THE National Assembly passed the XVIII Amendment Bill on April 8, 2010, which became part of the constitution after the opposition PML-N and the ruling PPP stalwarts agreed to certain amendments about future governance, and by virtue of the 18th Amendment these parties also assumed a role to elect a caretaker government.
The 18th Amendment should have been for the betterment of the people, but it is generally believed that it provided strength to the political parties and their leaders who earlier got a role in the formation of the Election Commission of Pakistan . If parliamentarians want political stability, they should have involved the judiciary in the process of the ECP’s formation, but they preferred taking all power in their hands.
Through the 18th Amendment, the CEC and four members of the Election Commission were appointed on the recommendation of a parliamentary committee, composed of members of the ruling party and the so-called opposition, which actually was in power in Punjab. They elected Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim as the CEC.
Although Mr Ebrahim is an honest man, he cannot take decisions independently. His decisions were revised by four members of the ECP who were elected by the ruling and opposition parties. After the completion of their tenure by the PPP and other coalition parties in the centre and PML-N in Punjab, ANP in KP and all ministers’ coalition government in Balochistan, and the PPP and the coalition MQM in Sindh, amendments helped parliamentarians to elect a caretaker government.
Similarly, caretaker chief ministers were appointed with the consultation of the chief ministers and the leaders of the opposition in the outgoing provincial assemblies, and later on by the ECP.
The parties which were in the coalition government came out of the government and assumed the role of the opposition to seek a role in the formation of the caretaker government.
Why was there no role of the judiciary in the caretaker setup? Was the 18th Amendment for political stability or was it for the stability of topsy-turvy governance? Things are changing rapidly and there is no chance of free and fair elections, and it is happening because of flaws in the 18th Amendment.
Moreover, constitutional amendments have made inroads for a candidate to become prime minister for a third time, have lifted the graduation condition for parliamentarians and have also taken away court rights to suspend the constitution.
Now, it is a crucial time for caretakers and the ECP to conduct free and fair elections. Otherwise, the moulded face of the constitution would support corrupt politicians to assume power again via the 18th amendment.
RUBY ZAHEER Karachi
Sugar barons ALMOST all sugar mills in our country are owned by rich politicians and their family members. Cane crushing season in Sindh has ended a long time back, but growers are, as usual, yet to be paid their dues against sugar cane supplied to the mills.
This highhandedness of mill owners, withholding dues of growers, has been going on for a long time. As these mill owners are contesting elections, there is a window of opportunity and hope for the poor growers during this period if the ECP ensures that all outstanding dues are cleared prior to their entering the race.
DR KHURSHID ANWAR Badin
Political salad IF you cut two apples and three pears into several pieces, it results in a fruit salad. The ‘Pakistan Muslim League’ has been cut into pieces, viz the PML-N, the PML-Q, the PML-Likeminded, PML-Functional and APML. Similarly, ‘Pakistan People’s Party’ has been cut into PPP-P. So we have fruit salads of political parties.
Some political parties have names which the public could not understand. For instance, ‘Functional’ and ‘Like-minded’ parties. Such parties should change their names to get support and membership of their parties. Otherwise they may end up as ‘tonga party’, with a few members to fit in a tonga.
In the coming elections, the voters will look into the above aspects of a political party and then caste their votes. Let us hope that this voting will benefit the country at large.
A. RAHIM Karachi
PTI manifesto RECENTLY the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf announced its party manifesto. The event was held at a five-star hotel in Islamabad.
Addressing the press conference, Shireen Mazari said that according to the PTI manifesto there will be equal justice for all. She said: “There will be no difference between the rich and the poor.”
On many occasions, Imran Khan has said during the first day of his government he will abolish boundary walls of Governor Houses and will turn them into libraries and parks. It would have been better if he would have announced his party manifesto at a road rather than at a luxury hotel. This would have been a real change.
MUBASHIR MAHMOOD Karachi
Politicians’ claims IT is ironic that politicians have submitted their asset details with the Election Commission of Pakistan with undervalued property information, e.g. a house worth Rs2 million in the DHA, Karachi. How can this be possible?
This is nothing but a bad joke with the country and its people. Such claims of politicians should be countered with logical reasons otherwise they would get away with it and be re-elected to serve their own interests in the disguise of patriotism.