Election results, and in fact the entire procedure itself, was rejected by an All Party Conference (APC) on Friday. The leader of far-right party Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Maulana Fazlur Rehman in his speech has declared that they will protest against the unfairness of the election. What makes his claim significant is that it is backed up by the influential PML-N chief, Shehbaz Sharif, who was standing by Fazlur Rehman’s side throughout his monologue.
This conference was headed by PML-N and MMA. Other major parties such as the PPP and MQM were not present – though MQM representative Dr. Farooq Sattar did attend in an unofficial capacity.
The reason almost all parties other than the PTI contested election results but failed to show up at the APC could be due to the involvement of MMA, a party that was known to have sketchy affiliations.
In the speech Imran Khan delivered on Thursday, he had said that he was willing to open investigations in whichever constituency the opposition demanded should be reviewed. Fazlur Rehman addressed this at the APC, saying: “We are not talking about any particular constituency. We want to declare the entire election null and void.”
However, the APC is not yet fully decided on the stance it will take. Although it has been agreed upon that the election results will be protested against, no definitive answer was reached as to whether PML-N and MMA would band together to try to push through an oath-taking boycott for the new assemblies as well.
The fact is, this alliance may be able to achieve some of its goals but a major loophole is the lack of support for Maulana Fazlur Rehman in particular:
The public does not appreciate what it perceives to be high-handed tactics being played out by the Maulana in order to make a space for itself amongst the new political climate. Furthermore, prominent parties such as the MQM have withheld their support from the APC and its objectives, highlighting the fact that self-interest will always win out.
And currently, for most, self-interest lies in carving a name for themselves in winning party PTI’s good books.
How these ‘protests’ will pan out, what direction they will take, how the PML-N will assert itself and what it hopes to gain from an alliance with the MMA – these are all questions that can only be answered as events assume their natural course. However, the stance of the APC remains clear, defined, and drastic; Fazlur Rehman confirms that plans for conducting a re-election movement will soon be put into motion:
A committee has been formed to make preparations for the movement.