The May 2013 election surfaced as a key milestone on the map of the political history of Pakistan that prompted the transfer of power from one elected civilian government to another, respecting the will of the people of Pakistan. Unlike the two preceding elections in 2002 and 2008 which were characterised by low voter turnout, May 2013 election witnessed an unprecedented voter turnout especially among urban middle class youth and women who for the first time came out of their homes to exercise their right to vote. Other important features of Election 2013 included the proactive role of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), an improved legal framework; a higher level of confidence in the ECP at the national level; a significantly improved voter registration process and Election Day procedures which were observed with some degree of fairness in the urban centres however they were less effectively managed in the rural settings.
Unlike two preceding elections which were overshadowed by some internal and external events, May 2013 election witnessed increased focus of the political parties on issues relate to the domestic economy. The political parties’ election drives were characterised by a fairly active campaign, involving mass rallies by some parties, media advertising, extensive media reporting on the contest and widespread distribution of posters. However, poor law and order situation and numerous attacks on candidates, party supporters and election offices against three political parties cast a spectre over the process.
While previously held two elections in Pakistan were contested mainly between two political parties, the Election 2013 witnessed the rise of the third, an alternate political force on the political mosaic of Pakistan which made the electoral process comparatively more credible then those held before. In Balochistan, except few nationalist parties, majority of the political forces actively participated in the Election 2013 which prompted a peaceful transition of power that is essential for strengthening of the democratic behaviours and institutions in this province. It is hoped that ‘Election 2013’ would act as a catalyst to carry the political debate meaningfuly forward from the ‘restoration and survival of the political system’ to a ‘performance and rights based participatory and accountable political system.