Pakistan: Electoral politics a big hinderance to progress

Chitral — If one objectively analyzes the causes of Pakistan’s retrogression and it’s unwillingness to progress, one factor that comes to the fore aggressively, is the system of government /politics that we are following.

Electoral politics in one form or another may be a practice in most countries, but then most countries also need to change it. Considering Pakistan, we are a different people who have been living under psychological slavery, therefore our requirements for change are different too.

Governments formed through elections have always failed Pakistan, because the very concept of one man one vote is flawed. A half insane person has one vote as has a scientist, a researcher, a professor, or a Phd scholar. On voting day the insane person is dragged to the polling station by party workers but the professor is reluctant because he has to stand in long queues and likely to be pushed around by ruffians who are in abundance as compared to couthed people. The results of elections are obvious.

There are members in the present National Assembly who are being elected continuously since the 1970’s and have yet not spoken a word on the Assembly floor. They get elected because they are Pir, Gadee Nashin, Wadera or rich guys of their area. They have no other qualification. Imagine the amount of precious time we have wasted with such people and such system which brings up these people.

In Pakistan’s electoral politics votes are casted on the basis of clan, tribe, regionalism, religiousism, even on the basis of who paid condolence to the voter on an occasion against who did not, who stopped his car and wished the voter and who did not. Every frivolous factor is considered except merit. Most voters even the educated ones, put merit on the back seat on voting day and vote on personal preference/grudge, irrespective of what the candidate is capable of doing after being elected.

We have suffered a lot due to electoral politics. We can do better to shelve it for a decade at least. Meanwhile a government of expert technocrats selected by a high powered committee comprising of honest competent and God fearing individuals formed at the center. Such a government must be strictly be overseen by a potent, effective and honest accountability institution which should have it’s tentacles right down to the district level. This is the most important part of the ‘selected government’ feature.

Pakistan must think out of the box to get back on it’s feet. We never have voting when we want to form our national sports team. Players are selected on basis of merit. Why should our parliamentarians not be so and the criteria for merit should not be who has a big paunch or is a pir, mir, landlord or tribe leader of the area. Such considerations are not there in selecting officers for Administration or Military service, why should it be for public representatives. As far as involvement of people factor is to be considered, the Local govt should continue on electoral basis to quench the ‘democratic’ thirst of the people if at all they are thirsty for it.

Army must not involve itself directly in ruling the country as we do not have good examples from the past. The reason being army interventions did not change the system but corrupted it further. We need a change of the system to non political form otherwise even the most honest and well meaning person elected as prime minister will capitulate in front of the system, as the electoral political system will strangle him and the net result will be ‘more of the same’. — CN report, 19 Oct 2016

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