web analytics

The gains and losses of curbing horse trading

Recently, I dawned upon the realization that there is a good side and a bad side to every single thing. This realization’s relativity substantiated when the recent Amendment in the constitution to ‘tackle the prevalent horse trading in the Senate Elections’ surfaced.

One disclosure that this prospective amendment has brought forth is that the MQM and the PPP, despite of all their animosities, can unite in times when they collectively feel the need to do so.

Just a few months ago, both the parties blamed each other for all wrongs in the province and the acrimony ended up breaking the coalition between the two. More recently, after MQM’s Faisal Sabzwari blamed the Chief Minister for the famine in Thar, the PPP retaliated by announcing veiled consent to the JIT report which held the MQM responsible for the Baldia Town Fire which took the lives of over 250 people.

However, the parties took everyone (possibly including themselves) by surprise when they announced that the MQM and the PPP’s candidates will contest the senate election unopposed. Which indicates that the parties can form consensus when they feel the need to do so, which makes one hope that they will show similar resoluteness to the people dying in Thar.

Perhaps the major attainment of this amendment is not only that the PTI finally praised the government for coming up with an effective measure to tackle horse trading, but this may just bring the PTI back to the Parliament, as was hinted by PTI’s Secretary General Jahangir Tareen. Which would not only thaw the already strained relations between the PML-N and the PTI especially following the Finance Minister’s promise of ‘full support to the KPK government’ just before the announcement of the constitutional amendment, but would hopefully pacify the workers and followers of the respective parties. This was much needed because even members of the same family had started distancing themselves among party lines (which I’ve sadly experienced).

Another thing that this amendment will prove is that the government is able to take on the challenges it seems should be addressed.

The government has been oblivious to act upon certain reasonable demands of the PTI which were recently backed by the PPP’s Chairman, the opposition to the change in the CPEC and the protection of the minorities. Even the Senate grilled the government on the lack of proper security and intelligence policies.

Still, the adamant approach to curb horse trading in the Senate Elections shows that the government is able to take on all the issues which seemed it was unable to take on and ill equipped to approach.

Lastly, since proposals for direct Senate Elections are emerging, we can entertain the possibility of direct senate elections in the future. Which would increase the general public’s roll in the State affairs and send a message to the government of the time (provided there are no rigging allegations and a comprehensive mechanism to counter rigging is introduced) depending upon the result of the election.

But, like I said earlier, there are the adverse effects as well.

The sanctity of the ballot will suffer tremendously adversely. Since it will officially be a ‘balloting process’ even after the amendment, an ‘open ballot’ is a ridiculous idea. It’s like two people voting in adjacent polling booths and before they cast their votes, they flaunt their papers and openly declare whom they chose. This also raises questions to the extents to which this amendment would ‘strengthen democracy’.

Not only is the ballot’s sanctity at stake, this amendment will only strengthen the values which have plagued our democratic system and we’ve talked profusely of removing. The chairmen of all respective Political Parties will now be able to kick out any member who has defied the party rules and lines. Which means that the ‘yes boss’ tradition will not only prevail but enhance and if it does, it would be a blow to the progress we’ve made democratically and individual values will be lost.

Selective double standards have become obvious now. The government has not responded to allegations and two letters of the leader of the opposition to the PM regarding pre poll rigging in Gilgit-Baltistan following the appointment of a former minister as the Governor. Yet, the government wants to secure the elections of the Senate of all wrongs and ill practices. This makes one wonder if the government’s efforts are restricted to the Senate’s election only and if they actually do intend to resolve the crises arising from alleged rigging.

It’s hard to see if the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa, but what we can hope and pray for is that this event which is of paramount importance will yield good results and will ultimately be beneficial for the country and the people.

Facebook Comments