NationalVolume 13 Issue # 15

A sham democracy in Pakistan

Pakistan is the only country in the world where criminals, absconders, murderers, liars, traitors, aqamma holders, money launderers, agents of foreign powers and economic hit men are ruling in the name of democracy, nationalism and religion. These established corrupt, immoral and fraudulent leaders are not only deceiving the poor Pakistanis unscrupulously but also plundering and looting the country shamelessly and without any fear. They have deliberately created exploiting and class-riddled social, political, judicial, educational and economic systems which support their rule, protect their power and enhance their prestige. In fact, the very survival of these cruel rulers rests on to keep the poor and innocent people of Pakistan illiterate, deprived, dependent, divided, helpless, fearful, weak and poor. The cunning ruling elite is using Machiavellian tactics successfully to maintain the status quo in the country. There is no one who can challenge its power and cruel rule. If someone tries to challenge or break that power, he himself is bribed into becoming a part of this nefarious scheme. The examples of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (a feudal lord, who gave some power to the common people against the wishes of the ruling elite), his party the PPP, Altaf Hussain, who belongs to the lower middle class, his party the MQM, Imran Khan, who is himself a member of a rich family, and his party the PTI, which, now, also has members from the ruling elite, can be quoted here to corroborate the idea.
All the hopes for change, all the dreams for having a moderate, progressive and prosper Pakistan have been shattered after the Senate elections, held on 3-3-2018. In these elections, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N)-backed candidates have managed to secure 15 seats (11 seats from Punjab, two seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two seats from Islamabad). The PPP won 12 seats (10 seats from Sindh and two seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). The PTI secured six seats (five seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one seat from Punjab). The MQM won one seat and the PML-F also secured one seat in Sindh. JUI-F won two seats (one seat from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one from Balochistan). The JI won one seat from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The NP secured two seats while the PkMAP won two seats from Balochistan. There are independents who have won six seats in Balochistan and four seats in FATA. A total of 133 candidates had contested for the Senate’s 52 seats in the elections.
After the elections, the PTI and the PPP both are accusing each other of resorting to horse-trading in the Punjab and KP. The PTI leader Imran has blasted MPAs for horse-trading in KP. The PTI chief took to Twitter and blasted MPAs for alleged horse-trading, further accusing them of selling vote to the highest bidder. He added that such practices lead to the moral decline of Pakistan’s political class. Continuing his tirade, Khan said that for this reason, the PTI had presented alternate election formats of either direct elections or elections on party lists, since the party had reservations concerning the issue. He added that horse-trading allowed Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to secure two seats from KP despite the fact they had only seven MPAs in the province. As Imran Khan questioned the victory of two PPP candidates in KP, the PPP put the same question to the PTI with respect to the victory of its lone candidate in Punjab, Chaudhry Sarwar.
There is no doubt that horse-trading has occurred in the Senate elections. According to DawnNewsTV , “at least 17 Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) allegedly sold their votes during the Senate election, enabling two Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidates to be elected to the Senate from the province where the PPP only has seven MPAs. An initial investigation ordered by KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak into alleged horse-trading revealed that at least 17 ─ and as many as 20 ─ PTI MPAs in KP had voted for candidates outside the party. The investigation report also claimed that those allegedly involved in the practice included several prominent party leaders and disgruntled party members, the sources said. CM Khattak shared the findings with PTI Chairman Imran Khan. During the discussion, the party chief expressed his anger over alleged horse-trading in the province and directed Khattak to submit “a detailed report in this regard”.
The Senate, the Upper House of Parliament, is a body of 104 lawmakers in Pakistan. Saad Rasool, a lawyer, writes:  “The Senate of Pakistan is constituted under Article 59 of the Constitution. Specifically, unlike the National Assembly, which has representation from the various constituencies of Pakistan (directly elected by the people), the Senate only has one hundred and four members, elected through a “system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote”. Of the total members of Senate , fourteen are “elected by the members of each Provincial Assembly”; eight are “elected from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas”; four (including ‘two on general seats, and one woman and one technocrat’) are elected from Islamabad; four women are “elected by members of each Provincial Assembly”; four technocrats are “elected by members of each Provincial Assembly”; and “four non-Muslims, one from each Province” to be elected by members of each Provincial Assembly.


Furthermore, per Article 70 of the Constitution, each federal legislative instrument must be passed by members of the Senate before the same is made into law. With one notable exception (Article 73 of the Constitution): a Money Bill (e.g. the Budget), which may be passed by the National Assembly “with or without incorporating the recommendations of the Senate”. As is apparent from its membership, the Senate has equal representation from each of the provinces, and includes special provisions for membership of women, technocrats and non-Muslim representation. And none of them carry the burden of placating or pandering to the votes of any specific constituency. As such, members of the Senate, by their very nature, have two overarching responsibilities: 1) through equal representation, ensuring that the National Assembly does not make any law that adversely affects the rights of any province; and 2) through technocrats and other members, voicing issues of national and strategic importance, without having to pander to the petty issues of electoral politics.
These lawmakers are supposed to be honest, patriotic, well-educated and responsible. But, unfortunately, almost all the political parties, especially the PML-N and the PTI, have had success in electing many who fall abysmally short of any ideal.
Ishaq Dar, federal finance minister, money launderer, and absconder; Shaheen Butt, a gangster, a friend of Abid Boxer; Gogi Butt and other criminals and Rana Maqbool, former IG police Punjab who was notorious for his corruption, have been elected on the PML-N’s seats.


Dr. Asif Kirmani,  Haroon Khan, Musadik Malik , Rana Mehmoodul Hasan and Mushahid Hussain who are considered personal servants of Nawaz Sharif and his family have also been elected. On the other hand, Ayub Afridi and Azam Swati who are very rich with questionable characters, have been elected on the PTI’s seats. Imran Khan and the PTI have also badly disappointed the people. After inducting corrupt and rich people into the party, Imran Khan has become a part of the corrupt ruling elite.
Nothing can be expected from these new senators who are themselves criminals and “wafadar” of a “godfather” who has been ousted from the office of prime minister. These senators will not work for the betterment of the country. They have purchased the votes for the Senate and being smart businessmen, they would earn more money by hook or by crook.
Nawaz Sharif will use the PML-N’s success in the Senate to put pressure on the judiciary and the army. On 4 March, Nawaz Sharif already declared that the Parliament and provincial assemblies have rejected the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s Elections Act 2017 verdict. If the judiciary does not reverse its verdicts, Nawaz Sharif, with the help of Ishaq Dar, Shaheen Butt, Rana Maqbool and other parliamentarians, could create instability in the country in the coming days.
Pakistan does not have a real democracy. In fact, in Pakistan, there is a sham democracy which means “the government of the elite, by the elite, for the elite”. It is a sad reality of Pakistan’s politics which has been virtually impossible to change hitherto.