Election Or Selection? People Should Be Ultimate Arbiters Of Who Governs Pakistan

Politicians Bushra Gohar and Mohsin Dawar speak to Awaaz South Asia's Founder-Editor Jyoti Malhotra on the situation in Pakistan, including upcoming elections, the return of Nawaz Sharif and the issue of the Afghan refugees

Political 'selections' will only add to doubts over the electoral process in Pakistan. As a result, many political parties are already expressing their concerns over a lack of a level playing field. It is the people who should be the final arbiters at the ballot box in free, fair and transparent elections of who should govern Pakistan.

This was stated by politicians Bushra Gohar and National Democratic Party's (NDP) chief Mohsin Dawar as they spoke to Awaaz South Asia's Founder-Editor Jyoti Malhotra in the latest edition of South Asia Matters.

Gohar, who has been associated with the Awami National Party (ANP), expressed doubts over the upcoming elections, noting that elections in Pakistan are a kind of manipulation where there are selections rather than free and fair elections.

As a result, many parties are already expressing their concerns over the lack of a level playing field as they fear a repeat of the controlled elections of 2018.

"If we can have free, fair, above-board elections, nothing like it. But I don't really see us going that way," she said, adding that they even met with the Election Commission of Pakistan and expressed their concerns. Still, at the same time, they continue to prepare for elections.

With Nawaz Sharif returning, Gohar said that she feels Nawaz has a stake in Pakistani politics. 

How he was removed from power and kept out of politics for four years raised many questions about how politics is done in the country. But people understand why he was removed and why he has been brought back.

Gohar added that it was time for politicians to assert themselves and contest elections where the people choose who rules them, and all must respect the will of the people; she added that while she was against the way Imran Khan was brought in, she is also against how he is being treated now.

Dawar noted that Imran failed terribly in his three years in power. While he was removed democratically, Shehbaz Sharif, who succeeded him, also failed in governance. At the same time, he faced the impossible task of fixing the economy and other issues in a very short time.

Pakistan-India ties 

Dawar, who was the chairperson of the foreign affairs committee of the National Assembly, said there was consensus amongst all the members that relations with India should be restored.

Watch the full episode below: