Probe into horse-trading

ELECTION Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has declared that it would seek support of relevant departments and agencies to probe the allegations of horse-trading in Senate election. The announcement comes in the wake of criticism by some circles that lamented that everyone knows about horse-trading except the ECP.
No doubt, it is responsibility and duty of the Commission to prevent unfair means and take necessary action in case something wrong happened during the electoral process. This is because it is entrusted with the responsibility of making election fully transparent. However, it is also a fact that the Commission has no manpower and means to take practical measures to prevent such malpractices in a foolproof manner. Under the Constitution and the law, it is empowered to seek cooperation of any organ or institution of the State and that is why it has asked relevant agencies to probe the allegations. Representatives of some political parties who appeared before the Commission on Wednesday assured it of full cooperation in this regard but it all depends on the sincerity of purpose of the probe bodies. There should not be difficult for these agencies to pinpoint what happened and who was involved yet in view of prevailing ground situation it is next to impossible that the Commission would get anything actionable from these agencies. Whatever the outcome of the on-going exercise, the fact remains that large scale horse-trading especially in FATA, Balochistan, KP and Sindh took place where a party got extraordinarily high votes than its due share. And all this helped to manipulate the election of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman Senate. In some cases, secret ballot is blessing but in cases like this it proved to be a curse as it was a lot easy to buy votes. Parliament and the Election Commission will have to cooperate to discourage such practices in future besides exposing those who indulged in this sort of corruption during recent elections.

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