When the PML-N secured a simple majority in the 2013 elections, it had a lot of privileges. Nawaz Sharif easily became the prime minister. The party easily formed its government in Punjab. They did not have to look up to anyone when Imran Khan was in D Chowk. Imran Khan had a sit-in for four months, but the PML-N did not care as they had a massive majority.
Since Imran Khan did not have a considerable majority, he was relying heavily on the support of allies. Whether it was to become the prime minister, or whether it was to remain prime minister, he had to look up to his allies for their support. Even to form a government in Punjab, he needed their support. For selecting the chairman of the Senate, he was dependent on their vote. He even had to give up before the demands of PMLQ and replace Usman Buzdar as Chief Minister Punjab in exchange for their vote.
Thus Imran Khan had a really tough time in government. This time Imran Khan craves a two-thirds majority in the election.
Imran Khan also wants to have the same perks that Nawaz Sharif enjoyed. And he has been told by his front men that it is possible. He has been told that he is immensely popular. And if there is an election now, he can easily secure a massive majority against other parties. But is it possible to have a massive majority? Can any party secure a two-thirds majority? The answer is no. It is not possible for any political party in Pakistan to secure a two-thirds majority in the current environment, and the media has a role in that.
A party can have a two-thirds majority when its narrative sails through the masses. When a large number of voters buy the narrative of a party, they reach a consensus. And this gigantic consensus gives a party a chance to secure a massive majority. Currently, in Pakistan, the nation is sharply divided on narratives. One section of the society follows the narrative of the PML-N. And the other section follows the narrative of PTI. Even among these sections, there are two subdivisions. One is the hopeful romantics, who think their beloved leaders will rescue the country, the other ones are the rational realists, who know the narratives of their respective parties are just words and not reliable but they continue to root for them anyway because they hate the other party so much.
Meanwhile, there are pessimists who are cynical of both these schools of thought. Those who are utterly disappointed by every party in the country. These are the people who celebrated the ouster of Imran Khan but are angry with the crowning of Shehbaz Sharif as well. They know that whether it’s President Snow or President Coin, the system will remain the same as there is no Katniss Everdeen to volunteer as an alternative to these.
The fundamental question, in fact, challenge for every party is how they will get all these different schools of thought on the same page. If they want to secure the majority, they have to sell their narratives to all these people, and most of the people have to buy it. Because currently, the fan base is sharply divided into two different narratives. If the election is held now, no party in Pakistan is likely to secure a two-thirds majority.
PMLQ already fell from grace when it traded its defining votes for the CM’s seat. MQM is infamous for its former affiliation with Altaf Hussain. Yet they can secure more seats as they used their votes for no-confidence wisely without being desperate for favours in return. JUIF, JI, and MMAP could secure seats but a typical voter will perceive them as a representative of a single sect (even though they are not). The PPP can secure a two-thirds majority if they miraculously uplift Sindh. Previously they blamed federals (PTI) for the chaos in Sindh, claiming that they were not cooperating with the Sindh government. But this time, with Shehbaz Sharif as PM, they have a lot of privileges, and their voters are looking up to them. If PPP utilizes its expanded authorities wisely when PMLN and PTI will be busy dragging each other down, they can secure a two-thirds majority.
If the PTI wants to secure two-thirds majority, Imran Khan will have to reinvent his party. He needs to filter out all the leftovers from his party and come up with an excellent team that will mind its own business and let him work rather than trying to overshadow each other and dictate to Khan what to do.
If PMLN wants to secure two-thirds majority, Sharifs have to bring all their assets and investments back to Pakistan. It sounds lame when a leader says he loves Pakistan to death, but at the same time keeps all his assets outside the country because he is afraid that his assets will be frozen in Pakistan in case of the opposite government. If someone wants to rule here, he has to bring all his resources to help Pakistan, which in the case of Sharifs are equivalent to IMF’s bailouts. If the Sharifs bring back all their money to Pakistan and decide not to go to IMF, they can clean sweep in all provinces.