THE undesirable delay in the installation of a caretaker setup invited the critics of democracy to take it to task. The message conveyed across the country and globe by this stalemate is twofold.
First, all the mainstream parties have proved themselves unable to draw the consensus over such a major issue. Second, it shows the pool of politicians in Pakistan is too incompetent to bring forth a person, being not objectionable, for a caretaker prime minister.
All the parties seem as if they turned a deaf ear to the outcry for constituting a home halfway. The reasons are not the ideological differences, colossal distance or communication gap but problem lies somewhere else. It is all about political scoring and the manoeuvres to cause electoral damage to opponents.
The annals of the previous record of parties testify to the fact that all political clans stood hand in hand with the other whenever they found their vested interest at stake. Not a few days ago their integrity was obvious in resisting an attempt to stroke the status quo by Dr Tahirul Qadri.
If they could agree on the MRD, they could sign a charter of democracy, if the PPP and the PML - N could take the oath together in 2007, if each bank of political stream can merge together under PPP - Q umbrella, then why there were so many misgivings over such a critical issue of national interest. Fairly speaking, it would derail democracy.
The practice of building our hopes on retired judges to ensure the duality of political process is growing upon us. It is above any doubt that the inclusion of judges would lead up to conduct free and fair elections but it certainly would result in raising fingers toward judges after the elections.
It is because the referee of a game where players do not follow the code of conduct that always becomes subject of criticism by defeated ruffians. The sanctity and respect for the judiciary requires them to stay away from this mud. It is also embarrassing for the bastion of supremacy of parliament that having failed to find a man up to the mark they need judges to inspect their conduct. It is time they brought the ball back to their court.
The political and social crisis of Pakistan would not blow over unless the political parties keep national interest on the top of their priorities. Setting aside their differences they must conclude an agreement on major issues and save democracy from derailing.
ABUBAKAR BHEEL Arifwala
Dragging ECP into politics HOW funny and insincere our politicians sound when they wash their dirty linen in the open and simultaneously asserting that they have attained maturity and learnt lessons from their mistakes.
If they were true to what they pretend, they would have reached a consensus and succeeded in appointing the caretaker prime minister and provincial chief ministers for conducting the upcoming elections.
On the contrary, the parliamentary committee, consisting of eight members --four each from the ruling party and the main opposition PML - N -- was tasked with choosing unanimously or with majority - based decision one person of unimpeachable integrity.
However, the committee kept the people under high tension for three days and finally shattered their aspirations by shifting the buck on to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
It dragged the ECP in this ugly game of politics, which would most likely make the commission controversial. It is strange that politicians themselves could not rise above their personal and party interests, but bound the ECP to choose one of the four proposed names.
Couldn’t the ECP have been given a free hand to find a person out of 185 million citizens? I wish our politicians could achieve the maturity and mutual trust to solve such an issue on time and not make this poor nation a laughing stock in the world.
RAJA SHAFAATULLAH Islamabad
Screening of candidates IT appears that our country is pathetically short of men of integrity who could steer us out of our impending election days. All the saner elements of our political parties joined their heads together for many days to spot such a gentleman in the entire length and breadth of the country on whom all parties should agree.
But, alas, such a man was hard to come by, and in utter frustration we looked to the heavens to guide us in the hour of our sheer helplessness.
Fortunately, the constitution had foreseen our congenital disability to successfully cope with a situation like this and had stipulated not only a second alternative, but also a third one, so that if the second option also fails, we still have a third option available to us as a matter of grace.
Thus after two precious weeks the matter was resolved not by politicians but by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Although a caretaker setup is finally in place, a lot of valuable time has been lost which could have been profitably utilised by the ECP in the proper screening of candidates. The pre-poll screening of the candidates was the real thing on which the entire nation had been unanimous after a long debate spreading over a year and a half.
But the politicians think it otherwise and feel dreadfully insecure to face such a scrutiny under the constitutional provisions guaranteeing neat and clean people to represent them in their assemblies.
The dilly - dallying tactics employed by the politicians in delaying the putting up of a unanimous candidate as a caretaker prime minister clearly aim at stealing time of scrutiny from the already tight electoral schedule, leaving the ECP helpless in the matter. For, otherwise, it is hard to believe that selecting one clean individual out of a population of 185 million is such an awfully difficult task that the combined might of all political parties was unable to find him even after all these prolonged deliberations.
Internally, we know what we are and under what compulsions we tend to move. But the message which has been sent to the outside world is too horrendous to imagine. It paints us in the worst light and makes us a laughing stock in the world. They take it for sure that we are a divisive entity, engaged in strife and petty wheeling - dealing to achieve our selfish political ends, unable to see reason even in our crisis and have no cohesion or unity on important national issues.
A matter such as holding of general elections is ordinarily the function of the incumbent government everywhere in the world except in Bangladesh and Pakistan which have unfortunately not an enviable record in accomplishing this task.
Must we also tell the world that holding of free and fair elections is such a stupendous task which we feel unable to accomplish since the political forces in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan failed to find a single individual of worth to perform this feat? This reflects very badly on us as a nation.
ZAFAR AZIZ CHAUDHRY Lahore