Pakistan poll results hinge on voter outcome, says expert
Washington: Noting that the results of the Pakistan elections hinges on the voter outcome, a noted Asia Society expert has said that a higher voter turnout more than 50 per cent would benefit Imran Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician. "First and foremost this weekend's elections in Pakistan will hinge on voter turnout, which has been threatened by the Taliban and some other extremist groups," said Senior Advisor, Asia Society, Hassan Abbas on Friday.
"I think about 45 to 50 per cent voter turnout is expected. If there's higher turnout, the new political parties, especially Imran Khan's party, will have a good chance," he said. Author of a forthcoming Asia Society report, looking at the implications of the May 2013 elections for the future of US-Pakistan relations as well as US policy options, Abbas teaches International Security Studies at National Defence University's College of International Security Affairs.
"Second, I think the important thing is whether these elections will bring new leadership for Pakistan. And by that I mean whether the old elite, which is feudal and linked to corruption, incompetence, and poor governance, is voted out of power. If those elements get back into the game then that will be a bad sign," he said.
"The third issue to look for is whether people are voting for personalities or agenda," he said, adding that by agenda he mean that some political parties have come out very clearly with new ideas in terms of focus and emphasis," Abbas said.
All three of these are linked to the fourth and very important point, which is whether the Pakistan security forces, including military and law enforcement will be out on the streets and at the polling booths providing a sense of security, he said. "Their success and failure will define the future of democracy in Pakistan in so many ways," he added.