Pak: Democracy and State
SINCE the democratic alliance of PDM has come to power to undo PTI’s mismanagement of national economy, electoral reforms and foreign policy.
It should now deliver on its promises urgently. As a constitutional government formed after a vote of no confidence, it can choose an election date.
It should take opposition on board and the opposition should cooperate with the government instead of holding long marches because it did not call for election when it was in power.
ECP has already given its timeline. The PM can regain political initiative by taking strong decisions.
He should address the nation to give his economic policy including IMF, subsidies and counter measures to mitigate the fallout of his policies.
The coalition partners have already promised to share the political fallout of his policies including price hike. Public wants results. PDM should focus on good governance to complete its tenure.
Political parties should try to win the next election on performance. On democratic front, PML (N) should turn its decision into laws on EVMs, overseas voters and the tenure of army chief.
Under the Protecting American Votes and Elections Act 2019, America used paper ballots to secure the vote.
The physical verification and counting of votes saved US democracy in the 2020 presidential election.
Senior most justice and general should be the chief justice and the army chief to permanently end political interference in the institutions.
Pakistan should do its electoral reforms to make the next election credible. In his Jan 6 Capitol riot anniversary speech, Biden said that they want to rule or they will ruin.
They came here in rage-not in service of America, but rather in service of one man. Democrats are stuck with the Federal Election Bill in an evenly divided Senate despite the President’s plea to Republicans to support the rule of law and not the rule of a single man.
(New York Post Jan 6, 2022). Trump claims of rigged elections were rejected in courts and state governments.
Rangers had to be deployed on Capitol Hill following the January 6 attack on it. Pelosi thanked US troops for protecting Capitol and US democracy ahead of Trump impeachment proceedings (Jan 13, 2021 Politico).
It shows that State institutions act in the West also because it is their duty. Politicians have to preserve democracy by respecting Judiciary and Establishment or face law.
No one is above the law in a democracy. Accordingly, it is the responsibility of state institutions to hold government of the day accountable.
Politicians should also do their job instead of blaming others to win next elections or stay in power.
Trump fired FBI Director Comey to avoid accountability because the director confirmed possible coordination between the Kremlin and Trump 2016 Presidential Election Campaign.
If he were removed instead to uphold rule of law, there would have been no attack on Capitol Hill.
To nip the (foreign interference like) evil in the bud, India does not allow dual nationals to vote.
Non Resident Indian must cast their ballot where their votes are registered. They can only contest elections if they stay in their area for 15 years from where they want to contest the election.
Other requirements include tax returns, utility bills and links to the community. Pakistan should reject overseas voting to block foreign funding to end money from local politics as per given laws including Election Act 2017.
To protect democracy, the judiciary should ask the government to open corruption inquiries and bring the results before the public in six months.
There is a long list of loot and plunder in the last four years including prices of medicine, atta, sugar, fuel (spot buying, no storage, timing of purchase), gas and gas pipelines, fertilizer, pesticides, realtors, projects (Peshawar PRT, Malam Jabba), state expenditure on life style of PM, cabinet and their staff.
Without ending corruption, democracy cannot serve the public and block dictatorships. Apparently, PML (N) has gotten 18 months tenure for premature end of its last government.
By bringing a non-controversial PM, the Party could have been much stronger in the centre. PPP brought Bilawal and the party is united behind him.
He is making positive progress on foreign policy. PML (N) should show unity and performance. State is permanent. It will continue to support the government of the day democratically.
It is up to the political parties to create a positive professional respectable working atmosphere.
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.