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ECP and system’s reforms

April 18, 2013

THE happenings till date have almost drowned all hopes. Except for a few who can be counted on fingers all other aspirants of ruling the country for the next five years are sadiq (truthful) and ameen (trustworthy).

They have never lied on the oath, their degrees are genuine and they have never committed any culpable crime. They or any of their dependents have never defaulted on bank loans or evaded any tax. They never defaulted on payment of their utility bills for more than six months at a stretch. Their wealth declarations now reconcile with their declarations made earlier and their known income supports their known possessions and their current lifestyle.

They have never entered in a formal or informal plea bargain arrangement. They have never violated the mandatory provisions of tax laws like obtaining NTN number, filing accurate tax returns, etc. They deserve to rule us.

Now the technical point made by many is that nothing has been proven and no conviction by any court exists, meaning that the system has nothing against them. Why the conviction does not occur?

Why the rich and powerful always get away with murder be it of a fellow human being or the laws of the country or resources of the nation?

Just to illustrate, is it not a matter of shame for the institutions concerned that a large number of fake degree holders voted on matters of vital national importance being the members of what our parliamentarian do not tire of calling the supreme organ of the state, for as long a period as five years. They may reimburse the cash amounts directly spent on them as ordered in certain cases, although even that is doubtful, yet what about the damages to the nation as a whole and all the people of Pakistan due to their being part of the decision-making process at this highest forum of the state.

Interestingly, quite a few champions of the rule of law and respected members of the civil society appear to be supporting these stinking ruling elite on technical grounds.

It seems that the system is proving Dr Tahirul Qadri right. Was it not the central theme of his so-called long march and dharna that the current electoral system would throw up the same kind and therefore needed to be reformed immediately to ensure positive change?

His methods and style, or even motives, may be suspect but his fears now appear justified. The system isolated him and has won again.

M. H. ASIF Islamabad


WITH reference to the news item ‘Raja Ashraf struck down’ (April 16), I am surprised at the statement of Pakistan Bar Council member Mohammad Ramzan Choudhri that “It would have been better to have allowed him to contest the election and the people of his constituency given the opportunity to either reject or elect him.”

If this is made the rule, what’s the use of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution? In most civilised countries, ministers immediately resign if there is the slightest evidence of corruption against them, but here no minister would step down even if he is involved in a murder case.

In Pakistan, we know that corruption cases take a long time to be decided, so if blatantly corrupt people are allowed to contest elections and they happen to get elected, cases against them will drag on for years, giving them more opportunities to loot the national exchequer.

As far as the average voter is concerned, he is more inclined to vote for someone who belongs to his own caste, even if the candidate is known to have indulged in illegal activities like submitting a fake degree or selling land which doesn’t belong to him.

It is much better if the ECP (or the courts) decide the eligibility or otherwise of candidates.


Transfer of bureaucrats

THIS is in reference with the report ‘Transfer of 65 bureaucrats ordered’ (April 12). Transfer of bureaucrats in Sindh is a good omen for conducting fair and transparent elections. Kudos to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for this sincere and bold step.

I would suggest the ECP that those officers who were the cronies of previous government coalition machinery are still free in organising public gatherings in favour of particular party candidates.

They are not only begging their favour, but also creating a hindrance in ECP’s mission. The ECP received complaints against 65 officers but the more than 80 per cent bureaucrats having affiliation with particular parties and are directly and indirectly working for them.

I would suggest the ECP, as May 11 is drawing near, to take serious notice of complaints against the officers and charge them with rigging and summon them to the court of justice.

Furthermore, candidates should be banned from contesting elections by using government machinery for ill means in rigging the elections.


Ball in people’s court

SINCE the creation of Pakistan, politicians have been raising hue and cry that military dictators never let them do their work independently that is why they had never been able to deliver what was expected from them.

But in the last five years the situation remained altogether different. The army remained aloof from the political affairs and the political parties remained at liberty throughout the tenure.

The last government had the opportunity to prove and establish why democracy is beneficial for Pakistan. Instead, they made everyone lose belief in it. Now the ball is in the court of the people of Pakistan.