The judgment period, or election time, is going to make for some of Pakistan’s most significant headlines in 2018. The upcoming election will be another test for the Pakistani public. We have not yet completed a full term of a government since Pakistan’s birth as a nation. This election will test us on what we have learned from our past. With Nawaz Sharif now impeached, it is imperative to choose the next leader with previous mistakes in mind, so that they can be avoided.
Below are prediction scenarios for each of the provinces that will impact Pakistan on the national level, post-election.
After the Karachi-targeted action plan, the MQM-dominated areas of Sindh will have been totally decimated. MQM’s decline will push PPP to attempt to reconnect with the voter base. Under the current leadership of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the PPP have seen very little success nationwide. This means they are unlikely to push into other provinces.
Due to recent economic and infrastructure development, Balochistan’s electoral patterns are a little tricky to predict. The initiation of CPEC brought a lot of development for local businesses and communities. Property rates in Balochistan rose in cities like Gwadar due to CPEC development. From a total investment of 47 billion USD, only 7 billion USD is being spent on development of the province. The 7 billion USD addresses water treatment, hospital upgrades, rail connections to major cities, and potential job opportunities for mineral mining. Therefore, CPEC might help PMLN’s re-election
PTI worked hard in the services sector. They instituted educational reforms, strengthened police, and improved healthcare. PTI see infrastructure as less pressing than PMLN does. In Pakistan, people vote based on visible infrastructure improvements, particularly transport networks. However, PTI realizes that focusing on services development will help in the long term, but will not help them win the 2018 elections. This realization led to the infrastructural development in KPK, like the metro bus and road connectivity. Perhaps, these efforts will assist PTI in getting re-elected.
Historically, Punjab has been and will remain the major player in the election. The only hope for opposing parties PTI and PPP is that Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification would deter voters from supporting PMLN. Without Nawaz, PMLN has a weakness. Opposing parties will likely take advantage of that.
This time around, the elections will not be as clear-cut as they have been in the past. While PMLN might still have the upper-hand, there are more factors that will impact the outcome of the voting process. There has been an increase in right-wing independent parties. Major competitor, PTI formed a significant alliance with JI. All this would effect PMLN’s chances for a clear victory, and they just might have to form a coalition government, which won’t be good for anyone!