POLITICS is really a game of chess. Currently our ruling and opposition parties are also engaged in moves and counter moves to inflict a defeat to the other. Following the ultimatums given by the alliance of opposition parties, the government apparently has played a very smart move by announcing to hold the Senate elections in the month of February instead of March.
The opposition parties wanted to scuttle the Senate elections. As to how they react to the government’s move is yet to be seen but the aim of holding the Senate elections early is really aimed at disturbing the dates of the opposition parties for their long march towards the federal capital. Following the not so much successful public show at Minar-e-Pakistan and given the intense winter, taking out a long march by the opposition in the month of January will not be an easy decision. It will be a big gamble. Is the opposition ready for it? Only the time will tell. Anyway the government’s decision of holding the elections of the upper house through show of hands is really a welcome one. A reference will also be filed with the Supreme Court of Pakistan to seek its guidance on the matter. History is a testimony to the fact that our Senate elections have always been marred by controversies and horse trading. In the last Senate elections, the PTI had to oust twenty of its MPAs in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as there were allegations of selling votes against them. To discourage the use of money in the elections and to ensure that the political parties get seats according to their strength in the Electoral College, it is important that these elections are held through open voting. Deliberations in this regard were also held in the past but it goes to the credit of the PTI government of taking a practical step towards that end. During the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan also made it clear that the legal reforms regarding the elections are meant only to make the entire process transparent and that the doors are open for all the political parties for talks on the matter. Indeed a constitutional amendment will be required to achieve this purpose and it is now also a test case for the opposition parties whether or not they sit with the government. Since their demand and narrative is also ensuring fair and transparent elections in the country, the government has provided them an opportunity to make the beginning from the elections of the Upper House.