forgery
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

News Analysis |

The upper house of the Parliament passed an election bill and rejected a proposal by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to retain an important clause in Political Parties Order 2002. The bill was unanimously passed by the Senate through which a person not qualified to be or has been disqualified from being a lawmaker, can still hold a position in his party. The concerted ratification has paved the way for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to formally head PML-N once again.

The Parliament has never expedited lawmaking for the general good of the people, thereby leaving little incentive for people to repose trust in the legislators and respect for the Constitution

The bill was passed with the help of Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Balochistan National Party-Mengal; it will go to the lower house which in all likelihood will approve the bill. The Senate approved the bill with 41 votes in favor and 34 against it. The opposition seemed ill-prepared as many of the members were absent from the session.

Read more: NAB claims will chase the Sharifs in London as they attempt…

Though the 67-year old Sharif is being chased by the Accountability Courts in relation to references filed against him in-line with Panama verdict, he still retains control over the party and government. Despite being disqualified to take part in politics, Sharif has been active, not only he nominated his successor, he is consulted, revered and is the defacto head of the party and the government. The bill will just give his activities a legal cover.

The idea that any person under charges of corruption can continue to run a political party is unthinkable in democracies all around the globe

The proviso to section 5(I) of the Political Parties Order debars a disqualified person from holding office in a political party. It reads: “Provided that a person shall not be appointed or serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is not qualified to be, or is disqualified from being, elected or chosen as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parlia­ment) under Article 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or under any other law for the time being in force.”

PP’s Aitzaz Ahsan suggested the addition of the proviso in Article 203(I) of the Constitution. It was vehemently opposed by the Law Minister, Zahid Hamid who said it is a legacy of dictatorial regimes since it was first introduced by Field Marshal Ayub Khan in 1965.

Read more: Is NAB really capable of initiating meaningful investigation against Nawaz?

Hamid urged to do away with all remnants of dictators and when the bill was passed he was jubilant to the hilt. It is important to remember that Zahid Hamid and the entire PML-N and PPP are legacies of the now-pariah dictators.

Regardless of who inducted Articles 62 and 63 in the Constitution, the fact remains that all lawmakers across the globe are expected to be honest and truthful; the articles are hardly Islamic as they are perceived to be

While lawmakers are well within their rights to amend the Constitution and pass bills, questions are raised on their cherry-picking. Eyebrows are raised when all unite to defend a person caught in the act by the highest court of law. Regardless of who inducted Articles 62 and 63 in the Constitution, the fact remains that all lawmakers across the globe are expected to be honest and truthful; the articles are hardly Islamic as they are perceived to be.

Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Imran Khan expressed reservations regarding the ratification. He said such efforts flout the principles of democracy. He tweeted: “PMLN destroying last vestiges of ethics & morality by removing a clause in Election Reform Bill preventing a disqualified person heading a party & PMLN doing this simply to resuscitate NS politically after he has been found guilty of corruption, money laundering, tax evasion & forgery.

Read more: Old habits never die: Sharif family ignores NAB summons and challenges…

The idea that any person under charges of corruption can continue to run a political party is unthinkable in democracies all around the globe. Perhaps this vindicates Khan’s long-held view that the politicians save each other’s skin as they all have things to hide somewhere along the line.

Read more: Will judicial activism enable JIT to get accountability?

Whereas the Constitution is used to strengthen democratic norms and values, Pakistani lawmakers are using it to legitimize wrongdoings and deceit. The Parliament has never expedited lawmaking for the general good of the people, thereby leaving little incentive for people to repose trust in the legislators and respect for the Constitution.

COMMENTS AND DISCUSSIONS