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Transparent Elections in Pakistan

06 September, 2007

By Munir Hussain Bhatti


Politics of Pakistan is full of unfair and maneuvered elections. No doubt, the elections of 1970s were transparent, but these polls were conducted under the supervision of an army dictator, who has ambition to become the President of Pakistan. After these free and fair elections the country dismembered because in the eastern wing Awami Party emerged as triumphant and in the western wing PPP won majority of the seats. Strangely both parties do not won a single seat in the other wing. Even after the tearing of one limb of Pakistan, the self-centered politicians of the truncated country did not learn any lesson from their previous mistakes. Therefore, the history of the subsequent elections in Pakistan is full of horse trading and rigging.

Frequent army intervention to control civilian affairs is also a major impediment in the way of establishment of public rule in Pakistan through free and fair elections. The men in khaki have ruled the country for more than 30 years. Therefore, democratic institutions could not flourish. Democratic leaders only emerge from democratic institutions. Dialogue is the fundamental principle of democracy for which army is not trained because they only learn to obey orders. Therefore, even after the passage of six decades, a ragtag controlled democracy is working in Pakistan to insult the spirit of democratic system.

Elections provide a ray of hope to the public for a change. Therefore, they become enthusiastic before every election. But after the elections all their hopes dash to the ground. The so-called public representatives do not bother to visit their constituency; therefore, the public development remains in the balance.

The totalitarian leaders, who nominate different office bearers, head the political parties. These political parties do not conduct regular elections within their ranks; therefore, they are themselves deprived of democratic grains. In developed countries leaders emerge from political parties but in Pakistan leaders form their own political parties after deserting another political party.

Frequent change of loyalties is also a major impediment in the way of institutionalization of democracy. The politicians join the political party, which they think would be triumphant in the upcoming elections. Some contest elections as independent candidates and they join the political party surface successful in the elections. They bargain with the party in power for becoming parliamentary secretaries, advisors, chairmen of standing committees and ministers. Their sole aim is to get maximum self-centered benefit. The do not care about the poor public due to votes of which they come to power. Therefore, their fate never changes after the elections.

Transparent elections in Pakistan are still a dream. But every dark cloud has a silver lining. The landmark decision of the Supreme Court has shown a glimmer of anticipation to the disappointed public. This milestone decision is the major breakthrough towards complete sovereignty of judiciary. An independent judiciary can help in the holding of transparent elections by the establishment of unbiased and powerful election commission. The dream of founding of democracy through transparent elections would only be realized when the institutions would be stronger than personalities and pressure groups.

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