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Democracy in shambles

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What happened during current budget session in the parliament was something unusual but it was well planned and nicely executed that brought bad name to the legislators and the country. It was first time in the history of Pakistan’s parliament when the entire world witnessed live telecast and real face of our politicians who even did not hesitate to use dirty, indecent language in the presence of female members. There was no justification on the part of ruling party to behave in this manner .Traditionally opposition always make plenty of noise whenever finance minister starts reading his budget speech and gradually they calm down. Time and again this point has been over emphasised that in a parliamentary democracy role of opposition is as important as that of treasury benches but the PTI government for unknown reasons ignored this aspect altogether right from day one hence for three years we only witnessed grand tamasha of confrontation between the two inside and out of the parliament.
However, it was indeed a great day when opposition and ruling party entered in to a gentleman agreement to allow leader of opposition and Prime Minister to deliver their speeches uninterrupted. The people of Pakistan and the world over appreciated this gesture from both sides and were able to hear both speeches comfortably and in peace. It has always been suggested that on national issues both sides should have patience to hear each others view point to build up consensus but this sane advise is always forgotten. No amendment can be incorporated in the constitution without two third majority therefore it needs no emphasis that it can only be achieved by taking opposition on board . At present a strong debate is going on for the introduction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and other related election issues to be held in 2023. Technological developments are moving at a very rapid speed and throughout the world its utilisation is gaining importance because it is less vulnerable to manipulation and chances of error are minimum. No system in the world has an ideal situation, there are always problems. In Pakistan we face two types of problems. One is natural defect that can occur any time in any EVM and the second is self created. Both can be activated at any time anywhere where the voting is in progress. We witnessed this happening in 2018 General Elections when RTS machines developed faults and went idle for hours, rest is history everyone knows what happened during this time. Now coming to the real issue if some fault develops in Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) it would create chaos. No one can guarantee that there will be no malfunction or breakdown in voting machines? This cannot be predicted nor guaranteed. This is the main reason that opposition is against electronic voting machines and quote 2018 elections as an example that took place after RTS machines broke down or deliberately were shut down. This requires detailed examination of the issue and proper SOP’s are to be made to ensure in case of fault how to handle the situation so that no party has any objection.
Prime Minister has once again invited opposition to sit with government to frame election reforms to make elections transparent and free of rigging. Unfortunately ECP has its own constitutional reservations that need to be settled if we really want to have free and fair elections. There is need for Prime Minister to call meeting of all stake holders and thrash the issue once for all and have broad based consensus on electoral reforms failing which reforms shall remain a dream. As a suggestion once any Report on EVM is brought to the notice of ECP, throughout Pakistan the entire polling staff to come out of the polling stations and remain outside till fault of EVM is restored, other measures can also be taken to ensure no one tries to manipulate the results. Secondly each polling station to have CCTV camera, anywhere if camera is non functional, no voting should be held till such time system is restored
Lastly, it at least hurts me when I find out of the entire Parliament including leader of the opposition and the Prime Minister failed to offer Fateh on the martyred soldiers due to terrorists attack on various check posts, where as when a corrupt politician dies the house is very active to offer Fateha. This speaks of social disconnect between the aspirations of the public and the politicians who sit in the assemblies to represent those aspirations. There can’t be anything more significant than sacrificing your life fighting for the motherland and that needs to be recognised.