Medical Examination for the Politicians
10 December, 2012
By Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
As the expected date of the general elections is drawing nearer the political activity in the country is gathering momentum with each passing day. Many a political pundit is predicting the future and a lot is being talked about and discussed over the electronic media in this regard. Almost all politicians and the political parties are trying their best to make us believe that they alone shall be the future saviours of the country and that they are dying to serve the masses.
However, a large silent but saner majority is quite apprehensive that as the things are shaping and the covert and overt political maneuvering taking place in the federal and the provincial capitals the same kind of the leaders might once again be returned to the power by the naïve and simple voters. If the performance of the Election Commission during the recently held by-elections is to be taken as a measure then not much can be expected of it to ensure complete free and fair elec tions in the coming March or so.
Most political parties do not seem to have any good of the masses at their heart and the only consideration and concern for them seems to win as many seats as possible by hook or crook. And to them the easiest way to achieve this end is to field potent vote getters who are, unfortunately, from the moneyed class with a feudalistic mindset. They can either buy the voters or bulldoze their way forceably through the ECP procedural fences of propriety and adherence to the rules and regulations.
What can be done in such a situation to ensure electing good people to govern? The political parties are likely to field the same kind of vote getters irrespective of their having any sterling qualities, vision or ability to govern. Not much has been either done previously nor is it expected now from the judiciary or the ECP to invoke articles 62 and 63 of the constitution on their own that lay down the qualifications for the selection of the legislators. Some of the qualities required under Article 62 are:
(d) he is of good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions;
(e) he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practises obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstains from major sins ;
(f) he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate and honest and ameen;
(g) he has not been convicted for a crime involving moral turpitude or for giving false evidence;
(h) he has not, after the establishment of Pakistan, worked against the integrity of the country or opposed the Ideology of Pakistan
Let alone others, how many of them would qualify even the sub section (f) of the above that says,"He is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate and honest and ameen".
Honest and Ameen, just come to think of it?!!
Since the above cannot be invoked, let's consider another very practicable option to weed out the unwanted. In the armed forces every officer undergoes a medical examination for fitness every year and those found medically unfit are not promoted to the next higher rank. There are different categories of medical fitness; Cat-A, Fit for all kinds of duties, Cat-B, otherwise fit but not for Operational Duties. Cat-C, only for chair borne Staff Duties. Cat-D&E, under treatment in or out of hospital. Cat-F not fit to be retained in the service. Above categories are either Permanent or Temporary. For Temporary lower categories periodic up-gradation medical boards are held to examine the officer medically and either upgrade him to the next higher category or declare the officer to stay permanently down categorised.
Now the same system of medical categorisation for the physical and mental fitness of our politicians (leaders) can be introduced as well. It is a common knowledge that a person's decision making abilities are affected by his physical and mental condition. A hypertensive or hyposensitive (High and Low Blood Pressure) person or a diabetic in the state of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia (High or Low Blood Sugar Levels) may either over react or lose control of his/her faculties under certain given situations. It can be extremely dangerous in the case of a higher executive who can be one of those having his/her finger at the nuclear button. All persons holding higher executive and governmental positions must, therefore, be 100 percent physically fit and mentally alert all the time. Or, in other words Medical Category-A. Lower Med Cat B&C could be made applicable to the holder of the positions lesser sensitive and important. Some of our higher leaders are on record to have asked exemption from appearing before the court on the grounds of having suffered Loss of Memory, heart aliments and other similar diseases. Many of them have also been abroad for medical treatment (even medical checkups!!) on govt.'s expense quite often.
Introduction of such medical examination for the politicians and obtaining of the requisite Medical Category should be made mandatory for them for filing their nomination papers before contesting an election. The type of Med Cat – A, B or C should subsequently determine the type of the governance office he/she could hold. Such an arrangement will not only weed out most of the dead wood (and in the process the same old time and again tried out corrupt rulers) but would also save millions to the national exchequer on sending the sick politicians abroad for their medical treatment and check ups.
Needless to say we will have much lesser number of them to choose from and who know we might find some good ones too from amongst them to vote them into power.
Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)