Accountability through vote

REPORTS emanating from different parts of the country suggest that angry voters are holding their representatives accountable
for their performance during the last five years. Candidates including former Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, members of the federal and provincial cabinets and representatives sent to the assemblies by the electorate belonging to different parties are facing tough questions from their constituents. These include, among others, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Naveed Qamar, Sarfraz Bugti, Jamal Leghari, Farooq Sattar, Khurram Sher Zaman and Jam Mehtab.
This is what the real accountability is and the process can help eliminate those who have been repeatedly sent to the assemblies by people of their areas but they could not do anything worthwhile for them. Democracy and elections are, in the words of former President Asif Ali Zardari (though he said this in different context), best revenge. In the previous election i.e. 2013, the PPP and its ally ANP faced wrath of the electorate as they were wiped out from the election scene because of their poor performance and they are still finding it difficult to gain foothold in different regions. It has rightly been said that the most clearly written, comprehensive, non-partisan, fair and effective laws are useless unless they are supported by comprehensive, non-partisan, fair and effective administration and enforcement. We have had different facets of institutional mechanism of accountability supported by apparently fair and comprehensive laws but none of them delivered and instead not only made the process of accountability controversial but also these very institutions. This is also evident from the role of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) these days as there are loud complaints of ‘targeting’ and ‘favouritism’ the claim of its Chairman about impartiality of the process notwithstanding. A number of candidates have been ousted from the electoral process on different contexts and swords still hang on the heads of many more in cases that are seen by the aggrieved parties as one-sided accountability. There can be no two opinions that those with corrupt background should have no place in elected houses but instead of initiating controversial process, the matter should be left to the people, who are best judge of performance and conduct of their prospective representatives. If elections are held regularly, there is expectation that with the passage of time and by raising awareness level of the electorate, a clear change can be effected.

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