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Myth of the Mandate

15 February, 2012

By Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)


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There exists a strange misconception amongst all politicians each one of who claims the support of 17 crore (some now say 18 crore) people of Pakistan. For almost anything under the sun that they want for themselves – essentially the power – they attribute it to the cause of democracy and the 17 or 18 crore awaam. Do they really enjoy that kind of support that they keep harping about so incessantly? Let's analyse the figures a little dispassionately and without any bias or favour to any.

Please take the calculator to work it out for yourself.

The total population of the country is estimated to be anything between 170 to 180 millions. We would, therefore, take the average figure of 175 million for our calculations.

According to the ECP website the total number of the registered voters in Pakistan is 40,438,048. That comes to 23.107 per cent of the 175 million population. The voters' turn out has never been more than 50 percent in the history of Pakistan. However, for any future elections, in spite of the bomb blast scares, appeals by the some to boycott the elections, the usual lack of interest of the easy going urbanites and intelligentsia in voting, absence at the polls of the working and labour class who can ill afford losing a day's wages, people located on government and other employments at outstations away from where they are registered, the sick in the hospitals, the invalids and the old who cannot make to the polling stations, embargos and taboos placed upon the women folks to cast their vote in backward areas, etc., we will still take the near impossible figure of the best case of 50% turn out at the polls. That will make the figure of the likely voters to be 11.55 % of the total population. Now there are usually at least three to four contestants in each constituency and as such the votes are divided among them. It would, therefore, be quite safe to assume that in MOST cases the winning party candidates will not poll more than 30 percent of the votes cast. That will give the winning party on the average the support of 3.465% (30% of 11.55%) of the population.

Now this 3.465% of 175 millions is a fraction more than 6 million people, 6.06375 million to be exact ! These are IRREFUTABLE statistics, for which every Tom, Dick and Harry in Pakistan claims the support of 17 or 18 crore awaam !!

And, please do understand that all those who have NOT voted for the winning party have cast their NEGATIVE vote against it either by abstaining or voting for some other party(ies). And, lo and behold - they number 168.9 millions – Solah crore Unaasi lakh awaam!!

What a myth of the 'heavy mandates' and the support of 17/18 crore awaam that they claim?!

As a matter of fact, NONE of them can claim to represent the awaam AT ALL unless and until a political party polls more than 51% of the votes. That is unless about 80 million people of Pakistan vote for it. It is high time they stopped making fool of the 17/18 crore awaam.

Itni na baDha paaki-e-daamaaN ki hikaayat
daaman ko zara dekh zara band-e-qaba dekh

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