A Flawed System
It is not for the first time that the Senate elections have generated such intense debate over their transparency. But the issue had never hit such a low before. The spectacle of rowdiness witnessed in the National Assembly during the government’s abortive move to introduce open balloting for the coming Senate elections last week yet again demonstrated the dysfunctionality of our legislature. The presidential ordinance striking down secret balloting is yet another demonstration of the arbitrariness that has become the hallmark of the PTI government that refuses to adopt a bipartisan approach to important constitutional issues.
It is a desperate attempt to prevent possible defections from its ranks in the polls. Pakistan’s Senate elections manifest all that is flawed in the country’s democratic process. Horse-trading and the selling and buying of votes have become the norm, raising questions about the legitimacy and sanctity of the upper house. Yet, there has not been any serious effort on the part of our political leaders across the spectrum to make the process more transparent and credible. There is certainly a need to revisit the entire Senate election process to make it more credible and representative. But more importantly, it is for the political parties to end controversial practices within their own ranks.
The black coats have once again taken upon themselves the spectacular task of disrupting judicial order. Here goes the law-breaking again. In an unprecedentedly shameful attack on the Islamabad High Court building, at least 32 lawyers wreaked havoc outside the chief justice’s chambers. Demanding the reconstruction of chambers (demolished by the capital administration) as well as compensation, the violent protest did not even consider the IHC chief justice trapped inside his chamber.
The lawyers have no one but themselves to blame for both police complaint filed against them and the initiation of contempt of court proceedings. The gravity of their ruckus and utter vandalism cannot be passed over under any circumstances. Time and again, a number of legal practitioners have made it their mission to play down their pledge to uphold the law. Doubling down on their utter contempt for the law as well as decency, the protesting lawyers did not seem ready for dialogue even after “crossing the head of their house.”