Amid last three decades filled with controversy, the people have now begun to hint at mass level election rigging prevailing in Pakistan for a potential loss to the masses. Call it an exercise in hypocrisy or a deflection to detract from this hard fact that the political system in Pakistan is corrupt beyond belief. It is general perception that the election is always rigged on almost all occasions. Measuring the scale of electoral rigging is always a challenge. Confirming some irregularities have taken place in 2013 elections is straightforward, but proving whether rigging is systematic or isolate is vastly more difficult. Individually election in four constituencies demanded by the PTI was found to be rigged which has raised big question mark on the credibility of 2013 elections. By-elections are easier to be rigged while sitting in the government.
The two worst parties the country has ever seen during the last three decades, being exposed by the newly emerging parties for dishonesty. I hope the PML-N is watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us; they would never let it to be introduced any transparent election reforms. Multiple Pakistanis think Nawaz Sharif’s assertion is both ludicrous and dangerous, as during next elections, possibly ever, PTI and PAT would blame an election loss on voter fraud or a rigged election. Nawaz Sharif and Zardari look like they consistently break their oath. Both have made hostage the national institutions like election commission, FBR, NAB, and even courts.
Pakistan is in a state of perpetual political crises. The civilian leadership is absolutely rouged. The rulers are running the country by getting more and more external and local loans. The external debts have reached at more than $ 72 billion. Ultimately Pakistan’s nuclear weapons will have to be compromised and fall into the foreign hands. Independent reports reveal Pakistan is ranked second most corrupt country in the world. Industry is at standstill rather shifting to other countries, hundreds of thousands of people have become unemployed, while every person is being impacted by terrorism and lawlessness. National institutions have been completely destroyed because of corruption. Both the ruling parties have persistently betrayed and cheated the people of Pakistan. A few have amassed enormous wealth leaving all others in miserable conditions. No independent inquiry is allowed by the government to be conducted into the Panama leaks. During the current two regimes the general rule of basic civilized law and Human Rights have been badly broken down and diminished in the country. Humanitarian crime has reached at its climax particularly against the vulnerable, poor, and the lower & middle level public employees. Corruption has wreaked havoc on national institutions. In the name of democracy political dynasties have been established in the country and the same people appear on the political scene again and again. Instead of addressing these problems PML-N Government is beating the drum that they have won the by-elections and the people are absolutely satisfied of their performance and style of governance.
In fact they use their power to influence and rig the elections. It looks like the police and other government institutions are contesting the election. Most of the election staff including district returning officers, presiding officer and police are directly under the influence of the ruling parties. As far as the national institutions are in the clutches of both the ruling parties, and until real election reforms take place making all the related institutions independent, they cannot lose any election. PML-N Government has rigged a number of by-elections in Punjab by using state machinery. The ministers, MNAs, MPAs and senators of the PML-N are also given task to convince the bureaucracy and rig the polls. Polling agents of the opposition parties are generally stopped from entering the polling stations. It is also a general perception that foreign money is pumped into election process. Multibillion development projects are announced by the prime minister ahead of election to rig the polls. The PPP in Sindh has also broken all past records of rigging. These elections can in no way be said fair and free elections.
Across the board accountability is prerequisite for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of the country. The chief justice of Pakistan has recently remarked that the culture of nepotism and bad governance has damaged the country. Most of the criminals are ruling the country. The Parliament is comprised of the ‘seasoned and electable’ politicians about 95% of whom are bad reputed in their areas and can be de-seated on the basis of their own filed nomination papers without wealth statements. All these shortcomings are well within the knowledge of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) but ECP is taking no action in that regard. Several people are enjoying even minister-ship on the basis of stay orders after announcement of decision against them by the lower courts. We need to groom fresh faces awarding tickets to corruption-free candidates instead of ‘seasoned politicians’.
Free and fair elections are foundation of democracy which embodies the will of the people. The purpose of democracy is defeated if we fail to design a system in which good people and common men are willing to come forward as candidates. In present system 98% majority has no representation in the Parliament. In it, highly corrupt and criminals are elected to Parliament and good people shun politics as if it were worse than leprosy. The people of Pakistan are rapidly losing confidence in the prevailing so called sham democracy. Without real reforms the ruling party cannot lose the elections even for decades to come. It will have to be changed. Act now before it is too late.