Ridiculing democratic values
Posted on 12 months ago
On the election of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as Prime Minister and Leader of the House in the National Assembly, with an overwhelming majority, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Ch Nisar, an ever angry and loud mouthed politician, said: "Our heads hang in shame on the election of Raja Prevaiz Ashraf as the Prime Minister".
The unguided remark of the opposition leader also implies, if the underlying spirit of a democratic order is to uphold the will of the majority, that he too is ashamed of himself for being the leader of the opposition, in the same House, and also for enjoying all the allied perks and privileges of the appointment.
A bystander, not claiming any democratic credentials, can be forgiven for such a thoughtless comment but a properly designated Leader of the Oopposition in the august House cannot be absolved of a deliberate anti-democratic remark of such a serious nature. It can also not be construed as a slip of tongue as the gentleman repeated utterances of similar purport more than once on different occasions.
Ordinarily it could be termed only as ridiculing democratic values by an odd professed democrat, but it is tantamount to something more than that. In view of the prevailing vendetta between the higher judiciary and combined opposition political parties, versus the PPP's coalition administration, it betrays a deeper conspiracy to derail democratic process.
The onset of a witch hunt of the PPP's coalition government by the political opposition and judiciary could be perceived by the people having incisive political vision from day one but with the passage of over four years in the process, lesser mortals like me can also clearly read the profile of the grand strategy adopted by the detractors of democracy.
The process has gone past the stage of being only a surmise. It now has credible conclusive evidence. The conspiracy is to thwart the democratic process by ensuring postponement, to a favourable date, of the next general elections due early next year. A very valid question arises as to why the political opposition should be interested in the postponement? Reliable sources privy to the main contenders of political power reveal the rationale behind such thinking: it is estimated by them that, in Punjab, the bastion of PML-N, a considerable percentage of PML-N votes will shift to Imran Khan's Tehrik e Insaf (TI). As a consequence of that PPP will benefit, materializing the likelihood of PPP again emerging as the single largest party in the Llower House. Such an arrangement would not be acceptable to the opposing forces under any circumstances. Although, as the things are, none of them is in favour of derailing democracy through military intervention but the resultant derailment of the democratic process, as orchestrated by them, does not fall in the category of derailment, in their dictionary.
In the latest constitutional amendments certain procedures have been defined regarding appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) as well as the caretaker administration under which the general elections would be held. Keeping in view the immaturity of our political culture and inter-party trust deficit, these procedures are fraught with serious anomalies.
According to the matrix of these, ostensibly benign mechanics, the CEC will be appointed by the government with the consent of the Leader of the Opposition. After that a caretaker government will be instituted, again with the approval of the opposition. The general elections will then be held under the auspices of the caretaker outfit. So far the government and the opposition have failed to arrive at an agreed person for the post of CEC. Due to the mutual acrimony increasing by the day, the indicators are that it is highly unlikely to achieve convergence of views on this. Obviously hoping an agreement about the caretaker government is still more farfetched an idea. In case of the deadlock the only way out, as laid out in the Constitution, is that the interim government will be suggested by the acting CEC who, incidentally, at present, is an opposition man.
Under such circumstances the interim set up is not going to offer elections to the coalition partners in a platter. They will have a different agenda altogether. As the convention is with the rightist element of the country, they will start with selective accountability. As a fall out of this process a protracted witch hunt will ensue. Alongside the specter of power shortage, inflation and deteriorating law and order etc will be raised. This process will continue till the time a favourable political scenario emerges for the current elements of opposition parties. Anything short of the above will be a bonus to the coalition partners.
Beggars can't be choosers. We will still be upbeat if the elections take place, though belatedly. As long as military intervention does not take place the process of democracy is always welcomed.
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