful families and considered close to the military establishment, are going to be either in the PML-N or any anti-PPP alliance in Sindh. On the other side of river Indus, Khairpur and Sanghar districts have been witness to a resurgence of Pir Pagaro’s Functional Muslim League. Most analysts say they wouldn’t be surprised to see anti-PPP candidates making big gains in these districts. Thatta district is being ruled by the Shirazis for quite some time now. It is safe to believe that they will be more than happy to be part of any anti-PPP coalition in the province."
This alliance will be a force to reckon with. PPP has to buy in all feudal lords for any political gain. Secondly, PPP must play its traditional 'Sindh card', and win the hearts of the common nationalist Sindhis. One such card can be the abrogation of the Zulfikarabad project — a new city which president Zardari envisaged between Karachi and Hyderabad. 

Apart from this, The Benazir Income Support Program (BINP) will create an additional vote bank for the ruling party. BINP requires every women, who is a part of this program, to have a national identity card (NIC). A NIC allows her to be a part of the electoral list. This new voter will only vote for PPP, as the Benazir welfare fund is her only lifeline for economic survival. 

Meanwhile, MQM won't face any big political challenge in urban centres. MQM's classic rival ANP (a nationalist Pakhtoon party) will balance out the affects of PTI (Imran's party) as both of them attract the 35 million Pakhtoon vote bank in Karachi. Furthermore, the moderate and extremist right-winger also attract Pashtoon votes. Resurgence of Islamist vote will furthermore wane out ANP's vote bank. 

MQM's vote bank in Hyderabad and Sukkur will be a fine ethnic balance with PPP. The JUI(Fazal) might try to attract voters on the name of God, but there are many other parties which will do the same, hence diluting the right-winger vote banks.

4. All PMLs will combine to give a tough fight to PPP.
It is easy to buy and sell allegiances in Pakistan. People sell themselves for a pity amount of money or ministerial posts. This is because we are an ideologically bankrupt society. A nationalist (like Mumtaz Bhutto) merges his party into PML(N) (a party which believes in Pakistan). People from PML(F) go to PPP, while socialists jump into right-wing parties and vice versa.

Considering this, a merger of all Pakistani Muslim Leagues (Functional , Nawaz ,Quid-e-Azam, Awami, Like minded, Zia, All Pakistan) is not out of question. They will join together to counter the merging threat of PTI in Northern Punjab and PPP's threat in south Punjab. 

Most of these PMLs are centre to right parties. They don't explicitly denounce Taliban and other Islamic extremists groups. A combined PML will be the undefeated champion of central Punjab which is the bastion of extremism in Pakistan.

A combined PML will effectively mobilize in KPK province. It is easier to get a vote in a non-Punjabi area if the Pashtoon himself is supporting a federal party. If PML(N) goes into KPK on its own, it might face defeat due to two reasons. Firstly, it failed to satisfy the people of Hazara at the time when N.W.F.P was being renamed to Kyber Pakhtoon Khaw (KPK). This is a major political loophole that the rival parties will exploit to its maximum in the upcoming elections. Secondly, a lonely PML(N) has an implict Punjabi character which makes it similar to the ruling establishment. Merging all PMLs will help in diminishing this opinion.

5. Balochistan will remain out of control
No major progress will be made on the Balochistan issue. The rising anti-Pakistan middle class will forcefully demand secession from Pakistan. The state has failed to comply with the needs of the common Baloch.

From 1970 till now, the Balochistan national assembly has moved 704 resolutions on different topic pertaining to the federation. Unfortunately, the federation hasn't paid heed to a single resolution whatsoever. 

Historically speaking, the region of Kharan, Makran, Lasbella, Averaan, Jhala vaan, and Sara vaan were controlled by the Khan of Kalaat. Jinnah asked him to be a part of Pakistan, which he accepted on the condition that defence, foreign policy, currency, and postal service will remain in the hands of the Khans. Jinnah accepted his proposal of power distribution. Unfortunately, due to the so-called 'Ideology of Pakistan' it was considered treachery to give such power to the province. Henceforth, the agreement between the Khan of Kalat and Jinnah was ruthlessly abolished. Thereafter, the Baloch people have resisted the idea of any singular nation-state, in which the single largest province controls everything. The killing of Akhbar Bughti was the last thing required to agitate to the common Balochis. The military establishment and Punjab laden federation is equally responsible for this mess. 

The killing of common Balochis will not halt, neither the ethnic killing of Punjabis and Hazarras. The situation is expected to deteriorate if the Western world harkens to the Baloch freedom call. At a time when PAK-US relationship is at a historic ebb, the situation needs an excellent control strategy. 

6. Pakistan United States relationship will remain in abeyance
The chances for improvement in Pakistan and United States relationship are low.

The NATO supply route hasn't opened yet. This  is a severe economic detriment for the United State, as it is causing trouble in the mobilization of army back and forth into Afghanistan. 

The trust deficit will take a long time to fill up. OBL's presence in the heartland of Abbotabad is incomprehensibly by the United States. Such a high-value target was hiding in Pakistan, while the world was busy searching him. 

Clues from US tell that even other high-value targets are also hiding in Pakistan. US defence minister remarked:
"Washington is running out of patience with Pakistan over alleged safe havens for Taliban militants.... It is very important for Pakistan to take steps. It is an increasing concern, the issue of safe haven... we have every responsibility to defend ourselves and... we've got to put pressure on Pakistan to take them on as well."
Pakistan's foreign office rejects the aforementioned statement, again showing the trust-deficit between the  two partners. Pakistan's alleged support to terrorists will only deteriorate the conditions. There are no signs for an immediate recovery.

Link to part 2 >>

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