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Mar 4: Senate Elections & State of Democracy by Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi

The most interesting comment during Senate elections was made by the Secretary of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). He stated that ECP has not received any reports of horse trading and irregularities in Senate elections. This really is the problem in Pakistan. None of the state institutions sees or hears any evil. NAB has failed to restrain corruption and is busy playing politics. FBR has failed to curtail tax evasion. FIA has failed to contain federal crimes both white collar and criminal. Police fail to act to apprehend a child rapist and murderer until there is a national outcry. Courts fail to deliver justice. Air Force fails to prevent drones violating our airspace. Military fails to prevent the incursion of a foreign force deep into our territory. Keeping the tradition of state institutions ECP has failed to see horse trading in Senate elections where PPP wins two Senate seats in KP despite having just 6 MPAs. PTI wins a seat in Punjab where it has only 32 MPAs. ECP like all other state institutions serves the interests of the elite and provides legal cover to their activities to retain control of the nation. Pakistan is a dilapidated and weak state because of its institution’s repeated failures.

Political parties, as usual, continue their tradition of deception. Now everyone talks about supporting direct election for Senate but when proposals were made about it to the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms none of them spoke publicly about it. As members of PTI, we submitted detailed recommendations to the committee on electoral reforms and shared it with all of you as well. We implored our party members on the committee to support those proposals. Shibli Faraz, Shafqat Mahmood, and Dr. Arif Alvi were members of the committee but none of them supported those proposals and kept quiet about it. Today if they had supported then they will be justified to condemn horse trading.

In Pakistan, we have the habit of going through the motions and believing that it is great progress. Most editorials are celebrating the completion of Senate elections without any consideration whether democracy has strengthened or weakened. Quality of Senate has deteriorated substantially and it has become a rich man club. Membership of Senate is used for diplomatic and business connections rather than to serve people and protect rights of smaller provinces. These Senators are loyal to party heads and will be serving them in drafting legislation. Democracy is weaker today rather than gained strength.

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