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> The End of Left Right Alignment in Pakistani Politics in the Upcoming Critical Election 2013

May 06, 2013

Download Paper [PDF]

May 06; PILDAT has released a paper that argues that the left right alignment birthed in Pakistan's first ‘Critical Election in 1970’ is likely to see its demise forty years later in the nation's second Critical Election in 2013.


The paper also analyses WHY IS THE CAMPAIGN SO PUNJAB FOCUSED and WHAT LIES BEHIND NAWAZ-IMRAN RIVALRY which appears to be the heart of the campaign leading up to the General Election on May 11, 2013.


The First 10 General Elections of Pakistan – A Story of Pakistan’s Transition from Democracy Above Rule of Law to Democracy Under Rule of Law: 1970-2013 has been co-authored for PILDAT by Dr. Hasan-Askari Rizvi and Dr. Ijaz Shafi Gilani, renowned political scientists of Pakistan.


In 2013, voters will re-align their loyalties to make it a ‘Critical Election’ in the terminology of electoral studies, analyses the paper.

The paper traces the electoral history of 9 General Elections of Pakistan culminating to Pakistan’s upcoming 10th National Election in May 2013: The first under rule of law.

The story of Pakistan’s ten elections began in 1970. It will meet another watershed when the 10th election is held on May 11, 2013. It is also a story spanning forty years of this nation’s society and state.


The profile of Pakistan’s economy and society has been changing over the period of its ten elections. Alongside, state structures, both civilian and military, have also been changing. In many ways political players playing out the 2013 election are a product of interaction between evolving social conditions and state structures.

This paper looks at the triangular relationship between social changes, political players and state institutions. The three are never in complete step with each other, perhaps they can never be. And that is the subject of Political drama. The level of harmony and disharmony in their ability to be in step with each other explains the drama of politics and the elections which are one of its key characters.


The story of our elections is very stormy and full of turbulence. When our first election was held in 1970, Pakistani society had outgrown the available political structures. Thus when 1970 election was held, the country was torn apart both geographically and socially.

Pakistan’s second national election facilitated a back-lash from the institutions of the State. Election outcome culminated in the transfer of power, not from one civilian to another, but from civilians to the military.


The subsequent seven elections in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 45%2 and 45%8 have been narrated in this paper as a story which blends changes in the socio-economic profile of voting public with the changing policies of ‘over-lordship’ and ‘oversight’ by the institutions of the State.


The paper looks at each of the nine elections, wherein elections and democracy operated above rule of law, and argues that it has eventually led to the 10th election which we see to be Pakistan’s First Election Under Rule of Law. The story narrated in both parts of this paper is a story of transition from flawed to what we hope it would be, a fair and fruitful democracy. The first part focuses on historical account, the second on electoral data and its critical appreciation and interpretation.


The complete paper is available at PILDATs website – its printed copy can be obtained from PILDAT offices in Lahore and Islamabad.