Who are Electables?
The term “electable” emerges in Pakistani political culture, especially when national elections approach. Electable refers to election candidates who have the ability to win parliamentary seats in their respective constituencies. In other terms, “electable” politicians have enough or significant clout, based on their social standing, to win parliamentary elections in specific constituencies. Major political parties minimize the significance of the party and undermine the whole concept of ideology in politics by embracing the electable culture (Khan D. R., 2018)
Electable – individuals or families with personal clout in a community and a sizable vote bank who are unaffiliated with any political party – is a clichéd term in current Pakistani politics and a topic of popular debate before every general election. In fact, dynastic dominance and the ever-growing power of electables continue to dominate the political landscape of the country. Few families sit at the top of most prominent political parties’ hierarchies, banking their fortunes on their ‘electable’ authority.
The results of elections reveal that regardless of whatever political party these voters decided to run for office, their personal and family backgrounds made it easier for them to get access to power.
The term “electable” is a modern coinage, the phenomenon when the British relied on the rural elite’s mediation to create effective authority. The electables have a long history dating back to the colonial era when selected persons were awarded enormous swaths of agricultural land, stipends, and titles in exchange for their loyalty to the British Raj. The British also built the zaildari and numberdari systems, which gave this class an arbitrary advantage in local politics in rural areas (Zafar, 2021).
Loyal Mohammadans was a term given to several notables in Muslim communities. They acted as go-betweens between the state and the subjects and as unofficial magistrates in their respective areas. A large number of feudals who had been contesting from the Unionist Party, a political group composed of Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh individuals from the aristocracy, joined the Muslim League during the final phase of the Pakistan movement when prospects for the creation of a new country appeared to be brighter (Ghauri & Malik, 2018).
One of Allama Iqbal’s letters to the Quaid-e-Azam warning him that allowing such large numbers of feudals to join the Muslim League could turn it into the “Zameendara League,” is on record. Soon after Liaqat Ali Khan’s assassination, history witnessed a bitter battle between Doltana and Mamdot, two powerful feudal lords vying for control of the Muslim League.
Effects on Political System
Unlike developed parliamentary democracies such as England, the parliament and its sovereignty often remain weak in Pakistan due to the presence of politicians who always seek power and personal interests rather than public interests. Politicians work to undermine parliamentary democracy in a variety of ways. One, they could not be trusted since they shifted from one political party to the next, eroding the popular support needed for a sovereign parliament.
Similarly, the PPP had to rely on coalition partners in 2008. In 2013, Nawaz failed to earn a decisive majority for the second time. Prime ministers were removed from power in both of these situations by the courts. It would not have been conceivable if the PPP and PMLN had a clear majority and widespread support in the legislature. PTI, too, had to rely on a coalition partner in 2018.
Other political groups and candidates are weakened by electables who have ties to the establishment. The MQM was created in Sindh to undercut the PPP’s foundation. Tehreek-e-Labbaik, led by Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a religious far-right preacher, was created to erode the PML-N’s support base in Punjab (Khan, Kashif, & Rahman, 2020).
The term “elite” is neutral and refers to anyone who ranks highly in terms of social values, political clout, material wealth, or intellectual capacity. The unequal distribution of resources, leadership abilities, and authority is what the elite theory of political power is all about. This theory aims to describe power dynamics as they exist in the present day. Frequently, dialogues between elites and common people can be used to study negotiations between marginalized groups and the nation.
Names of Electables and their Constituencies
Omer Ayub Khan, NA 17 Haripur
Haripur Constituency 17 is represented by Omer Ayub Khan. He was elected on the PMLQ ticket in 2002. He was unable to succeed in 2008 and hence joined PMLN in 2012. He moved parties again in 2015, joining the PTI. He served as a minister for the PMLN before joining the PTI as a minister.
Noor Ul Haq Qadri, NA 43 Khaiber Agency
Noor Ul Haq Qadri was elected as an independent candidate in 2002. He served in Musharraf’s cabinet as a minister. In 2008, he won the election on a PPP ticket for the second time. He also served in the PPP government as a minister. In 2013, he was defeated in the election. In 2017, he joined the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI), where he won another election and served as a minister.
Noor Alam Khan, NA 03
Noor Alam Khan was elected to the National Assembly on a PPP ticket in 2008. He lost the election in 2013 and was unable to enter the national legislature. He was re-elected and became a minister in the PTI government.
Major (R) Tahir Sadiq, NA 55 Attock
Major (R) Tahir Sadiq was a provincial assembly member on the PMLN ticket PP 12. In 2017, he joined PTI and was elected as a member of the National Assembly. He is a relative of Ch. Parvaiz Ilahi.
Sardar Zulfiqar Khan Dulha, NA 64 Chakwal
He was elected on the PMLN ticket on PP 22 in the 2013 election. In 2018, he ran for the PMLN as a candidate. However, he quit the PMLN and joined the PTI. On the PTI ticket, he won the election and was elected to the National Assembly.
Amir Sultan Cheema, NA 91 Sarghoda
In 2013, Amir Sultan Cheema was in the PMLQ. He was a member of the provincial assembly. In 2018, he became a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and won the election. He’s a distant cousin of Ch. Parvaiz Ilahi.
Sahibzada Muhammad Ameer Sultan, NA 116 Jhang
Muhammad Ameer Sultan is the son of the landlord, Sahibzada Nazir Sultan. On May 18, 2018, he joined the PTI. His father, Nazir, was a National Assembly member in the 2013 elections. His father won the election as an independent candidate and joined the PMLN. However, in 2018, he switched parties and joined the PTI.
Makhdom Khusro Bakhtiyar, NA 177 Rahim Yar Khan
Makhdom Khusro Bakhtiyar became a member of the PMLN in 2013. In 2018, he left PMLN and joined PTI. He spoke up for the Saraiki province and rallied the other PMLN members from lower Punjab. His group grew to around 8,10 members before merging with PTI. He was a member of the PTI government as a minister. The same group included Khusro Bakhtiar, Basit Bukhari, Tahir Bashir Cheema, and Rana Qasim. He is a businessman as well as a landlord.
Sardar Muhammad Laghari, NA 192 Dera Ghazi Khan
Sardar Muhammad Laghari is the son of Sardar Maqsood Laghari. He is a landlord. His father was a famous politician. He was in PMLQ. In 2018, he joined PTI. He won the election on a PTI ticket from NA 192.
Jaffar Khan Laghari, NA 193 Rajan Pur
Jaffar Khan Laghari is a well-known Pakistani politician. He goes to a lot of different parties. He was elected on the PMLN ticket in 2013. He joined the PTI on May 18, 2013. He belonged to the Saraiki Provence group as well. In 2022, he was also a deviating member in a motion of no confidence against Imran Khan.
Nasrullah Khan Dreshak, NA 194 Rajan Pur
In 2013, Nasrullah Khan Dreshak won an independent election. In 2018, he became a member of PTI. On a PTI ticket, he is a member of the national legislature.
Amir Liaqat Hussain, NA 245 Karachi
Amir Liaqat Hussain works for the establishment as a tout. In 2002, he was elected to Musharraf’s administration on a MQM ticket. He joined PTI in 2018. In 2018, he was elected to the National Assembly as a representative from Karachi. In the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan, he was a deviant member.
Saleh Muhammad Khan, NA 13 Mansehra
On a PMLN ticket, Saleh was elected to the provincial legislature in 2013. In the 2018 election, he ran as a non-partisan candidate. On July 27, 2018, he joined PTI.
Muhammad Sana Ullah Khan Masti Khail, NA 97 Bhakar
In 2008, Sana Ullah Khan was a PMLQ member. He became a PLMN member in 2013. He left the PMLN in 2018 to join the PTI. In the 2018 elections, he was elected as an independent. He joined hands with the PTI after winning the election and became a member of the PTI government.
Raza Hayat Hiraj, NA 150 Khanewal
Raza Hayat Hiraj was a member of the National Assembly in 2008 on a PMLQ ticket. In 2013, he was elected as an independent candidate and won the election. Following his victory, he joined the PMLN government.
Syed Fakhar Imam, NA 150 Khanewal
Syed Fakhar was an independent candidate before joining the PTI in 2018. He was a minister in the PTI government.
Muhammad Asim Nazir, NA 101 Faislabad
In 2008, Muhammad Asim Nadir was elected to the National Assembly on the PMLQ ticket. In 2013, he joined the PMLN and won the election for the second time. He switches parties again, joining the PTI. From 2002 through 2018, he won every election he ran for.
Muhammad Shabir Ali, NA 181 Muzafargarh
During the 2018 elections, Muhammad Shabir Ali ran as an independent. He joined the PTI after his election victory in 2018.
Muhammad Amjad Farooq Khan Khosa, NA 190 Dera Ghazi Khan
Amjad Farooq Khosa is a businessman as well as a landlord. On a provincial assembly ticket, he was elected numerous times. He was elected to the national legislature in 2013 on a PMLN platform. In 2018, he moved parties again and joined the PTI, where he was elected as a national association member on a PTI ticket.
Ghulam BiBi Bharwana, NA 115 Jhang
A well-known politician is Ghulam BiBi Bharwana. She was successful on a PMLQ ticket from 2002 to 2008. She joined the PMLN in 2013 and won the election once more. She, too, jumps from one party to the next. She belonged to PMLQ, PMLN, and PTI. In the 2018 elections, she was re-elected on a PTI ticket.
Ch Tahir Iqbal, NA 164 Vehari
In 2008, Ch Tahir Iqbal was in PMLQ and was elected as a member of the assembly. In 2013, he participated in an election as an independent candidate and was successful. After winning the elections, he joined the PMLN. On November 27, 2017, he parted ways with the PMLN and joined the PTI.
Amir Talal Gopang, NA 186 Muzafargarh
In 2002, Amir Talal Gopang was a member of the PPP. In 2008, he left the PPP to join the PMLQ and was elected as an assembly member. In 2013, he was elected as an independent candidate and won the election. He joined the PMLN in 2013. In 2018, he joined the PTI and was elected as a National Assembly member.
Khawja Sheraz Mehmood, NA 189 Dera Ghazi Khan
Khawja Sheraz Mehmood was a member of the PMLQ in 2008. He quit the PMLQ in 2013 to join the PPP but was unsuccessful. He joined the PTI in 2018 and was elected to the national parliament.
Dr. Muhammad Afzal Khan, NA 98 Bhakar
Dr. Muhammad Afzal was elected as a member of the PMLN in 2002 and 2008, but in 2013, he fought for election as an independent candidate and rejoined the PMLN. In 2018, he joined PTI and was elected as a member of the National Assembly.
Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani NA
In the 2013 Pakistani general elections, Vankwani was elected as a candidate of the PML-N to the National Assembly of Pakistan on a reserved seat for minorities. Vankwani was elected chairman of the Standing Committee for Statistics of the National Assembly in January 2018. He left PMLN and joined the PTI in April 2018. In the general elections of 2018, he was re-elected to the National Assembly as a PTI candidate on a minority-reserved seat. In the vote of no confidence, he defied his party’s policies.
Makhdom Ahmad Alam Anwar, NA 175 Rahim Yar Khan
Anwar had a PMLQ ticket in 2018 and before he was a member of PMLN in 2013. However, his son Makhdom Mobeen Alam was elected to the National Assembly on a PTI platform in 2018.
Makhdom Ahmad Mehmood, Rahim Yar Khan
Makhdom Mahmood was a well-known Pakistani politician. In 2008, he was a PMLF ticket holder. He became a member of PPP in 2013. In 2013, he was named Governor of Punjab by the PPP. In 2018, his son was elected to the Assembly on a PPP platform.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, NA 156 Multan
Shah Mehmood Qureshi was a member of the PPP in 2008. He was nominated as a foreign minister by the PPP government in 2008. He then joined PTI after leaving PPP. In 2013, he was elected as a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) coalition. In 2018, he was re-appointed to the PTI administration as a foreign minister.
Firdos Ashiq Awan
In 2004, Firdos Ashiq Awan was a PMLQ member. She enlisted in the PPP in 2008. In 2018, she became a part of PTI.
The research on the role of electables in Pakistani politics is very important and of great significance. I chose a few electables that played a role in every government. I conducted the interviews without mentioning the politicians’ identities because the current circumstances were unfavorable to them. So I prepared a list of planned questions related to my research problem. Seven questions were asked to the five most popular electables who have a history of changing political parties and successive victories.
Questions of the interviews
|1||Why do you always want to stay in power?|
|2||What is your understanding of the electoral system of Pakistan?|
|3||What does politics mean to you?|
|4||Your political history shows that you have switched parties in every election, what are the reasons behind this move?|
|5||What are the positive and negative effects of switching parties in elections?|
|6||What is your political ideology?|
|7||Why you always want to stay in power?|
Every political electable was well aware of Pakistan’s political and electoral systems as well as the importance of a constituency. They all believe that democracy in Pakistan is not as stable or responsive as in other developed countries. They acknowledged the problem that the Pakistani political system differs from all other systems in operation around the world, and they agreed that there is a need to raise awareness about the true soul of democracy in Pakistan (Alam, 2022).
In response to the first question, I noticed that they were all aware of the system’s flaws but did not provide a permanent solution. I also noticed that the majority of the electables did not believe in their own party’s ability to bring democracy to its true form. Whatever the ideology of political parties, they always give tickets to electables, especially in South Punjab where voters use the baradri system.
When it comes to the political ideology of the electables in Pakistan, the majority believe that they must follow the ideology of Pakistan that our forefathers gave us 75 years ago, and they believe in a single phenomenon to serve the nation. Every elected official believes that he or she is the only person in the country working for the betterment of his or her people.
There are apparent flaws in the political ideologies of the common man as well as politicians in Pakistan, which is why there is a huge need to promote the ideology of our forefathers (Rizvi, 2022).
Throughout the paper, I have claimed that electables play a significant role in Pakistan’s political system. Individuals or families with personal clout in a community and a large vote bank but are unaffiliated with any political party are referred to as electables. Despite the fact that the problem is deeply rooted in our political and social structures, established political parties are mostly to blame for the current state of affairs.
Only a few electables who are tied to a single political party adhere solely to its philosophy. In Pakistan’s political system, money is the sole way to get people elected to the legislature. Pakistan’s electable confidence is also increased by baradri politics. The strongest baradri groupings invariably back the electable. Therefore, there is essentially no vote on the ideology in many electoral constituencies. In return, they receive funds from the electable in baradri politics.
A political culture is not promoted in Pakistan. As a result, no new youthful leaders have arisen at this point, allowing the electables to consistently win elections. Universities haven’t had a student union for a very long time. As a result, Pakistani political or educational institutions have no culture that encourages politics at the grassroots level.
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