Mockery with Senate Elections
Horse -trading and nepotism is not new to the Senate Elections in Pakistan, why then political parties have raised voice in the Senate Elections 2015? Every Senate Elections that were conducted in Pakistan were marred by brazen trading of votes. Ironically, no mainstream political parties have ever raised a voice for reforms in the Senate Elections.
The un- elected political head of the parties are interested only in grabbing further power that is why the mainstream political parties had proposed 22nd Constitutional amendment that aims to scrap the secret ballot for the Senate elections with a show of hands. This Constitutional amendment would only beneficial to the political elite of the country who don’t want to transfer the power to grass root level.
The real intention of the legislature behind the Senate was to give equal representation to all federating units since the membership of the National Assembly was based on the population of each province. Equal provincial membership in the Senate ,thus, balances the provincial inequality in the National Assembly and dispels doubts and apprehension, if any, regarding deprivation and exploitation. Deplorably the head of our political parties have used the Senate over the years to elect their handpicked candidates without taking into account any criteria for their selection.
The political parties have violated the Code of Conduct for Senate in all elections that are conducted so far in Pakistan , which only permits the candidates, who are enrolled as a voter in any area in a Province or, as the case may be the Federal Capital or the Federally Administered Tribal Area, from where he seeks membership.
Political parties by defiling the Code of Conduct for Senate Elections have given ticket to candidates who don’t hail/permanent resident of the province where they are contesting the Election. Barrister Saif who hails from KPK has become a Senator from province Sindh on the ticket of MQM. Ms Raheela Maqsi has become Senator from federal capital on PML- N ticket, this practice has been followed in the previous Senate Election by all mainstream political parties. This is contrary to the essence of the Senate and creates a sense of exploitation, among the Federating Units of Pakistan especially among smaller provinces. The federation of Pakistan is already fragile and We have failed to learn the lessons from our mistakes, the creation of Bangladesh was the result of apprehensions and a sense of deprivation that we created among the Bengalis.
The solution lies in urgent reform in the Electoral system. The Upper House of the Parliament Senate has an important role to play in democracy by keeping a check and balance on the working of the parliament. By having a direct Senate Elections, common people will be able to elect their own Senators who will be accountable to the public. In the present system the Senators are not accountable to the public as they don’t serve the interest of the masses. The democracy can be strengthened in our beleaguered country when there is true representation of the masses both in the parliament and the Senate, which is a distant dream.